The Second World War gave Lange the worst blow to date. Because the factory site was considered by the Allies as a Nazi-produced quartermaster, it was bombarded in turn, and many watch factories were razed to the ground. After the war, Glashütte belonged to East Germany, which practiced socialism. After the Soviet army stationed, it removed most of the remaining watchmaking equipment and shipped it to the Soviet Union.
In April 1948, the Lange watch factory was state-owned by the East German government. The nature of Lange’s family business was also changed and the state was withdrawn. Along with it are seven other factories in the Glashütte region. During the Cold War, Glashütte was completely isolated from the Western world. This situation did not change until the reunification of East and West. Lange’s family successor, Walter Lange, set up a new production line in 4 years with the help of IWC presidents Gunter Blumlein and Renaud & Another brand, Glashutte Original (GO, meaning Glashütte Original) was directly named by the Bavarian entrepreneur Heinz Feijing with the name of a local town in 1994, suggesting its inseparable history with the town origin.
Today, the Lange and Glashütte brands have become the symbol of German watch souls, and their development history also subtly coincides with the history of Germany itself: they have once stood proud of the world, but have to face after failure Arbitrary slaughter of the winner. The resolute character of the Germanic people gave this resurgence a touch of sadness. The rigorous and precise German style shaped by history and national character has made German watches an important place in the fine watchmaking industry.
Glashutte Original (GO, Glashutte)
Most of the watch brands we know today are from Switzerland. But if you study the history of the watch industry more, people will find that Britain and France also occupy a pivotal position in the watch industry. The most widely known brand is of course Cartier. Except for the United Kingdom and France, watches from Germany also play an important role in the world of skilled watches, which many people do not know. Mercedes and Porsche may be more representative of German craftsmanship in their minds, and watches are easily overlooked.
Many people do not understand the German watchmaking industry, probably because German watches seem indifferent to marketing and publicity. Germany may not be the largest or most influential watchmaker in the world, but it is definitely one of the oldest. As early as the 15th century, the German watchmaking industry began to flourish. In 1530, the German Nuremberg locksmith PeterHenlein produced the world’s first pocket watch, and the German state of Saxony became an important watchmaking city in the world in the early 19th century. The founder of Lange Ferdinando Adolf Lange has played an important and crucial role in the brilliant achievements of German watches today.
A. Lange Sohne
Lange worked for many years under the master of Breguet. On December 7, 1845, he used the loan of the Saxony government to create the first watchmaking workshop A. Lange & Cie in Glashütte and began training local silver. Miners and farmers switch to making clocks. Glashütte means “dark treasure trove of metal” in German. With the gradual depletion of silver mines that have been mined for many years, the watch workshop founded by Lange was originally intended to help local mining workers switch to earn a living, but it accidentally created Germany’s largest watch industry. Relevant parts industries such as watch cases, hands and other factories were successively established, laying a solid foundation for the development of the German watch industry. The town of Glashütte has finally developed into the center of the German precision watch industry. The clocks, pocket watches, watches and marine instruments, industrial instruments produced by it are sold in Germany, Europe and even China.
In 1868, Lange’s sons Richard and Amir joined, and A. Lange & Cie was renamed Lange. When King William II of Germany visited Turkey in 1898, he gave a pocket watch to Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The Lange watch has been recognized and affirmed by the royal family, which of course reflects the high quality and nobility of the watch from the side. This pocket watch is still in the museum in Istanbul.
The Swiss watch industry pays attention to design and often follows the trend, while the German watch focuses on technology research and development, and design favors classics. Walter Lange once said: ‘The Lange is a very typical German-made watch. It is a fancy expression. It is a traditional precision watchmaking art. Every Lange watch has its own movement. Each movement has its own characteristics or has some special functions. ‘German watches rely on Germany’s own ability to manufacture precision instruments, add unique designs, and allow Swiss designers to create them at the beginning. Be amazed.
The Lange watch production process to date still guarantees traditional hand-made. For Lange watches, luxury isn’t a fuss on the dial, but a touch of embellishment inside the movement. After the first initial installation, the watch must be disassembled for the second fine assembly. This process involves the engraving of the movement. The engraving designers will specialize according to the requirements of each custom watch customer. It takes about 10 days to design the engraved content. The engraving time of each watch is greatly lengthened now, usually it can be completed in 8-10 months, and the production process is very long. In addition to the meticulous operation on the movement, each small part inside the watch is also made by a professional craftsman, hand-carved and hand-polished. This adherence to the traditional and complex watchmaking method was once challenged by quartz watches in the 1980s. As a fashionable and quiet quartz watch produced at the time, it seriously threatened the survival of advanced mechanical watches. Going up is in danger of perishing. At the time, it was not a watchmaker without unemployment. Fortunately, some people did not compromise on the trend set by quartz watches. At the time, Gerd-RLang, the founder of the German Chronoswiss brand, founded Chronoswiss in such a downturn. Carrying forward the handicraft technology, the tradition and luxury have been carried out to the end, and they have rushed out of the blood. Today, mechanical watches once again dominate the market.
Innovation in design allowed Glashütte to establish its place in the watch industry and quickly return to the ranks of top watch brands after the end of the Cold War. In 1931, Alfred Helvesi of the Glashütte Watch School found that Breguet’s classic coaxial tourbillon device was too complex and relatively worn, so he boldly cancelled the upper bracket that fixed the tourbillon and adopted the A more wonderful way to levitate, making the tourbillon and pointer look like they are suspended in mid-air. It has innovated the tourbillon and took a step forward in precision. The suspension tourbillon sparked a revolution in tourbillons. To commemorate this revolutionary innovation, Glashütte launched the ‘Alfred Helvisi Flying Tourbillon 1’ and ‘Alver in 1996 and 2001, respectively’ Red Helvetica Flying Tourbillon 2 ‘two watches. In 1995, GO launched the ‘Julie Eisman Perpetual Tourbillon Limited Watch’, a complex performance watch limited to 25 pieces in the world, with a unique design that can be used as a pocket watch or a special strap base. Later turned into a watch to wear on the hand. This watch quickly launched GO’s return to the ranks of top manufacturers.
The word original is also constantly emphasized in the German watch industry. In the highly competitive watchmaking industry, companies that can develop their own movements undoubtedly have the greatest advantage. Lange watches always adhere to solid gold or platinum case and self-made movement. The movement splint made of ‘German Silver’ material has a different texture from the traditional Swiss movement material. In order to adhere to the good tradition, Glashütte, Efforts have been made to preserve the 3/4 plywood design that was almost abandoned by the Swiss watchmaking industry due to too difficult production, and the assembly of this complex function movement is still a mode of single operation.
Adhering to these traditional watchmaking models seems to explain why German watches have re-emerged quickly after 50 years of history. Tradition is not so easily discarded, and heritage is also considered to be the basic quality that mechanical watches should have. According to Fabian Krone, CEO of Lange, ‘Lange has very clear DNA and clear brand characteristics. These are the qualities required for watch heritage.’ Perhaps using a slogan from another Swiss watchmaking company can better explain what they are pursuing for a watch. ‘No one can own a Patek Philippe, you are just keeping it for the next generation.’ In this regard, Swiss and German watch industry reached a connection.