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Walter Lange (1924-2017): A Man You Can’t Forget

Our memories of Mr Walter Lange, Founder, A. Lange & Soehne

Walter Lange Founder A Lange & Soehne

I still remember Mr. Walter Lange striding coolly towards our van, and asking our driver if he could drop him as well to his home.

This is 2012, nearly 4.5 years back, at the A. Lange & Soehne manufactory in Dresden. And I still haven’t disremembered that chance meeting. 

He was something of a legend at the factory. And despite our repeated requests for meeting Mr Lange, we were told that would not be possible. So imagine our surprise when it just so happened that we were leaving the manufactory at the right time, at the right place. 

After our initial surprise, we timidly petitioned him to answer a few queries for us nosy journalists if possible. And he readily agreed! Inviting us into his home, we huddled around him for a few, quick, very important questions. But it was not his answers that left a dent on me. It was his twinkling eyes, easy demeanour, and unabashed modesty that baffled me.

He was a man who, instead of getting into an easy retirement, re-started A. Lange & Soehne at the age of 66. He revived the German watchmaking company of his forefathers and bought it back to the helm of the watchmaking industry.

Starting with just 4 watches, the brand now has five families of models. Re-starting in 1990 with a very small team, the company now hosts 770 employees in its fold. A trained watchmaker himself, Walter Lange remained involved with the company he founded as a brand ambassador and consultant even long after he withdrew from company management.

He made the craft of German watchmaking a force to reckon with, opposing the unabated practice of Swiss watchmaking, and giving it stiff competition.

His death almost feels personal, because his story has inspired generations of people. At LuxuryFacts, we are immensely sorry to hear of his passing, and convey our condolences to his family and the entire Lange team.

While people saw him as almighty, he remained unerringly human. And that’s why, he is unforgettable.

 

You can read his exclusive interview here.

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