The Rebirth of A. Lange Söhne – Walter Lange
In the world of high-end watchmaking, A. Lange & Söhne, a German brand, stands out as an exceptional choice alongside renowned Swiss brands. This brand holds a significant position in the watch industry and is highly esteemed by collectors. One individual who played a crucial role in the brand’s revival and international recognition was Mr. Walter Lange (1924 to 2017).
Although A. Lange & Söhne was established in 1845, it experienced a modern-day renaissance thanks to Walter Lange. During the 1990s, he successfully reintroduced the brand, elevating the reputation of German watchmaking on a global scale. The founding of A. Lange & Söhne can be attributed to Ferdinand Adolph Lange in Glashütte, where the brand became known for its innovative advancements. Unfortunately, due to historical circumstances, the brand faced challenges that interrupted its growth. However, in the 1990s, Walter Lange, a descendant of the brand’s founder, seized the opportunity to revive the legacy.
Walter Lange was born in Dresden, Germany, in 1924, near Glashütte. The Lange watch factory had a significant impact on the local community, with many residents employed by the brand, contributing to the region’s economy. As the fourth-generation heir, Walter Lange followed in his family’s footsteps to become a skilled watchmaker. However, circumstances during his lifetime posed obstacles to the brand’s continuity.
After a period of upheaval, Walter Lange eventually settled in West Germany, where he led an ordinary life. Over time, he found employment in small watchmaking workshops, eventually becoming a watchmaker himself and even working in watch wholesale.
In the early 1990s, following the reunification of Germany, Walter Lange saw an opportunity to bring the brand back to life. With the support of key individuals, including a notable German engineer named Gunter Blümlein, who had previously revitalized other renowned watch brands, Walter Lange successfully relaunched A. Lange & Söhne. This collaboration led to the reestablishment of the brand in Glashütte in December 1990.
After several years of reorganization, A. Lange & Söhne unveiled its first collection of brand-new timepieces at the Dresden Watch Fair in October 1994, marking a significant milestone in the brand’s modern history. Since then, Lange has continued to develop innovative movements, solidifying its position as a leading brand in advanced watchmaking.
In 2000, Gunter Blümlein’s company, along with A. Lange & Söhne, was acquired by the Richemont Group. This prompted Walter Lange to retire for the second time. However, his passion for the brand’s heritage kept him actively involved in the brand’s development strategy. Until his passing in 2016 at the age of 92, Walter Lange continued to participate in the SIHH watch exhibition annually. His personal motto, “Never Stand Still,” remains the guiding principle for Lange even after his death. The brand continues to operate with this vision.
I distinctly remember the moment of Walter Lange’s passing during the SIHH watch exhibition, where the news deeply saddened the entire audience. I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Walter Lange on multiple occasions and interview him, finding the personalities behind the brands as captivating as the technical aspects of their products.