A. Lange & Söhne

Keeping the time-honoured principles of a proud tradition and meticulous craftsmanship, A. Lange & Söhne is testament to our forebears’ watchmaking art. The brand’s portfolio includes grand complications featuring extraordinarily intricate movements with exquisitely decorated components as well as innovative mechanical watches with a modern, contemporary look. Although, for the most part, the designs are for men, the brand has also created a bold and exiting selection of elegant women’s watches. Taking the most prolific bestsellers, such as the Lange 1 it has made them smaller, so they add their charm to a lady’s wrist. In fact, despite not having undergone any alterations over the past 25 years, the Lange 1 has an ever-growing band of admirers, allowing it to achieve true iconic status. Recently, the brand that specialises in exquisite, round gold-cased watches saw its collection enriched by the new sporty and elegant Odysseus range.

Where to buy?

Boutique Carollinum
Pařížská 11, 110 11 Praha 1
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Grand date
Grand date
180 years ago the company’s founder, Ferdinand Adolph Lange, helped set up the Semper Opera House in Dresden. In 1994 the brand’s watch designers created a very special watch taking their idea from the opera house’s so-called “five minute” stage clock which is purported to be the very first digital time display in history.
Today the large-sized apertures are also used for other functions. When it comes to the Odysseus watch, the large window at 9 O’ clock indicates the day of the week. The similar windows featured in the Zeitwerk models show what time it is using a digital display of the hours and minutes, cunningly crafted to give a sense of analogue elegance.
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Movement decorations
Movement decorations
It is said that rather than the dial, some watches are more beautiful to behold through the rear of the case. This is perhaps a bit of an overstatement, but there is no question that the beautifully decorated bridges and components are testament to the incredible skill of the craftspeople working in the Saxonian manufacture.
The unique whiplash precision index adjustment, known as the swan neck, makes it easier to accurately adjust the movement’s rate. It is part of the balance wheel bridge which is decorated with flower ornaments by one of the manufacture’s five master engravers, each of whom have their own personal style. It is, therefore, possible to precisely distinguish who has decorated which watch, making it a unique work of art. Other favoured decorative techniques, based on the brand’s tradition, include mother-of-pearl coatings, Glashütte finishing and linear or sun-ray brushing. These techniques are applied to both small and large component parts such as rotors or the three-quarter plates, which are so characteristic for this brand.
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Tradition
Tradition
When the founder’s great grandson, Walter Lange, re-established the firm in 1990 he pledged that he would always build on the brand’s traditional values and his forebears’ legacy. To this day the brand’s watches still reflect the impeccable skill and meticulousness of these erstwhile master watchmakers.
Traditional production methods and approaches complemented with modern state-of-the-art quality control and laboratory testing makes A. Lange & Söhne watches among the most sought-after in the world. The creation of every single timepiece requires hundreds of hours of painstaking craftsmanship by master watchmakers, engravers and many others. Before it can be deemed absolutely flawless and ready to be sent to the customer it must pass through the hands of dozens of people.
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Grand complications
Grand complications
The brand is renowned for its regal complications and for the fact that it places them into a single, highly reliable movement. Although, as a rule, the customer has to wait for their piece of haute horologerie, they can be assured it will be an extremely precious addition to their collection.
Regal complications, such as tourbillons, perpetual calendars and minute repeaters – and, in the case of A. Lange & Söhne, chronographs too – are technically the most challenging complementary mechanisms to a movement’s make up. Only a few watch brands are capable of making such complications, let alone have them all working at once in a single model. A. Lange & Söhne offers nine models featuring a tourbillon, four sporting a minute repeater and more than ten watches incorporating a perpetual calendar.
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Limited editions and exclusivity
Limited editions and exclusivity
Most components are hand-crafted and subsequently all will pass through the hands of decorators for their final finish. Understandably, annual production is low, only a few thousand timepieces are produced every year. This allows the brand to revel in limited editions and special models.
A. Lange & Söhne watches are not for everyone. Purchasing one of these exceptional timepieces grants you the opportunity to join the world’s select few. Apart from a thing of beauty, these watches are an investment and, at the same time, an heirloom of precious value, both financially and spiritually. The brand’s production will never rise significantly, as every watch is a work of art requiring hundreds of hours of craftsmanship. Bar some exceptions, most models are made of gold or platinum. Admittedly, the price may be high, but their value is certain to persist.
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In-house hairspring
In-house hairspring
A watch’s most delicate and, at the same time, most strained component part is the balance wheel’s hairspring. It’s an incredibly thin metal spiral which is constantly stretched. A. Lange & Söhne is one of the world’s few manufactures to produce their own in-house hairsprings.
It is by no means a coincidence that rather than purchasing hairsprings from sub-suppliers the brand prefers to produce them in-house. If we go back in time to 1930, we will see that this was the year when Richard Lange first got acquainted with the world’s lightest metal – beryllium – adding it to the alloy he used to produce hairsprings. The result was a hairspring resistant to temperature changes and magnetism, whilst retaining its tensile coil and resilience more than ever before.
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More about A. Lange & Söhne


Fate has toyed with the A. Lange & Söhne brand... The company bearing its founder’s surname was founded no less than twice. The first time in 1845 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange, the second time in 1990 by Ferdinand’s great grandson, Walter Lange. The company’s dark ages began in the 1950s when it was nationalised, along with six other watch producers, by the East-German communist government which turned the firms into one regional, centralised, state watchmaking company, Glashütte Uhrenbetrieb (GUB). The brand was re-established after the fall of Communism.
Historically, the brand owns several dozen patents, 27 of which are in the name of the founder’s son Richard Lange. To this day, the brand produces highly original components such as chain fusées and constant force escapements. All the parts are produced, mostly by hand, in the Glashütte manufacture near Dresden.

The brand’s history

The brand’s founder, Ferdinand Adolph Lange, was the grandsire of watchmaking in the Ore Mountains’ Glashütte region. In 1845 he arrived in the poverty-stricken district with the idea of establishing a watchmaking hub outside Dresden. 

Lacking the resources to start a business, however, he applied for a loan from the royal ministry of Saxony which he was, luckily, granted. He received money to train 15 watchmakers and purchase equipment. Astutely, Lange, who had previously visited Switzerland and France, thought that the Ore Mountains were ideally suited for the watchmaking trade and this soon proved to be the case.


 
He saw parallels between the inhabitants of the Jura mountain range and the Ore Mountains. He thought that the inability to do any farm work during the long winters helped the locals, who spent all their time at home, be focussed and patient.
His theory proved correct and from the mid-19th century the brand celebrated one success after another, especially outside Germany. This was also thanks to a host of remarkable innovations Lange introduced to the watchmaking industry. He, for example, used the metric system (until then the old French ligne system had been used in German watchmaking) and applied a single large bridge in his timepieces which held the main part of the wheelwork in place making the movements much more stable than those based on the hitherto commonly used arrangement featuring several bridges. He also made the production process more efficient and reliable employing master craftsmen who supervised the other watchmakers. The accurate and intricate pocket watches bearing his name were mostly exported to Britain, France and Russia.


 
After F.A. Lange’s death in 1875 his sons Richard, a talented watchmaker, and Emil, an accomplished businessman, took over the firm. They renamed the manufacture A. Lange & Söhne (sons) and continued to produce prized watches featuring intricate complications including tourbillons, minute repeaters and perpetual calendars. The worst period of the firm’s existence started with the end of WWII. On 8 May 1945, officially the last day of the war in Europe, the Soviets dropped a bomb on the watch company’s main production facility. Everything burnt down, the building, machinery and materials. Before the manufacture had a chance to recover, the firm saw itself being nationalised in 1951 and from then on Lange ceased to be Lange. It became part of a state conglomerate of seven watch producers. The watches produced were exported to other communist countries in the Eastern Bloc. Being viewed by the communist regime as a potential saboteur Walter Lange was not trusted to continue working in the watch manufacture and was, instead, expected to be set to work in the uranium mines.
He managed to avoid this cruel fate, fleeing the country for West Germany through Berlin. He waited for almost 40 years before he could revive the brand into which his great-grandfather and grandfather had put their heart and soul. Joining forces with businessman Günter Blümlein, Walter Lange re-established the manufacture in 1990 presenting the first four models in 1994 – three of which are still included in the collection to this day. 

The brand boasts six model ranges and dozens of outlets all over the world. It is the only German brand belonging to the highly acclaimed Richemont Group, which comprises of several other important players, mostly from Switzerland.  




 
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