On this day, January 2017, the life was momentarily snuffed out of A. Lange & Söhne, when one of the co-founders of Lange Uhren GmbH passed away after a short illness. It was the second day of that year’s SIHH, and the mood at the Lange booth was sombre, and sad as we mourned the passing of a giant. Today, on the third anniversary, we celebrate the life of Walter Lange, with some photographs.
Walter Lange was the great-great-grandson of Ferdinand A. Lange. He was instrumental in the rebirth of the brand, when he worked tirelessly with Günter Blümlein in 1990, to make A. Lange & Söhne what it is today. His memory will forever be cherished by those who knew him, and loved him.
“He was well loved by all who knew him. For collectors, who often regarded him as the superstar, which he was in the revival of the company whose watches we so loved, he acted the supreme statesman. Always regal, always appropriately dressed. And always willing to hand over his Tourbillon Pour le Mérite No 1/150 in yellow gold to anyone who fancies to take a closer look.”
“He spoke no English, and I spoke no German, but somehow, we managed to communicate and understand each other, often with one of the staff acting as translator, but many times without. We shared a kind of a special bond.”
At a Lange Owners Group visit to Glashütte in February 2009. The occasion marks the collection of the LOG Cabaret Special Edition. And as usual on LOG meetings in the hometown, I passed the hat around, and collectively the group contributed to fund a special trip for a Lange apprentice to visit a manufacture Switzerland,to broaden his appreciation of his craft. Lange matches dollar for dollar, and tops up the rest to accomplish this.
Walter was always seen in a joyous mood, almost always invariably when meeting collectors. And was always energetic. On one occasion I was with him in San Francisco for the opening of Shreve & Co as the first Authorized Dealer in the West Coast. The year was 2002, and I remember Walter, then a spritely 78 year old, could walk up the steep slopes of San Francisco faster than most of us half his age!
His memory lives within us. He will be remembered for all that he was to the Lange Family, as he loved to call us. And even as I type this, 3 years after his passing, I feel a deep sadness, and shed a tear. May his gentle soul rest in peace.