We certainly don’t do this very often, however recently we hosted an event together with a watch brand. The brand in question was A. Lange & Söhne, which is in my humble opinion among the most beautiful brands in the world. The location for the event was the Louman museum, which showcases the world’s largest automotive collection in private possession. A great match! Here’s a recap of a memorable evening.
The Louman museum, home of our A. Lange & Söhne x Monochrome masterclass
I guess I do not have to explain too much about the German watch brand A. Lange & Söhne, however, I will briefly say a few words about this magnificent brand. If you feel I’m using a lot of superlatives, you’re right, because this brand deserves nothing less. After a not so good period (World War II, and the subsequent occupation by the Sovjet Union until 1990) the Company bounced back with unparalleled strength and power. At the end of 1990 Walter Lange and Günter Blumlein (boss of IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre at the time; well before Richemont took over) officially founded the company and by 1994 they introduced four watches, each with its own movement, and each of them forming the basis of a full collection. How impressive is that? Well, if you know that even today (with all the digital help, 3-D printing of prototypes, etc.) it takes approx. five years for a watch company to create an entirely new watch including a new calibre. Go figure…
Twenty-three years after the launch of their first collection, this brand has all the properties to be equals with the three brands (Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet) that are often referred to as the Holy Trinity. So maybe it’s time to stretch this “trinity” a bit and call it the Fabulous Foursome? Jokes aside, the level of finishing, the pure watchmaking prowess and the spectacular complications are certainly on par, if not above, with the top of the watch industry. And that in only 23 years time! Superlatives are deservedly in place when talking about A. Lange & Söhne.
We invited 20 collectors, as we wanted to keep it small and informal. For connoisseurs only so to say. We opted for no seated dinner because that would only cost precious time, that could otherwise be spent on handling those gorgeous timepieces. After an informal welcome, the guests got a guided tour of the highlights of the museum. Enough to have all of them excited about the museum’s collection, which is truly spectacular (maybe you remember we once did a photoshoot with the Lange 1 Timezone inside the Louman museum, or that time I got to pose as James Bond in the actual car that was used in Goldfinger?)
The hosts of this evening: Anthony De Haas (Director of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne) and Frank Geelen (Editor in Chied and Founder of Monochrome)
After the tour Anthony de Haas, the brand’s director of product development, explained to the guests more about the brand’s history, the developments throughout the past 23 years, and of course their approach to high-end watchmaking. A little detail for instance, is that every part, whether it be a small screw, or pinion, or wheel, in a Saxonia Thin 37mm (the brand’s entry-level watch that starts around €15.000 Euro) is finished to the exact same (very high) standards as parts in their Grand Complication that has a price tag of 1,9 million (limited to 6 pieces and sold out within a week.) Not many brands, and certainly not big brands, deliver such level of quality. For collector’s it’s a proof of quality, and of course a sheer feast for the eye.
After the speech, everyone rushed over to the table with watches to get a closer look, try ‘em on their wrists and admire the movements. Also present was Max, one of the brand’s top watchmakers (working in the complicated watches department), with a watchmaking bench and he explained all the nitty gritty of the movements. That became a true interactive part, as many of the guests had very specific and technical questions. Calibres being assembled, disassembled and questions were answered often with the exact parts being shown to the person asking a question in order to give the best possible explanation.
Altogether we enjoyed a great night in which 20 guests, Max, Anthony and I, shared the passion for fine watchmaking (and cars.) Thanks to everyone involved for making this evening into a memorable one!
More information about the A. Lange & Söhne collection can be found here: www.alange-soehne.com/en/timepieces/