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A passion for classics German fine watchmaking meets the world’s most beautiful vintage cars.

Cars and watches are captivating. Particularly if they rank among the rare ones that people dream about. As technical masterpieces, they embody values that are important to us. Cars stand for freedom, watches for time. They reflect inventiveness, a sense of style, and the quest for records: the most powerful engine, the most precise timekeeping instrument.

 

Trailblazing innovations made driving safer as well as more energy-efficient and comfortable – and expanded the functionality of watches. In both domains, the search for better solutions and for the ultimate form resulted in ever new milestones in technology and design history. Rare prototypes and one-of-a-kind exemplars are curated in public as well as private collections and showcased on special occasions.

 

This is the spirit that underlies A. Lange & Söhne’s partnerships with the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, the Schloss Dyck Classic Days, and the Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace. At these high-calibre competitions, devotees of the most noble automobiles ever built meet the collectors and connoisseurs of exclusive timepieces. Those for whom vehicles are sculptures on wheels know that mechanical watches are the matching counterparts for the wrist.

 

A. Lange & Söhne crafts watches that live up to these lofty ambitions. The name stands for the desire to enrich precision watchmaking with new ideas and continuous refinements – from the design to the meticulous finissage of every part, not to mention the twofold assembly of the complex movements. Everything is aligned with one objective: to redefine the limits of micromechanical engineering and create tomorrow’s classics.

Parking classic cars at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d‘Este.

Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d‘Este

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classic cars on their way to Schloss Dyck.

Classic Days Schloss Dyck

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Oldtimer meets timepiece at the Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace.

Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace

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The next generation 

 

At the individual Concours d’Elegance events, A. Lange & Söhne meets influential and charismatic personalities who are well-versed both in classic automobiles and mechanical watches. For CEO Wilhelm Schmid, the inspiring encounters with idealistic collectors are what constitutes the preciousness of the partnerships. He is particularly delighted to note that the commitment to the preservation of cultural values has been adopted by the next generation. Duccio Lopresto and Katie Forrest represent young individuals who nurture the collections of their families and introduce new accents.

 

Together with his father Corrado, Duccio Lopresto won the “Best of Show” award for the sensational Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale Prototipo at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2017 and the LANGE 1 TIME ZONE “Como Edition” donated by A. Lange & Söhne. Corrado Lopresto has assembled one of the most significant collections of Italian vintage cars and won numerous prizes in the process. Now, his son Duccio is migrating the collection into the future.

 

Milan-based architect and entrepreneur Corrado Lopresto is a treasure hunter obsessed with reconstructing the history behind rare preciosos that have faded into oblivion. This passion has been adopted by his son. For quite some time, Duccio accompanied his father to Concours d’Elegance and feels at ease in this world. He resolved to not treat the vehicles in the collection as museum exhibits and instead to make them accessible to the public because “they are too beautiful not to be shown on the road”.

 

Beyond that, he wants to find new treasures and restore them, thus continuing the mission of his father his way.  His goal is to overcome the wall between the realm of art and the world of automobiles, bringing back even the most precious oldtimers to the asphalt. He organised a travelling exhibition during the 2018 Milan Design Week. That was the first step. Further steps will follow.

 

For Katie Forrest, the focus is on “Nellie”. That is the name of her magnificent 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost with which she won the Club Trophy at the Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace in 2017. The Silver Ghost owes its name to its origin in India. “When the car joined the Forrest family, it was large and grey, and reminded us of Nellie the Elephant from the famous English nursery rhyme,” Katie explains. Officially named “Taj Mahal”, the vehicle was initially in the service of the Royal Air Force which gave it a drab battleship-grey paint job. Afterwards, it was part of the fleet of the Maharaja of Nabha for many years. In the early 1990s, Katie’s father discovered it while searching for a Silver Ghost as a contestant in an Alpine rallye. It was subsequently repatriated to England. Since then, Nellie has clocked up 120,000 kilometres.

 

This proud track record is due largely to Katie’s help. She has been driving the stately automobile which is fundamentally different from modern cars. It has neither power steering nor a synchromesh transmission. But is does have two brake circuits. “You have to understand the mechanics of the car to master it,” she notes. She considers it her calling to keep cars running. And this is also her message for the next generation.

Talk to the driver with Duccio Lopresto

Duccio Lopresto resolved to not treat the vehicles in the collection as museum exhibits and instead to make them accessible to the public.

“There are many commonalities between a mechanical watch and a classic automobile: Both require attention to detail and the quest for mechanical perfection. The passion of the people who create them makes them timeless objects that their owners would love to keep running forever.”

-Katie Forrest

Talk to the driver with Katie Forrest

For Katie Forrest, the focus is on “Nellie”. That is the name of her magnificent 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost with which she won the Club Trophy at the Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace in 2017.

The analogue side of life 

 

Wilhelm Schmid has two passions: artisanally crafted timepieces and classic roadsters. The former auto industry manager was appointed CEO of A. Lange & Söhne in 2011. His enthusiasm for driving was handed down to him by his father, the owner of a car dealership. He bought his first vintage car at the age of 17. At the same time, he discovered his fascination for mechanical watches.

 

In an era characterised by rampant digitisation, Wilhelm Schmid learned to appreciate the analogue sides of things. “When I drive a classic car or wear a mechanical watch, I feel connected to the world,” he says, adding: “Tinkering with my cars puts me in touch with their designers. The astonishing details they came up with never cease to amaze me. Listening to the ticking of a mechanical watch evokes similar feelings. To me, it’s like hearing the heartbeat of life.”

 

Shortly after he became the CEO of A. Lange & Söhne, he decided to start a sponsorship for the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. In such partnerships with the leading Concours d’Elegance forged by the venerable watchmaking company, he sees natural alliances: “Superb craftsmanship, technical innovations and timeless aesthetics are the key values to which the competitions as well as A. Lange & Söhne are dedicated. The enthusiasm for technology and elegance is shared by today’s collectors and connoisseurs of micromechanical timekeeping instruments as well as by fans of historic automobiles. I am particularly delighted that this passion has now been embraced by the next generation.”

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