Born in 1924 in Glashütte, Walter Lange is not troubled by what he might study or do in future, even as a schoolboy boarder – he wants to be a watchmaker! The son of Rudolf Lange, grandson of Emil and great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange is particularly happy as a young boy when he can spend the evening checking the day’s production with his father in the workshops. So, from 1941, Walter Lange attends the renowned watchmaking school in Karlstein in Austria’s Waldviertel region. Yet the same thing happens to him as it does to so many others of his generation: Nazism, war and occupation turn the life he had planned upside down.
The company’s main production building is destroyed in a bombing on the last night of the war in 1945. As Walter Lange completes his interrupted studies and the family attempts to make a fresh start, the expropriation in the Soviet-occupied zone takes place in 1948. The A. Lange & Söhne brand disappears.
NEW BEGINNINGS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL
In November 1989 Germany celebrates the fall of the Berlin Wall, a moving historical event. The days of separation and division come to an end. And it is also the end of an involuntary hiatus of over 40 years. Walter Lange immediately starts thinking about the chance for a new beginning for his family business in Glashütte – and makes his dream come true. In 1990, Walter Lange and the successful watch manager Günter Blümlein make a plan to establish the Lange manufactory anew. “At that stage, we didn’t have much,” recalls Walter Lange. “We didn’t have any watches we could build and sell, we didn’t have any employees, any premises or any machinery. We only had the vision of the best watches in the world that we wanted to build in Glashütte all over again.”
A. Lange & Söhne is brought back to life. Ferdinand Adolph Lange is not just the founder of the fine Saxon watchmaker. It is his personality and his values that are the spiritual essence of A. Lange & Söhne and drive the company to new heights in watchmaking.
The new Lange Uhren GmbH files its first patent as early as 1992: the outsize date. It is used two years later in three of the four first A. Lange & Söhne watches. The outsize date becomes a distinctive feature of many of A. Lange & Söhne’s timepieces. Creating timepieces with outstanding functionality is second nature for the manufactory. Inspired by Ferdinand Adolph Lange, every timepiece is developed today with the aim of improving the watch precision, making it more readable or easier to operate.
HOME IN THE HEADQUARTERS AND WORLDWIDE
The headquarters of A. Lange & Söhne is the place where the history of time is written in Glashütte, from its inauguration in 1873 until its partial destruction in the last days of the war in 1945. Over the years, it is also the architectural symbol of the little town in the eastern Erzgebirge. On 7 December 2001, A. Lange & Söhne returns to the historical building and continues the tradition.
In 2007, a year after the presentation of the LANGE 1 TIME ZONE, A. Lange & Söhne opens its first boutique in Dresden. From home outwards, things move quickly for the brand around the world: A. Lange & Söhne has now made its home in selected jewellers and its own stores around the world.