On 1 October 2001, the watchmaking world lost a visionary, great leader and motivator. Watch collectors worldwide lost an icon of the industry, and I lost a friend.
I first became acquainted with Blümlein, nobody called him Günter, when he asked to meet me sometime in late 1995 or early 1996. I had, on my own, created a website dedicated to providing information on the A. Lange & Söhne brand, then in its infancy did not yet have its own website. The meeting began a very special relationship. One of mutual respect.
I remember him as a true visionary. He had the vision and courage to undertake to rebuild the A. Lange & Sohne brand from its ashes. Not only was the manufacturing to be restarted after a 50 year lapse, but it was to be in a little village in the former East Germany, where after the 50 year rule under the Socialist regime, had probably lost the concept of luxury.
I remember him as a great leader. Motivating, inspiring. Not only to his staff, but also to his customers, media and the like. I too managed to get a glimpse of greatness, as I stood on the shoulders of giants. I count his shoulders as one of those true giants.
I remember him as a customer focussed manager. He was always focussed on input from the customer. He asked for views, listened, and listened some more. And took the valid points to implement.
I remember him as a pillar of strength. Of integrity, of being upright, and doing the right thing.
I remember him as a perfectionist. Nothing was too small for his attention. But more remarkable was his inate ability to be able to zoom into the minute details while at the same time keeping the big picture in mind. He was a genius.
I remember as a people person. He knew when to be tough, when to be kind, when to be gentle and when to be firm. He was a master at balancing these, and made everybody comfortable.
I remember him as a real gentleman. I remember the occassion during a dinner after a hard day at the BaselWorld, when he asked the ladies for permission for the gentlemen to remove their jackets before settling down to eat.
I remember Blümlein, my friend, may your soul Rest in Peace.
This note was first written on the passing of the Günter Blümlein in October 1, 2001. And re-published in the A. Lange & Söhne In-house magazine on the 10th Anniversary of his death. We also published an In Memoriam article in 2016. Click here.