The saying “historical past repeats itself” is usually related to unfavorable occurrences. However that is undoubtedly not the case with A. Lange & Söhne and December 7, which has marked a milestone for the model thrice now.
In 2021 A. Lange & Söhne commemorates the 20th anniversary of the re-inauguration of its historic headquarters. For greater than 150 years, the Lange Stammhaus – historic headquarters and household house – has been a landmark in Glashütte and an architectural image standing for the artwork of Saxon watchmaking.
The spectacular Gründerzeit–period edifice, a manufacturing web site constructed by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in 1873, was the place the well-known precision pocket watches of A. Lange & Söhne had been manufactured till the manufacturing facility was expropriated after World Warfare II. In 1990, shortly after Germany’s reunification, Walter Lange re-founded the corporate of his forefathers, blazing the path for a brand new heyday of Glashütte’s watch business.
After years of inauspicious negotiations with the governmental Treuhandanstalt company, who sorted out the true property in Glashütte and elsewhere within the jap states after reunification, Walter Lange succeeded in buying the ancestral constructing from the state of Saxony in April 2000. The official inauguration of the corporate headquarters occurred on December 7, 2001 – the very day that each Ferdinand Adolph Lange had opened his first workshop in 1845 and Walter Lange had re-registered the corporate’s title in 1990. Since that point, the historic constructing shines in new splendor, as soon as once more the centerpiece of the corporate’s intensive grounds.
After the autumn of the Berlin Wall
“It was an equation with a number of unknown variables,” Walter Lange recalled of the early days of the A. Lange & Söhne watch manufactory within the fashionable period. “We had no watches to construct, no workers, no buildings, no machines. All we had was a imaginative and prescient: we needed to make the world’s best watches once more.”
If we glance again by way of Glashütte’s evolution during the last three many years, we are able to confidently say that this imaginative and prescient has grow to be actuality. The reestablishment of Lange’s household enterprise within the fashionable period, whose precision pocket watches had as soon as been well-known all around the world, grew to become a brand new success story that astonished business consultants and connoisseurs alike. The title A. Lange & Söhne was and is as soon as once more on the forefront of worldwide haute horlogerie.
Like within the golden age of the Glashütte precision pocket watch within the latter nineteenth century, the city within the jap Ore Mountains is as soon as once more a textbook instance of a thriving business area due to the unprecedented rise of A. Lange & Söhne, nearly like a phoenix from the ashes. Within the wake of this success, a various and extremely vibrant watch scene has developed over the previous 30 years, each within the Glashütte and different locations in Germany.
Nevertheless, the journey has been a tough one. In 1989, the 12 months the Berlin Wall fell, half of the commercial crops in former East Germany had been thought-about out of date. It was certainly not sure how the financial panorama within the “new” German federal states would evolve after 40 years beneath a deliberate economic system. Little or no was left of the as soon as proud pre-war manufacturing hub that centered on low cost mass manufacturing throughout its time behind the Iron Curtain.
Nonetheless, nothing might cease Walter Lange, by then already 66 years previous and in well-deserved retirement, from rebuilding the household enterprise. From the second he had been pressured to flee to the western a part of Germany in 1948, he had been dreaming of returning his household’s enterprise to its earlier glory. Through the divided years, he repeatedly traveled to his hometown to remain in contact with the individuals of Glashütte as a result of their destiny was vital to him.
For that cause, Walter Lange didn’t hesitate when he sensed the chance for a brand new begin solely days after Germany’s reunification. On November 29, 1990, he signed a contract with VDO to arrange the brand new Lange Uhren GmbH. Günter Blümlein, the charismatic head of IWC Schaffhausen and Jaeger-LeCoultre, which at the moment additionally belonged to the VDO group, was appointed to help him as co-managing director. Happily, Blümlein acknowledged the large potential the title stood for and shared Walter Lange’s imaginative and prescient.
The selection for the brand new headquarters was the Lange household’s authentic house and later workshop, which was vacant on the time. Nevertheless, the Treuhandanstalt was not prepared to promote the constructing to Walter Lange. As a “prime piece” of Glashütte actual property, the authorities argued it was to be given to whoever took over the GUB (Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe, the East German mix of all watch-related corporations and predecessor to Glashütte Unique). They confirmed neither understanding nor appreciation for the historic significance inextricably linked to the tackle Altenberger Strasse 1.
However, Walter Lange and Günter Blümlein immediately agreed that taking up GUB was out of the query. Walter Lange wrote in his biography that, “The rebirth of A. Lange & Söhne couldn’t succeed with the burdens of a VEB [East German combine].” Happily, a courageous Glashütte girl who went to high school with Walter Lange offered her house tackle to her previous playground chum so he might formally register the corporate on that date.
Re-establishing A. Lange & Söhne
The previous household enterprise was re-founded on December 7, 1990, a date steeped in historical past. Precisely 145 years earlier Ferdinand Adolph Lange had established his first watchmaking workshop, in so doing laying the cornerstone for the Saxon horological business, which flourished just some years later, changing into globally acknowledged for its wonderful high quality.
A fortunate coincidence helped Walter Lange in registering this date: he had not thought-about that December 7 could be a Friday in 1990, when, in good German custom, workers promptly depart work at midday for the weekend. And the courier to whom he had given the paperwork drove to the fallacious district courtroom.
Time grew to become tight. With an hour’s delay, the courier arrived at his vacation spot and as feared stood in entrance of closed doorways. Happily, a well-meaning housekeeper opened the door and led him to an administrative clerk who was nonetheless at work and kindly stamped the paperwork with the specified date: December 7, 1990.
The stage was now set for the rebirth of the A. Lange & Söhne legend. The primary technology of workers labored on a rented ground of the previous Strasser & Rohde constructing. On June 26, 1992, this property, which was affectionately known as “Lange One,” was taken over by the fledgling firm and shortly expanded right into a refined manufacturing web site so that after once more refined timepieces within the type of the previous Lange pocket watches could possibly be created in Glashütte.
Elsewhere within the city, nevertheless, the environment city was dire. One wave of layoffs adopted one other, and many individuals had been on lowered working hours. Walter Lange’s formidable objective of manufacturing manufacture watches within the high worth vary with the best requirements of high quality, precision, and craftsmanship nonetheless appeared uncertain to most of Glashütte’s inhabitants.
Profitable launch of the primary timepieces
On October 24, 1994, the primary fashions had been introduced to the general public. With the Lange 1, whose harmonious, off-center dial with giant date taking middle stage quickly grew to become the face of recent A. Lange & Söhne, the corporate had a profitable new begin, exceeding all expectations.
Three different timepieces – the Arkade, the Saxonia, and the Tourbillon Pour le Mérite – had been additionally a part of the brand new technology. The tourbillon, with its uncommon chain-and-fusée transmission, immediately secured A. Lange & Söhne a agency place within the higher echelons of haute horlogerie.
A double-page commercial that was printed within the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung every day newspaper the following day proudly introduced: “October 25, 1994. The economic system in jap Germany all of a sudden begins to tick fairly otherwise: A. Lange & Söhne returns – the legend has grow to be a watch once more.” Its photos confirmed the massive date fittingly set to the twenty fifth.
Regardless of all political and financial obstacles, Walter Lange’s lifelong dream had come true. Nevertheless, one painful component remained: the historic headquarters remained out of attain.
The well-known constructing that had as soon as graced the postcards of the Saxon city had served as a logo of precision watchmaking. Though it had been partially destroyed through the bombing of Glashütte within the ultimate days of the World Warfare II, to Walter Lange it was his household’s house, full of recollections. Till he fled to the west in 1948, he had lived on this home together with his mother and father, uncles, and aunts.
Even his great-grandfather, Ferdinand Adolph Lange, who had it constructed within the early 1870s, had resided there for a short while. Like many profitable companies of the Gründerzeit period, the distinguished property included the house through which the household lived and state-of-the-art workshops. The spacious constructing compound, which was inaugurated in 1873, stretched over three flooring. Its gentle façade had monumental home windows to make sure that the utmost quantity of daylight might enter, a significant asset for the fragile work of watchmakers.
For his new Stammhaus, Ferdinand Adolph Lange envisioned a formidable challenge that was expensive to his coronary heart: a really exact pendulum clock with a large, nine-meter-long pendulum, the longest and heaviest of its time. He needed to show that the size of a pendulum and its weight considerably impacted accuracy.
The pendulum shaft was included from the very starting and stretched from the roof downward. The household was very pleased with this enormous timepiece that confirmed the minutes and seconds on two giant dials on the Stammhaus roof. The large stable forged iron and zinc oscillating mass alone weighed 125 kilograms.
The design was an actual engineering masterpiece. The home clock, as Richard Lange later wrote, ” . . . in summer season and winter, in any respect temperatures, confirmed an outstandingly regular price.” Generations of Glashütte’s inhabitants learn the time from this clock, listened to its chimes on the hour and quarter hour, and set their pocket and wristwatches in keeping with its show.
Sadly, the home clock was his final stroke of genius: on the age of solely 60, Ferdinand Adolph Lange handed away unexpectedly on December 3, 1875. His sons Richard and Emil, each of whom had been within the firm for a number of years, continued his life’s work.
Throughout the next years, the demand for Lange precision pocket watches continued to develop. They had been utilized in science, analysis, and medication. Many individuals thought-about them to be the most effective of their time. Remark watches and marine chronometers had been additionally manufactured for the German navy in order that an growth of the manufacturing amenities grew to become obligatory. In 1898, the manufacturing facility constructing, which was equipped with electrical energy by a generator pushed by the Mühlbach river since 1896, was expanded to incorporate an annex with fashionable central heating.
When the socialist regime expropriated the household after World Warfare II, the final chapter of the Lange dynasty in the meanwhile got here to an finish. Manufacturing within the East German period was geared to amount over high quality, and the corporate, as soon as synonymous with precision timekeeping, fell right into a deep slumber till Walter Lange returned to Glashütte with a hearth in his coronary heart 4 many years later.
Homecoming after half a century
There’s a German saying: “If it takes lengthy sufficient, will probably be all proper ultimately.”
After greater than 50 years, the constructing was lastly acquired in April 2000. The Richemont Group invested closely to rework it right into a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and headquarters with an exquisite showroom. There was just one potential day for the ceremonial inauguration: December 7, 2001, a date deeply rooted within the model’s historical past.
A. Lange & Söhne was lastly again house the place the legend of the Glashütte precision watch had as soon as begun.
For extra info, please go to alange-soehne.com.