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20th Anniversary
A. Lange & Söhne  - Wilhelm Schmid

A. Lange & Söhne Wilhelm Schmid

CEO*

Wilhelm Schmid embodies this very German brand: he lives and breathes the ideals of its founders and re-founders, combining that with confident decision-making pleasing to both owner Richemont and the passionate collectors and enthusiasts who fuel the Teutonic watches’ success in the marketplace. A high-calibre executive at BMW prior to entering the watch industry as A.Lange & Söhne’s CEO in 2011, his experience with clients, the enthusiast mentality, and mechanics (he is a car aficionado himself) have undoubtedly benefited the Saxony-based collector’s darling.

It was in fact the knowledge of his loyal clientele, who he personally meets and greets at both enthusiast car and watch events, that saw him confidently continue to greenlight the Odysseus, bringing forth the brand’s first casual watch on a stainless steel bracelet – a somewhat risky move for this top-tier manufacturer in the Internet age.

Wilhelm Schmid

Wilhelm Schmid © A. Lange & Söhne

Understanding how to give people what they want while marching to the beat of the brand’s own drum, Schmid has continued to meaningfully build upon Lange’s core Lange 1 family – one of the original four lines – and the 10-year-old post-modern Zeitwerk collection among others. He has also fully renovated and added to the state-of-the-art Manufacture buildings in Glashütte, along the way raking in a solid handful of prizes at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, including a Special Jury Prize for Walter Lange in 2014.

In the boom years of watchmaking, which have very much ushered in big business with mergers and acqui- sitions making ever more brands “units” within groups and conglomerates, it is refreshing to see Schmid make each watch feel unique and each client special. He is an exceptional role model in an increasingly homologous field who continues to contribute positive leadership based on the idea of crafting the watch chiefly by hand without sacrificing precision or technology. Schmid safeguards A.Lange & Söhne’s original and traditional ideals in a shining example of new-age management skills.

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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