Mind you, I am not saying that A. Lange & Söhne did anything wrong, while growing up. Au contraire! They actually did everything just right. It was just that A. Lange & Söhne never really fit into my personal watch collection, which consisted mainly of “big brands and bigger diameters”, more hat than cattle, and I guess I never felt I was a full member of the classic round watch crowd.
I even once wrote an article claiming that I was not old enough to wear a watch from A. Lange & Söhne, in which I persuaded myself not to buy the rose gold A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Timezone in spite of it having graced my wrist for several days. Why? I just thought I was “too young”. A precocious, inexperienced 41-year old when I made that decision three years ago.
Not old enough?
After that article was published I recall that A. Lange & Söhne’s CEO, Wilhelm Schmid approached me during the Baselworld watch fair that same year asking me why I did not feel “old enough” to wear one of his watches and why age was even a factor when considering an A. Lange & Söhne. His demeanor was kind but steely, demanding of an answer, but all I managed at the time was to look at the carpet, shuffle my feet, and offer some incoherent mumblings.
"Not one, not two, but several of my watches today are of the classic round shape."
Minutes and hours have turned into years. The boy has grown into a man. The classic round watch crowd attracted me after all. Today my collection of watches has changed, not only in style but in bulk. Only very few of the watches in my collection would be seen as “over-sized”. And guess what, not one, not two, but several of my watches today are of the classic round shape. Is it maturity? A downward trend in the production of testosterone? A refinement of taste? No matter, I am ready to correct past mistakes.
And I did….Not so long ago I traded away, admittedly quite a few watches from my collection to fund a wonderful Datograph Perpetual Calendar in white gold with the rare grey dial that was in production for only two years.
This is not a thin watch at all as A. Lange & Söhne makes watches the “old-fashioned way” to last several lifetimes, with a so-called ¾ plate and many hand decorated movement parts with such details as finger polished gold chatons for the movement jewels, each set with three blued screws and the typical engraved Lange balance cock to hold the balance wheel and spring! This means robust movements and thicker cases.
My reason for this article is not only to show remorse for not buying an A. Lange & Söhne many moons ago. Even after that first Lange 1 Timezone had my full attention and got solid wrist time. It is also a salutation and an acknowledgement of my appreciation of classic watch design as well as the remarkable craftsmanship and hysterical attention to detail that A. Lange & Söhne represents. After all, how many watch companies do you know of that assemble and disassemble their watches twice during the finishing stages?
Watch related auctions have recently shown solid results for certain A. Lange & Söhne watches that were only a few years old. All made in a low production number, of course, as A. Lange & Söhne still produces less than 6000 watches a year.
For instance the limited production Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Mérite Handwerkskunst of 15 pieces that was launched in 2011. One of these 15 watches sold at a Sotheby´s auction in 2013 for a whopping 178,500 euro, which was 62 percent higher than the original retail price only two years earlier.
This impressive auction result proves that this German watch brand that was re-launched only in 1994 by Walter Lange and the late Günter Blümlein not only enjoys the solid interest from lovers of classic design and high end movements. Now you can add to that group seasoned collectors like myself, who needed to go through a lot of other watch brands in order to understand and appreciate what A. Lange & Söhne is all about.