It’s a somber day here at Palexpo on day two of SIHH 2017. Word on the floor — and confirmed by Anthony de Haas, director of product development at the maison — is that the man who gave life anew to A. Lange & Söhne in 1990 has just breathed his last.

The story of how A. Lange & Söhne was revived for the modern era is well known, as is its protagonist, Walter Lange, great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange.

He was a man who in effect stood as the bridge between the old A. Lange & Söhne before the war, and its modern incarnation, which came back into existence in the early ’90s.

If not for Walter Lange, the great tradition of Glashütte would have been lost in the mists of time, and all the wondrous pieces from A. Lange & Söhne over the past 23 years, like the Lange 1, Datograph and Zeitwerk, would not have been created. How scary is it to even contemplate such a thought?

Walter Lange’s grandest gift was the persistence and patience that he demonstrated, planning and waiting for the right moment when the ingredients would all come together, before taking a massive risk to restart his family brand.

At the age of 65, when mere mortals are looking to retire, he went back to Glashütte after the Berlin Wall fell, and proceeded to restore the legacy of his great-grandfather’s name. Twenty-three years on from A. Lange & Söhne’s rebirth in 1994, we have much to be grateful for and much reason to hang our heads in respectful silence on this grave day.

The legendary launch of the quartet of watches on 24 October 1994 in the residential palace in Dresden

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