Kenneth Tan speaks to A Lange & Söhne's CEO Wilhelm Schmid about the Lange 1 and the evolution of the brand
For A Lange & Söhne's CEO Wilhelm Schmid, his past five years in Glashutte — where A Lange & Söhne timepieces are made — has given him a sense of home. For the native German who spent his earlier life on Cape Town's sunny beaches with BMW South Africa; this position offered him a glimpse into the heart of German watchmaking, a tradition which began over three hundred years ago in the time of the Holy Roman Empire.
"The moment you drive over the mountains and into the secluded valley of Glashutte, there is an unmistakable impression of this long heritage of watchmaking," Schmid says, adding, "The buildings there are of timepiece manufactures and watch museums and during lunch at one of the three restaurants in Glashutte, you would surely meet heads of other watchmaking brands."
This year, Schmid unveiled the Lange 1, the face of a revived A Lange & Söhne from 1994 after the fall of the wall. "As the icon of the brand, we had to control our ego and resist changing anything on the dial" Schmid explains.
"But over the past 20 years, we learnt a lot about movements and we are now able to inlude our own hairspring into the new Lange 1. Of course, when we did that, we had to tweak the rest of the timepiece's movement — and the whole idea is to make an even better watch to sell for the next twenty years."
Within its unchanged 38.5mm case (available in a choice of platinum, pink or yellow gold), one finds the L121.1 — the 50th in-house calibre produced by Lange since 1994. Over a period of several hours, this accurate, powerful movement generates the necessary force required to precisely jump the outsize date display at midnight.
This, and several other technical improvements, is why Schmid is convinced of Lange's place in history. "We will always be the watchmaker that survived against all odds — an example of vision balanced by heritage and our constant spirit of never standing still."