VIDEO: Talking with A. Lange & Söhne CEO Wilhelm Schmid about the future
A few months ago, on 26 August 2015, a new building for A. Lange & Söhne was opened by German chancellor Angela Merkel. The new manufacturing facility is just across the street from the old building, which is also still in use, and both buildings are connected through a gangway over the street that divides both buildings. The addition of 5,400-square-meters of workshops triggered our curiosity, so we sat down with the brand’s CEO Wilhelm Schmid to talk about the additional space and the what this means for the German high-end watch brand.
Mr. Schmid told us that growth is not ruled out, but let’s first look at the modern new building. The new manufacturing facility comprises modern workshops and ateliers, in which the beautiful A. Lange & Söhne movements will be manufactured, engraved and decorated. The building’s slightly inclined, large-format atelier windows, which recall the profile of historic watchmaking ateliers, assure that enough sunlight reaches the workbenches. A. Lange & Söhne notes that the new complex ‘harmoniously blends in with its historic architectural surroundings’, and comprises a mill centre at ground floor level, and watchmaker’s ateliers on the higher levels.
Opening a new building like this is a major event, even for a watch brand that is know around the world and plays in the highest level. Mind you, the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, and the official reunification of East and West Germany was the next year, in 1990. A. Lange & Söhne introduced their first collection in 1994, and has become a world-class player in the field of high-end watchmaking. Moreover, many collectors consider the German brand to the best in its class, and even leaving their Swiss peers behind.
We wanted to know why the brand decided to build the new manufacture, and how this will effect the future production. Wilhelm Schmid talked frank about his ideas of growth, and the future of the beautiful brand he leads. According to him the superb quality for which the brand is known, is part of A. Lange & Söhne’s DNA and will never be affected by an increasing production.
Here are some more photos of the inauguration with non-other than Chancellor Angela Merkel. During the inauguration the German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Saxony’s Prime Minister Stanislaw Tillich travelled to Glashütte to inaugurate A. Lange & Söhne’s new manufactory building. The Chancellor said to the 91-year-old re-founder Walter Lange: “The new beginning was not easy, but you and your companions succeeded in securing the manufactory’s top-tier position among the world’s finest watch brands once again. Eastern Germany’s good reputation as innovative, flexible and modern location is based on success stories like yours.”