A. Lange & Söhne Continues to Mourn the Loss of Günter Blümlein

Guenter Bluemlein
Günter Blümlein. Picture: A. Lange & Söhne

The flip of the century was an essential second for conventional watchmaking. It was additionally an essential second for us as a result of we revealed World of Watches for the primary time that 12 months. Seminal watches such because the Harry Winston Opus, the Ulysse Nardin Freak and the Richard Mille RM001 confirmed a brand new spirit in modern watchmaking. It was really springtime on this planet of mechanical watchmaking, whilst A. Lange & Söhne moved again into its historic constructing on December 7, 2001.

However, there was additionally a way that an period was ending. On October 1, 2001, the good Günter Blümlein handed away on the age of 58. That the person who revived A. Lange & Söhne, arguably altering the fortunes of Glashütte within the course of, whereas additionally egging IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre to new heights, died so younger was solely a part of the story. The skilled tragedy was that watchmaking misplaced a real visionary, and there by no means had been too a lot of these.

Günter Blümlein and Walter Lange
Günter Blümlein and Walter Lange in entrance of the Ferdinand Adolph Lange memorial, Glashütte, 1994. Picture: A. Lange & Söhne

Walter Lange, re-founder of A. Lange & Söhne and great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, mentioned it greatest, so we’ll quote him instantly: “With out Günter Blümlein, A. Lange & Söhne wouldn’t exist any extra — and Glashütte wouldn’t have resumed its function because the centre of German precision watchmaking.” The Saxon model is actually the one most carefully related to Blümlein, and he had a particular place for it in his coronary heart. Anthony de Haas, Product Growth Director at A. Lange & Söhne, labored with Blümlein at IWC and, when he was about to depart for greener pastures, Blümlein tried to entice him to remain. He didn’t make him any extravagant provides. As a substitute, he confirmed him a watch that will turn out to be the brand new A. Lange & Söhne, which had not but been revived at the moment.

Curiously, Blümlein was not a watchmaker himself, in contrast to de Haas. He skilled as an engineer however discovered his true calling in gross sales and advertising. His Nuremberg hometown was an industrial hotbed but it surely was within the Black Forest, with the Diehl Group, that Blümlein found watchmaking. Diehl had snapped up watchmaker Junghans within the Nineteen Fifties, and Blümlein finally turned director of selling and gross sales there. This set the stage for his involvement with IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre, within the interval of nice turmoil shaking watchmaking. This was the Nineteen Eighties and it was a distinct time within the commerce. When the Berlin wall crumbled in 1989, Blümlein began in on what would elevate his title to legendary standing: A. Lange & Söhne.

Günter Blümlein, Walter Lange and Hartmut Knothe
Günter Blümlein, Walter Lange and Hartmut Knothe throughout a presentation in Milan, 1995. Picture: A. Lange & Söhne

By 1990, all of the Glashütte watchmaking names had been obliterated by Communism — Blümlein and Walter Lange started to alter that by bringing A. Lange & Söhne again. They had been armed with little greater than goals of one of the best conventional watches that might be made in Germany. In 1994, Blümlein and Lange launched the world to the primary wristwatches from the model. Blümlein had a really explicit imaginative and prescient, one primarily based on the recognition, desirability and shortage of the outdated model’s pocket watches at public sale. “A Lange watch is an entire murals. It combines the watchmaker’s ardour for mechanisms and craftsmanship with the inimitable model of the model and its wealthy historical past,” mentioned Blümlein of the brand new wristwatches from A. Lange & Söhne in that 1994 introduction to the press. There have been solely 4 watches at that launch, and solely 123 had been made, in whole. All bought out in minutes, reportedly.

“As a newcomer, we can not afford the slightest weak spot. Our merchandise should be excellent, right down to the tiniest element,” mentioned Blümlein at that first press convention. A. Lange & Söhne is probably not a newcomer any longer, however the watches stay devoted to these phrases.

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