Ferdinand Adolph Lange was born n Dresden, Germany in 1815, and passed away in Glashutte, Germany in 1875. During 1844, Lange invented the Glashutte Lever Escapement, and the next year launched his watchmaking firm in Glashutte, which is a town in Saxony, not far from his birthplace of Dresden. When his son Richard joined the firm in 1868, the firm was renamed A. Lange & Sohne.
Their aim was to produce the best pocket watches in the world, and their best of the best were given a rating of 1A. The company did quite well for itself, and multiple generations of the family were able to operate the firm. For example during the 1940’s, large wrist watches were produced for German airmen. That was nearly 100 years after the firm began. By 1948, the Soviet admin made the company and its properties nationalized, and so the Lange brand then ceased.
Walter Lange, who was the great grandson of the founder, was forced to flee the country to avoid being in a labor mine. In December of 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Walter Lange and Gunter Blumlein, managed to restore the company with the help of several Swiss watch industry leaders. By 1994, the refounded firm of A. Lange & Sohne was operating once again at Glashutte, and was able to produce a new range of wrist watches.
By year 2000, the firm became part of the Richemont group, and basically had to settle for being able to put out only a few thousand watches per year. In 2017, Walter Lange passed away. In a manner of speaking, one could say he realized his goal of reforming the company after Germany became whole again, but was never quite able to capture the glory of the firm before WWII. The brand did come back to life, but needed to be absorbed by a larger firm to survive.
All A. Lange & Sohne watches have mechanical movements, and quartz movements are used only n a few limited edition watches. Lange warch cases are made only of the best metals such as yellow, rose, and white gold, and some made with platinum. Lange is still a watch firm that manufactures all of its own watch movements in house. Lange’s watch movements are designed in decorative Glashutte style, and do not have Swiss features so much. Hang engraved balance cocks as well as screwed gold chatons display some German watchmaking style. Also their movements are made from German silver, and not brass used in most Swiss movements.
The brand not only makes time only watches, that are manual and automatic, they also produce chronographs and perpetual calendars. The Lange 1 watch was the first family of watches made after the 1990 re-establishment of the company. The features were a decentralized, asymmetrical design of the dial, and a date display.
At the 2012 show in Geneva, the firm released a line of new watches that included a newer version of the Lange 1, and they released the Grand Lange 1, and a luminous Lange 1 that was made in white gold. We will need to keep our eye on this brand. They sort of stay silent for a decade, and then surprise the community with a new line, and then go silent again. We will see what happens.