The roots of German watchmaking maison A. Lange & Söhne stretch back over two centuries. Born in Dresden, Germany in 1815, Ferdinand Adolph Lange studied at the Technical College in Dresden before apprenticing with watchmaker Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes. In 1845, he established his own workshop, A. Lange & Cie, in Glashütte. He spent nearly 30 years there revolutionizing the process of fine watchmaking. Lange introduced a division of labor in the manufacturing process, improved tools, introduced the metric system in the workshop, and developed the three-quarter plate, which is now iconic among watches from Glashütte.
Around 1870, his sons, Richard and Emil, joined the company at which point the name was changed to A. Lange & Söhne. They continued their father’s great work after his passing, creating exquisite and highly sought after timepieces. The company remained family-owned into the 20th century (helmed by Richard’s nephews, Otto, Rudolf, and Gerhard Lange) but was hit hard during WWII; their production building was destroyed in a bombing and the brand disappeared.
A. Lange & Söhne’s revival took place just after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Walter Lange, son of Rudolf Lange and great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, spent his childhood in the company’s watchmaking workshops prior to its destruction in WWII. He attended the renowned watchmaking school in Karlstein, Austria in 1941. German reunification in 1989 provided Walter with the chance to reestablish his family’s company. He symbolically chose December 7, 1990 to re-register the company’s name, 145 years after his great-grandfather had founded it. A. Lange & Söhne’s first new watch collection since the 1940s was launched in 1994 and catapulted the brand to the forefront of luxury watchmaking.
Their re-launch was a success, in large part, thanks to the involvement of German entrepreneur and watch industry titan Günter Blümlein. Arguably one of the most important figures in the industry as a whole, Blümlein had a winning combination of engineering knowledge, creative thinking, and an understanding of people. He decided that A. Lange & Söhne would produce a chronograph mechanism entirely in-house which resulted in the ‘Datograph’ and showed that German watchmaking was on par with that of the Swiss. The company continued their quest for greatness into the 21st century: in 2005, they created the first wristwatch to incorporate a one-minute tourbillon, a rattrapante chronograph, and the fusée-and-chain mechanism. In 2010, they debuted a new gold alloy called 18-carat Honey Gold.
With an annual production of about 5,000 timepieces, A. Lange & Söhne is driven by passion, craftsmanship, and family legacy. They are continually inventing new ideas and improving upon their already impressive achievements. With movements often compared to “tiny cities,” their creations are exceptionally well-made and are admired by discerning connoisseurs for both their beauty and quality.
Auction Results A. Lange & Söhne