On 19 December 2018, the first A. Lange & Söhne boutique in London opened in Mayfair. As was the case in Munich, the watch brand is working together with long-standing partner Wempe here as well. With two storeys and 128 square metres to explore, visitors can learn about the handmade watches and the history of the manufactory.
As the Bauhaus movement said: “Form follows function”. The architectural approach of the A. Lange & Söhne boutiques also follows this principle – exactly like the watches – by uniting skill, materials and technology to form a coherent whole. Authentic materials, clear lines and plenty of detail recall the history and values of the manufactory. On the well-designed sales floor, angular interlocking spaces open up new perspectives and spatial experiences. Each space also fulfils a specific function – from watch displays to expert consultation and sales pitches.
The philosophy of A. Lange & Söhne is reflected in each and every detail. For example, the glass cabinets are fitted with high-gloss metal pilaster strips angled at 45 degrees, just like the frame parts of the watch movements. The range of materials extends from steel, demonstrating a technically modern construction, through to natural stone, a homage to the home of the manufactory in the Erzgebirge mountains, a region characterised by a centuries-old mining tradition. The brand colour, an elegant shade of grey, has been supplemented with additional facets, including the German silver hue typical of Lange calibres, the colour of which varies between gold and silver. Combined with a timeless aesthetic, this results in an atmosphere where people feel welcome and where the handmade timekeepers can be experienced in all their glory.
“In London, A. Lange & Söhne watches have been available at our New Bond Street branch since 1997,” says Kim-Eva Wempe, owner of the Hamburg family business. The United Kingdom has also played an important role in the history of the manufactory. When Ferdinand Adolph Lange began making pocket watches in Glashütte in 1845, the demand in his home country was limited at first. So he travelled to London to present his watches at an exhibition there – with huge success. His watches were more precise than the competitors’ models, earning him first prize and a medal as part of the fair. After the exhibition, countries around the world began to show interest in the watches from Saxony. In the first few years, more than 90 per cent of Lange watches were sold in England, Russia, France, and overseas.
There are various exhibits in the new boutique that call to mind Ferdinand Adolph Lange – one of which is the reconstruction of the famous Five-Minute Clock on the ground floor. The original above the stage in the Dresden Semper Opera House was built in 1841 by the watchmaker and his teacher, Master Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes. Alongside the clock, there are numerous other exhibitions in the boutique just waiting to be discovered. For example, the Experience Library, an oversized type case that tells the story of the manufactory and its craftsmanship us-ing lovingly designed objects.
The location at 38 Old Bond Street itself also has a long history. In the 1860s, Godfrey Zimmer-man and his German wife Martha were running a little shop there, registered as “Jeweller and Curiosity Dealer”. Later several other companies used it. From the 1940s to the 1980s, the shop of the jeweller Charig LTD, who supplied the English crown, was located here.
“A boutique in London has been at the top of our list of priorities for some time now,” explains Lange CEO Wilhelm Schmid. “We are delighted that, together with our long-standing partner Wempe, we can now offer our customers in the United Kingdom a comprehensive collection of Lange timepieces in the perfect location.”
GRAND LANGE 1 MOON PHASE “25th Anniversary”
The anniversary model featuring a lunar disc engraved by hand for the first time brings the earth’s satellite into sharp focus.
In its anniversary year, commemorating the launch of the LANGE 1 in October 1994, the GRAND LANGE 1 MOON PHASE will be released as a jubilee edition in white gold with a limitation of 25 watches. It features an argenté-coloured dial in solid silver with printed deep-blue numerals and a white-gold lunar disc with hand-engraved stars.
The GRAND LANGE 1 MOON PHASE “25th Anniversary” is the second model from the anniversary collection with which A. Lange & Söhne is celebrating the most important milestones of the LANGE 1 watch family in 2019. Its special features include an argenté-coloured dial made of solid silver with blue-printed numbers, indices and a blue date and a colour-coordinated blue alligator leather strap with grey stitching. Furthermore, it is the first Lange watch with a hand-engraved lunar disc made of solid white gold. Six stars and numerous small dots have been engraved by hand to create a starry sky. Together with the inlaid golden moon, this forms a unique three-dimensional night scene.
With a diameter of 41 millimetres, the GRAND LANGE 1 MOON PHASE launched in 2014 is 2.5 millimetres larger than the LANGE 1 MOON PHASE. The moon-phase display, which is correct for 122.6 years, is also larger than that of its sister model and has moved from a subsidiary seconds dial to the main dial with the hour and minute display. This ensures that the GRAND LANGE 1 MOON PHASE gives the most space to this astronomical complication of all the moon-phase models from A. Lange & Söhne. The Lange outsize date has also been enlarged proportionally by four per cent to create a holistic overall appearance.
The sapphire-crystal caseback reveals the calibre L095.3 that is meticulously decorated and twice assembled by hand with the typical characteristics of the LANGE 1 watch family. The three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver decorated with Glashütte ribbing affords a view of the screw balance with a balance spring developed and manufactured in-house. This is held in place by a hand-engraved balance cock with a special engraving: the number “25” in the Lange-typical outsize date window, surrounded by a floral pattern. All engraved recesses are accentuated with a blue coating.
The number “25” refers to the anniversary of the presentation of the first Lange collection of the new era. On 24 October 1994, company founder Walter Lange and his partner Günter Blümlein presented the first four wristwatches since the company’s relaunch – among them the LANGE 1 – at the Dresdner Residenzschloss, the royal palace in Dresden. With its off-centre dial layout and the typical Lange outsize date, it is the best-known example of the A. Lange & Söhne watches. In order to celebrate this anniversary fittingly, a limited-edition classic from the LANGE 1 watch family will be presented every month until 24 October 2019.
For more information, please visit the A. Lange & Söhne Website.