A HOROLOGICAL EVENING – ‘PERFECTION AND SIMPLICITY’ THE WATCHES OF A. LANGE UND SÖHNE AND THEIR PLACE IN GERMAN HISTORY

A talk by Jeremy Barlow, to include watches from his collection. Followed by dinner with an appropriately Germanic menu.

The firm of A. Lange und Söhne now rivals Patek Philippe for a prime position in the luxury watch market. Founded in 1845 by Adolf Lange in the small Saxon town of Glashütte, the company soon established a reputation for superb quality timepieces. Other manufacturers were attracted to the town and for many years production of pocket watches boomed. After World War One however the industry suffered as it failed to respond to rising demand for wristwatches and several firms went out of business, especially during the period of hyperinflation in the 1920s. But Lange survived, and in the Second World War the firm’s pocket watch movements were used to make outsize wristwatches for pilots and observation watches for the navy.

After the war, Glashütte found itself in East Germany and the firm of Lange was subsumed, along with other manufacturers in the town, into a state-owned entity known as GUB (Glashütte Uhren Betrieb); Walter Lange, great-grandson of Adolph Lange and head of the firm, fled to the West. Quality deteriorated, but after re-unification in 1989 Walter Lange, now in his seventies, returned to Glashütte and in 1994 re-established the firm that thrives today. The watches of Lange and Glashütte thus reflect aspects of twentieth-century German history.£