Anthony de Haas, Director of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne, explains why uniqueness is part of the DNA of the most successful watch companies.
Anthony de Haas, Director of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne, explains why uniqueness is a successful watch brand’s business card.
A distinctive style,
high recognition value and a consistent design concept are the key success factors on the aesthetic side of a fine watch brand. It sounds simple, but from my own experience I know that it is one of the greatest challenges. For it is not enough to create an unmistakable face with a few special hallmarks. Every one of them has to reflect the mechanical ingenuity of the timepiece and as a whole they should live up to the spiritual legacy of a brand that was created almost 170 years ago to build the world’s best watches.
Let me give you a current example: the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar, launched earlier this year. Its dial design is characterised by Arabic numerals, a railway-track minute scale, gold and blued hands, the power-reserve indicator with the inscriptions “AUF” and “AB” as well as four round subsidiary dials in a clover-leaf configuration. It is the classic design mantra of the 1815 watch family that has its roots in A. Lange & Söhne’s grand pocket watch tradition.
But connoisseurs do not even need to see the logotype on the dial to realise that they are looking at an A. Lange & Söhne watch. A glance at the L101.1 manufacture calibre through the sapphire-crystal caseback would suffice. Apart from the three-quarter plate, details like the hand-engraved balance cock, the classic screw balance, or the gold chatons secured by thermally blued screws are ample evidence.
The engraving on the balance cock is the artisanal fingerprint that makes each Lange watch one of a kind. The small part is embellished, free-hand, with a floral pattern by a master engraver. A whiplash spring with a lateral micrometre screw is another typical feature of a Lange movement. It is used to perform precision beat adjustments.
Stopping elapsed or lap times is handled highly precisely in the classic manner with two column wheels. Decorated with linear graining, the levers of the chronograph mechanism are reminiscent of the finissage that once graced highly complicated pocket watch movements.
During the final assembly procedure, the first-pass fixture screws are replaced with flawless, thermally blued screws. Their characteristic hue is achieved by slowly heating them to about 300 degrees Celsius. As accents that counterpoint the polished gold chatons and the ruby-red jewels embedded in them, they stand out as eye-catchers on the German silver plates and bridges. All details together create the desired harmonious, yet unique overall picture.