Lange & Söhne, the renowned luxury German watch brand, finally returned to its former headquarters in Glasshütte, Saxony, Germany on Dec. 7, 2001.
The building—which contains the business’s workshops and a residence—was opened in 1873 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange, founder of both the company and the precision watchmaking industry of Saxony. Lange & Söhne pocket watches were among the most coveted in the world for 100 years. The building was partially destroyed by bombs in 1945 and was taken over by the Communist East German government in 1948 after the post-war division of Germany.
Walter Lange, Ferdinand’s grandson, fled to the West that same year. After Germany’s reunification in 1990, he reregistered the business in the Dresden commercial register and reestablished the business in Saxony. He and the late Günter Blümlein, joint managing directors of Lange Uhren GmbH, were instrumental in the revival of the luxury watch house.
In the wake of Germany’s reunification, the Lange watch company operated in another building in Glasshütte while Lange tried for 10 years to overcome the various legal impediments to reacquiring the family business’s old headquarters. He finally succeeded in April 2000. The next year was spent renovating and restoring the building, reportedly at a cost of about $4.1 million. The once-and-again home of Lange watches was formally dedicated and reopened in Glasshütte on Dec. 7, 2001, 156 years to the day after Ferdinand A. Länge founded the company. 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 as well as the company’s own watchmaking school.
Guests at the ceremony included the firm’s 260-plus employees, members of state and city government, and authorized watch dealers. The adjoining plaza was formally dedicated as the Ferdinand Adolph Lange Platz by Glasshütte’s mayor.
Owned by the Richemont Group, Lange & Söhne annually produces more than 3,000 watches that retail for $7,000-$185,000. The company’s products are sold by fine jewelers in some 20 nations including the United States.