Sixty-six is not an age where one would traditionally think of starting a business, but that’s exactly what Walter Lange did. As the great grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, founder of A Lange & Söhne, it’s easy to surmise that he probably felt a certain responsibility to at least try. The manufacture had been dormant for 40 years, as operations were halted first by the Cold War, and then by the division of Germany into East and West. It was only after reunification that Lange entertained the idea of reviving the brand.
In 1990, Lange, together with Günter Blümlein, worked out a plan to re-establish the brand. “We didn’t have much at that point,” he once recalled. “We had no watches that we could build and sell; we had no employees, no building and no machines. All we had was the vision of once again crafting the world’s best watches in Glashütte.” Then, in 1994, the company launched four watches and the rest is history.
Walter Lange passed away on January 17, 2017, at the age of 92. Before falling ill, he was still very much a part of the brand as an ambassador and a consultant—but perhaps, he described it best when he said: “I am the bridge to our past.”