The flip of the century was an vital second for conventional watchmaking. It was additionally an vital second for us as a result of we printed World of Watches for the primary time that 12 months. Seminal watches such because the Harry Winston Opus, the Ulysse Nardin Freak and the Richard Mille RM001 confirmed a brand new spirit in up to date watchmaking. It was actually springtime on the earth of mechanical watchmaking, whilst A. Lange & Söhne moved again into its historic constructing on December 7, 2001.
However, there was additionally a way that an period was ending. On October 1, 2001, the good Günter Blümlein handed away on the age of 58. That the person who revived A. Lange & Söhne, arguably altering the fortunes of Glashütte within the course of, whereas additionally egging IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre to new heights, died so younger was solely a part of the story. The skilled tragedy was that watchmaking misplaced a real visionary, and there by no means had been too lots of these.
Walter Lange, re-founder of A. Lange & Söhne and great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, mentioned it greatest, so we’ll quote him straight: “With out Günter Blümlein, A. Lange & Söhne wouldn’t exist any extra — and Glashütte wouldn’t have resumed its position because the centre of German precision watchmaking.” The Saxon model is definitely the one most intently related to Blümlein, and he had a particular place for it in his coronary heart. Anthony de Haas, Product Growth Director at A. Lange & Söhne, labored with Blümlein at IWC and, when he was about to go away for greener pastures, Blümlein tried to entice him to remain. He didn’t make him any extravagant affords. As a substitute, he confirmed him a watch that may turn into the brand new A. Lange & Söhne, which had not but been revived at the moment.
Curiously, Blümlein was not a watchmaker himself, not like de Haas. He skilled as an engineer however discovered his true calling in gross sales and advertising. His Nuremberg hometown was an industrial hotbed nevertheless it was within the Black Forest, with the Diehl Group, that Blümlein found watchmaking. Diehl had snapped up watchmaker Junghans within the Fifties, and Blümlein ultimately grew to become director of selling and gross sales there. This set the stage for his involvement with IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre, within the interval of nice turmoil shaking watchmaking. This was the Nineteen Eighties and it was a distinct time within the commerce. When the Berlin wall crumbled in 1989, Blümlein began in on what would elevate his title to legendary standing: A. Lange & Söhne.
By 1990, all of the Glashütte watchmaking names had been obliterated by Communism — Blümlein and Walter Lange started to alter that by bringing A. Lange & Söhne again. They had been armed with little greater than goals of the most effective conventional watches that could possibly be made in Germany. In 1994, Blümlein and Lange launched the world to the primary wristwatches from the model. Blümlein had a really specific imaginative and prescient, one primarily based on the recognition, desirability and shortage of the previous model’s pocket watches at public sale. “A Lange watch is an entire murals. It combines the watchmaker’s ardour for mechanisms and craftsmanship with the inimitable fashion of the model and its wealthy historical past,” mentioned Blümlein of the brand new wristwatches from A. Lange & Söhne in that 1994 introduction to the press. There have been solely 4 watches at that launch, and solely 123 had been made, in whole. All offered out in minutes, reportedly.
“As a newcomer, we can’t afford the slightest weak point. Our merchandise have to be excellent, all the way down to the tiniest element,” mentioned Blümlein at that first press convention. A. Lange & Söhne might not be a newcomer any longer, however the watches stay devoted to these phrases.
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