A. Lange & Söhne Interview of Wilhelm Schmid
The Odysseus family is growing and the new Lange 1 Time Zone is launched for people who are open-minded and connected to the world.
To what extent has the ODYSSEUS changed the image of A. Lange & Söhne?
A sporty-elegant Lange watch in stainless steel is certainly something many would not have expected from us. Then again, others see the Odysseus as an expression of our ongoing commitment to break new ground. From this perspective, I think it has rather confirmed the image of A. Lange & Söhne as a brand that is always good for a surprise.
Odysseus © A. Lange & Söhne
What new models are going to be launched in this collection (when)?
We just presented the second model of the Odysseus series, a white-gold version that is available with either a leather or a rubber strap. The new addition already indicates one of the various development directions we can follow: We may use other case materials, or we may equip models with additional functions that fit the character of a sporty-elegant timepiece.
In this bizarre year 2020, what’s your best-selling model (do you know why)?
As always, there is a strong interest in the new watches, which includes the stainless-steel Odysseus we launched in October. However, current demand is not much different from the preferences we see in a standard market situation. It is evenly divided among all watch lines. Traditionally, the Lange 1 family plays an important role in our portfolio, on the one hand because it is our signature model, and on the other because the 25th anniversary collection presented in 2019 drew a lot of attention.
Odysseus launched in Octobre 2019 © A. Lange & Söhne
Are you considering celebrating the 175th anniversary of the creation of the Manufacture? How (event, product, collection)?
We do have a plan for that, but we know that its feasibility depends on the conditions we will have in the fall. For example, there will be the inauguration of a memorial for Walter Lange – both to honor him as the founder of our company and to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Saxony’s fine-watchmaking industry founded in 1845 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange. Although not all details have been determined yet, one thing is for sure: as a watchmaker we usually celebrate anniversaries with timepieces. So, there will be more to look forward to in the course of the year.
Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne © A. Lange & Söhne
Your vintage watches perform well in auctions and among watch collectors, you are you considering running your own certified pre-owned department?
From a customer’s standpoint, it is clearly desirable to have a better structured and more transparent market for pre-owned watches. That is why Richemont has decided to acquire and develop Watchfinder & Co. to become the first point of contact for the purchase and sale of high-quality second-hand timepieces within the group. Since May 11th, Watchfinder & Co. is offering its services as a pilot project in our boutique on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse. Customers can use this platform to sell their watch and have the proceeds offset the purchase a new or professionally refurbished pre-owned Lange watch. Depending on our experiences, we may expand this service to other boutiques.
What’s the big launch of 2020 for A. Lange & Söhne (possibly under embargo for subsequent release on WorldTempus)?
We launched a couple of new timepieces this year at the digital Watches & Wonders and later on in June, and as I mentioned, there are more to come in the course of the year. However, if I had to choose one, it would be the new Lange 1 Time Zone. As the world grows smaller in this time of increasing international networking, we have launched a revised version of this model. The watch is dedicated to open-minded people who are connected to the world. At the push of a button and thanks to its switchable city ring, it answers questions like: “Is it the right time to call friends overseas?” or “Does daylight-saving time apply in the region where I want to set up a conference call?” Fifteen years after the first version, we have endowed the watch with a new Manufacture caliber. In order to guarantee optimal legibility, we have moved the redesigned day-and-night indicators to the dial center. And we extended the functionality by adding a daylight-saving time indication for the second time zone.
Lange 1 Timezone © A. Lange & Söhne
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