My recent adventure in Germany was a dream come true for any watch enthusiast. I am the manager at the A Lange & Sohne boutique in Aspen and I share a passion for fine timepieces. My co-worker, Lori, and I were lucky enough to embark on an unforgettable journey. From exploring the charming city of Dresden to witnessing the meticulous craftsmanship in Glashütte, this experience was nothing short of extraordinary. Here’s a detailed account of our trip:
Day 1: Dresden
Upon our arrival in Dresden, we couldn’t resist the temptation to explore this historic city. Matt Sullivan, A. Lange’s North American wholesale director, took us for his traditional 6 am beer and a visit to a quaint, cozy coffee shop. The café, with its cramped tables and aromatic brews, set the stage for our adventure. We later visited the Green Vault, an exhibition of craftsmanship that included a rare Lange wall clock, offering a glimpse of the precision we would encounter in Glashütte later on. In the evening, Aspen A. Lange & Sohne collectors, Warren and Denise Cohen, arrived and we were joined by a city tour guide who walked us through Dresden’s rich history. We enjoyed a delightful dinner, learning about the old and new aspects of the city.
Day 2: Glashütte Unveiled
After a delightful breakfast at our hotel, we embarked on our journey to Glashütte, the heart of A. Lange & Söhne. To our surprise, we were welcomed by A. Lange & Sohne CEO, Mr. Wilhelm Schmid, who graciously spent time with us, expressing his gratitude for our visit. We donned watchmaker coats and booties, ready to explore the Lange 1 department. Here, we learned about the intricate processes that go into creating these exceptional timepieces.
One fascinating aspect we discovered was that watches often return to their manufacture department for service, ensuring that the watchmakers who originally crafted them oversee their care throughout their lifetime. We also had the privilege of witnessing the engraving of balance clocks, an artistry that added a personal touch to each watch.
Moving on, we explored the department responsible for the creation of fusee and chain constant force mechanisms. The chain, composed of 636 parts, is an exclusive feature found in only a handful of A. Lange & Söhne references, showcasing the brand’s commitment to innovation. We also toured the complications department, where these chains were integrated into the movements.
Our tour included a visit to the Zeitwerk department, highlighting the brand’s evolution over the years. We were treated to a lovely lunch and had the opportunity to view rare, retired references that left us in awe. Handwerkskunst pieces like the 1815 and Lange 1 Tourbillons, limited to just 30 pieces globally, left a lasting impression. We also marveled at the chiming Zeitwerk models, including the striking time and decimal minute repeater, making chiming a more straightforward experience.
Upon returning to Dresden, we enjoyed more traditional German cuisine and, of course, more beer at a medieval-themed restaurant, adding a touch of history to our evening.
Day 3: A Deeper Dive into Craftsmanship
With the Cohens’ departure, we said our goodbyes and returned to Glashütte to continue our trip. We explored the finishing and service departments, gaining insight into the meticulous process of case restorations using laser welding. The importance of sending watches back to A. Lange & Söhne for service became evident as we saw the results of non-Lange trained watchmakers’ work in the form of damaged movement plates.
A highlight of the day was our hands-on experience in disassembling a jewel chaton, polishing it, and reinstalling it in a finished movement plate. The meticulous process of polishing the chaton underscored the level of craftsmanship that goes into each watch.
Lunch at the Akademie provided an opportunity to learn more about the complex references and constant force mechanisms used by Lange. It was a deep dive into the world of horology.
As our final activity in Glashütte, we visited the German watchmaking museum, which beautifully chronicled the history of Ferdinand A. Lange and the Glashütte watchmaking industry. We bid farewell to this historic town with photographs at the F.A. Lange monument and Walter Lange statue, taking with us memories of an incredible journey.
As the leading watch store in Aspen, Colorado, we are honored to partner closely with leading brands like A. Lange & Söhne. Reach out today to book an appointment (virtual or in-person) or to inquire about availability!