A. Lange & Söhne Expands in America

The German luxury watch brand A. Lange & Söhne, which until now has been available only at Cellini Jewelers in New York City, is establishing a sales network in North America. The company also has opened its first U.S. office.

Beginning Oct. 1, Lange’s North American retail network will include Shreve & Co, in San Francisco; Traditional Jewelers, Newport Beach, Calif.; E. Adler & Sons, New Orleans; Alpha Omega, Boston; and Chateau d’Ivoire, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In support of this market expansion, manufacturer Lange & Co. is recruiting more watchmakers. The company, located in Glashütte, Germany, presently has 28 trainees, and by year’s end plans to increase its personnel from 284 to 300 employees. Walter Lange, grandson of the founder, and chief executive officer Hartmut Knothe will travel to each city in the new North American network to launch their newly appointed dealers. Joining the Lange Team is watch industry veteran Marcia Mazzocchi, who is the new president of Lange Uhren USA, based in Malibu, Calif. Accompanying them will be a team of marketing experts from Glashütte; a master watchmaker and an engraver who will demonstrate their craftsmanship in assembling and engraving a Lange & Söhne timepiece; and a traveling roadshow that will include a wealth of history and materials about the Lange & Söhne brand.

The Lange tour will be in Montreal (Château d’Ivoire) on Oct. 10; Boston (Alpha Omega, Cambridge) on Oct. 16; New York (Cellini Jewelers) on Oct. 23; New Orleans (E. Adler & Sons) on Nov. 1; Newport Beach (Traditional Jewelers) on Nov. 13; and San Francisco (Shreve & Co.) on Nov. 19.

The watchmaking industry in Glashütte was started in 1845 by German master watchmaker Ferdinand A. Lange, whose son founded Lange & Söhne there in 1873. For 100 years, Lange & Söhne pocket watches were among the most coveted in the world. The company’s building was partially destroyed by bombs at the end of World War II, and then taken over by the Communist East German government in 1948 following the post-war division of Germany. That same year, Walter Lange, the founder’s grandson, fled to the West. After Germany’s reunification in 1990, he re-established the business as Lange & Co. In December 2001, after a year of renovation costing some $4 million, Lange & Co. formally dedicated and reopened the original company headquarters in Glashütte. The restored facility, with 1,600 square meters of production space, is one of three production sites for Lange & Söhne. It also contains after-sales service, finishing and engraving departments, and the company’s own watchmaking school.

The Richemont Group owns 90% of the company, with Walter Lange holding the other 10%. Lange & Co. manufactures several thousand gold and platinum watches annually, in 14 lines, each with an exclusive Lange movement. The watches retail for between approximately $7,000 and $185,000 and are sold by fine jewelers in some 20 nations. Lange & Co. is projecting a double-digit sales increase for this year.