A. Lange & Söhne Watches

Swap Watch A.Lange & Sohne Watches

A brief history of A. Lange & Söhne "the amazing two-fold assembly".


1830 Ferdinand A. Lange is apprenticed to Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes, a master clockmaker, in Dresden. Gutkaes, who will go on to make horological history with his own invention, the Five-Minute Clock at Semper Opera House, immediately recognises Ferdinand’s talent.

1837 Ferdinand A. Lange is awarded high honours at the end of his apprenticeship. The young watchmaker sets off on a tour that will take him to France, at this time the global centre of fine horology. Lange gets a job as a manufactory foreman, working under Joseph Thaddaus Winnerl – Abraham-Louis Breguet’s own pupil. Lange also commences a study of physics and astronomy at the Sorbonne. 1842 After returning to Dresden, Ferdinand qualifies as a master clockmaker and marries Gutkaes’ daughter Antonia.

1845 Lange’s petitions to the royal Saxon Ministry of the Interior result in a loan of 5580 thaler to found a manufactory in the poor town of Glashutte. A new horological era is born. 1846 Lange’s new manufactory begins producing the three-quarter plate, Ferdinand’s own invention and a revolution in fine watchmaking. This plate is still used in A. Lange and Sohne movements.

1848-1866 Ferdinand A. Lange is offered the office of Mayor in Glashutte, a position he remains in for 18 years. During this time, the town is transformed from an impoverished hamlet into a thriving industrial centre, thanks mainly to the Lange manufactory. 1868 Ferdinand’s son Richard becomes a partner in the business, and the name is changed to A. Lange and Sohne.

1871 Emil, Richard’s younger brother, joins A. Lange and Sohne. 1875 Ferdinand A. Lange dies at the age of 60, on December 3. Richard and Emil take on the full-time management of the business. 1900 Emil Lange creates the Centennial Tourbillon, to international acclaim. The movement is housed in a yellow gold pocket watch case, depicting the goddess Minerva and the city of Paris. 1902 A. Lange and Sohne no. 42500 ‘The Grande Complication’ is created, as a one-off order for a private customer named Heinrich Schafer. The extraordinary pocket watch will remain the most complex and technically involved movement created by the brand, to the present day.

1931 Richard Lange patents a new watch spring alloy. This alloy will appear in nearly all fine watches made to the present day, under the proprietary name Nivarox. 1941 Walter Lange, Ferdinand’s great-grandson, travels to Austria at the age of 17 to learn watchmaking. His ambition is to take over the A. Lange and Sohne manufactory. It is an ambition that will be thwarted many times, first by WWII and then by the Soviet occupation of Saxony.

1945 A bomb destroys the A. Lange and Sohne manufactory on the last night of WWII. The A. Lange and Sohne name disappears from timepieces for 45 years. 1990 One year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Walter Lange and watch company manager Walter Blumlein decide to recreate the A. Lange and Sohne brand.

1994 The first four A. Lange and Sohne prototypes are ready. They include a brand-new patent, for an outsize date, which appears on three of the models. This date is now a key feature of most A. Lange and Sohne masterpieces. The legendary Tourbillon ‘Pour le Merite’ is born. 1998 The Lange 1A is presented to the world.

1999 The 1815 Moon Phase is created, in celebration of Emil Lange’s 150th birthday.

2000 The Lange 1 Tourbillon is debuted. 2001 The original manufactory in Glashutte, now restored, once again becomes home to Ferdinand A. Lange’s watchmaking brand. 2003 A. Lange and Sohne present the Grand Lange Lunar Mundi, a pair of watches that accurately track the phases of the moon on both sides of the equator. 2005 The Tourbograph ‘Pour le Merite’ is born. This extraordinary watch features a rattrapante chronograph, a fusee and chain transmission and a tourbillon.

2006 The Lange 1 Time Zone is debuted.

2007 A. Lange and Sohne opens its first boutique store, in Dresden. 2010 A special family of watches, the three-model Edition ‘Homage to F. A. Lange’ is created. This unrivalled family of timepieces includes the Tourbograph ‘Pour le Merite’, the Lange 1 ‘Homage to F. A. Lange’ and the 1815 Moon Phase ‘Homage to F. A. Lange’.

2011 The brand reaches a landmark 40 movements, all designed since its re-invention in 1990. These calibre represent more than just 21 years of hard work – they are emblems of the 150 international horological prizes awarded to A. Lange and Sohne in its new incarnation. 

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