Founded in 1845 in Germany, A. Lange & Söhne is one of the most honored high-end watch manufacturers in the world. Known for quality materials, excellence in craftsmanship and opulent designs, A. Lange & Söhne has been producing superior watches since its inception. Unlike most other brands, A. Lange & Söhne solely creates watches with mechanical movements, focusing all their resources into developing perfect and precise timekeeping devices. For those who value mechanical prowess above all else, buying an A. Lange & Söhne watch is utter perfection. Browse our collection of exceptional used A. Lange & Sohne watches for sale at Crown & Caliber today.
A. Lange & Söhne was one of the earliest manufacturers to establish their headquarters in the historically significant city of Glashütte in Germany. The company started with Adolf Lange. For years, Lange served as an apprentice for a watchmaker named J.C. Friedrich Gutkaes. In their workshop, they focused on making bespoke timepieces for wealthy clientele. Through this experience, Lange was able to hone both his watchmaking and business skills. He graduated from this apprenticeship in 1835 but continued to work with Gutkaes for a few more years. Eventually, he furthered his studies with another watchmaker who specialized in chronometers. Finally, in 1845, Lange founded his own namesake brand.
During the first years of business, Lange focused on his passion for innovating. Just a year after setting up his workshop, he designed the three-quarter plate. Today, A. Lange & Söhne continues to use this element in their movements. Soon after, Lange made another significant development that has since become an industry standard. He replaced the Parisian system of linges with the metric system.
In 1848, Lange received a unique opportunity: he became the Mayor of Glashütte, and his tenure lasted nearly two decades. During that time, he continued to keep his watchmaking business thriving while implementing legislation to boost the industry at large in the town of Glashütte. Today, many credit Lange with transforming the modest town into the epicenter of watchmaking, as we know it.
As Lange grew older, he began to think about the future of his company. He knew that he wanted it to remain a family business, so he began training his sons, Richard and Emil. The two brothers would take over the company around the time of Lange’s death in 1875. Later, they would carry out the family tradition by training their sons. Thus, the business was no longer just Lange himself. It was A. Lange & Söhne.
Lange’s descendants proudly carried on his superior work ethic and pioneering spirit. For example, in 1900, A. Lange and Söhne unveiled their No. 42500 Grand Complication. This bespoke pocket watch was far ahead of its time. To this day, it continues to be one of the most technically complex timepieces the brand has ever created.
However, the early 1900s also marked the beginning of a difficult period for the brand, the town of Glashütte, and the world at large. The political unrest of WWI, subsequent economic downturn, and continued strife of WWII weighed heavily on Glashütte and its industries. Like many watchmakers, A. Lange & Söhne shifted their production efforts to serve military forces during wartime. For instance, they made oversized wristwatches for the German Air Force during the Second World War. Yet sadly, the location of the town of Glashütte and the brand’s workshops ultimately put them in the line-of-fire. In the last months of the war, a bombing raid destroyed their workshops. By 1948, the Lange family had been expropriated, and the Soviet administration had nationalized the company’s remaining property. For the next 45 years, the A. Lange and Söhne name disappeared.
Nearly half a century later, there was a beacon of hope for the Lange family. In 1989, the Iron Curtain collapsed and Walter Lange, Adolf Lange’s great-grandson, was finally able to return to Germany. Here, he was able to rebuild his family name in the tradition of watchmaking. Within a year, he had re-registered the A. Lange and Söhne trademark. Then, in 1994, the brand made their long-awaited return with their first watches in nearly half a century.
In the inventive spirit of the brand’s founder, one of their new models debuted an all-new patent. The Lange 1’s outsize date function drew inspiration from one of Adolf Lange’s masterpieces, a clock designed for the Semper Opera House in Dresden in 1830. Today, A. Lange & Söhne continues to use this key date feature in many of their models.
For the next decade, A. Lange & Söhne worked tirelessly to restore their brand to its former glory. This included extensive restoration efforts in the remains of the company’s workshop that had been destroyed in the bombing raid. All the while, they continued to innovate. Since then, the brand has created over 40 new movements and notched over 150 international horological prizes. In 2019, they celebrated the 25th anniversary of their re-establishment with the release of an impressive eight commemorative timepieces. Later that year, they entered a new era for the brand with their first-ever serially produced stainless steel model: Odysseus.
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