There were times, not so long ago, when Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin were THE three Grande Dames of Haute Horlogerie. In the last twenty years there have been some changes, and without jumping to the conclusion that one of the aforementioned threesome should make place for another brand, we can at least say that there’s a new kid in town. And that new kid plays the same game – i.e. classic, understated, and complex Haute Horlogerie – and is very successful at that. We’re talking about the German high-end watch manufacture A. Lange & Söhne, who have just opened their first boutique in New York City.
Opening your own boutique is quite an endeavor, certainly when you’re a German high-end watch brand. Everything has to be perfect, and that’s exactly why A. Lange & Söhne didn’t over-rush to open their first boutique in the Big Apple. They searched for the perfect location, where they can welcome their customers, their guests, in the environment that suits the brand that they have become in the past 24 years. During the opening the CEO said that finding a perfect location for their first boutique in New York, had been a top priority for years. The newly opened NYC boutique is very spacious, has an understated luxurious atmosphere, and is a beautiful environment that perfectly suits one of the best watchmaking brands in the world.
On September 25, Wilhelm Schmid, the brand’s CEO, opened the New York boutique, in the presence of 120 guests. I’ve never seen so many Lange & Söhne watches in one place, and I’m not referring to the watches in the display windows. The boutique is 2,565 square feet large, which is massive for a high-end watch (mono-brand) boutique.
Wilhelm Schmid: “In this unique place outside the Saxon manufactory, time will have a new home.“
The new boutique is located within the most exclusive shopping area of Manhattan, at 785 Madison Avenue, where it can welcome customers and fans of the brand from all over the world. Of course there was more than “just” an opening cocktail party! When Lange & Söhne opened the new boutique in Moscow, 2 weeks ago, the brand introduced a new version of the Langematik Perpetual, in white gold with a black dial as we’ve shown you here. Now for the NYC boutique, they introduce another new model, a boutique edition, of the Richard Lange Tourbillon ‘Pour le Mérite‘. Last week we covered the new model that was presented during the opening by Gaetan Guillosson, President of A. Lange & Söhne North America.
A. Lange & Söhne has continuously expanded its operations in the United States ever since it entered the market in 1995. As Gaetan Guillosson states: “The new location is an important element of our international sales strategy. With the opening of our New York boutique we are taking another step on our way to develop a network of own-name stores in the major shopping conurbations of our key markets in Europe, Asia and America. We are looking forward to welcoming friends and collectors to our new home of time on Madison Avenue.”
The new boutique is a perfect place for exactly that. A large selection of the collection, including some of the most complex timepieces like the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar, is visible in the display windows, however there’s more. There are several tables, where you can sit down with one of the Lange experts, and there’s a “cosy corner” with two leather armchairs and a couch. A more relaxed setting that also allows for examining, and discussing, the timepieces. No matter the age, no matter the career or background, when it comes to a shared passion, boys will be boys.
One of the additional services of the Lange boutique is the presence of an “in-house watchmaker”, who will start as of January 2015. He’ll be able to do quick fixes, like changing straps, but can also service watches. Of course it would make no sense if that watchmaker would service your Datograph (which we recently reviewed) or Double Split (yes, we reviewed that one for you as well), because these watches are so complex that service would cost too much time from a watchmaker that has to be ready for quick fixes.
And when all this is not enough, you might be interested to have a look at one of three existing reproduction of the Semper Opera clock. The original Semper Opera is located in Dresden, a city next to Glashütte, and this inspired Lange to create the Lange Zeitwerk.
The opening cocktail party was attended by 120 guests, and I even ran into a familiar face from the West Coast. It was rather busy, but there were drinks, great finger food and a band played great jazzy tunes. Although I didn’t know most of the guests, we always had at least one thing in common, so enough to talk about (yes, watch talk.)
Celebrating the opening of Lange & Söhne’s boutique in New York was a horological high-light. Good folks, talking watches, with some great life music and a glass of wine, champagne or German beer. This is of course a perfect evening to meet like-minded people, so I was not amazed to see the Hodinkee crew. Ben Clymer and Kelly Jasper of Hodinkee, acclaimed best online publication about watches (right after Monochrome of course), were there, as was Stephen Pulvirent (former Hodinkee, now Bloomberg).
It looks like the new kid in town found a suitable home in New York. For watch lovers, fans of the brand, whether you’re from NYC, somewhere else in the US, or visiting New York for leisure or business, do yourself a pleasure and pay a visit to a little piece of Glashütte in the Big Apple.
This is where: 785 Madison Avenue – New York, NY 10065 – Tel.: +1 646 828 3150 – email: [email protected]