I've had the pleasure to have a bit of an inside view to luxury German watch maker A. Lange & Sohne. Not only have I physically been there, but I get materials directly from them rather frequently. Having this inside view has given me the ability to personally appreciate the brand. Meaning I don't hold them in high regard simply because someone else has told me I should. I know that the quality of their designs, mechanics, and workmanship is very high, but because I have been able to make this determination myself. Then something interesting happened, I started seeing title after title being placed on the company that indicated other people felt this way too.
Germany has a lot of luxury item makers - cars and watches just being a few of them. A great number of them are very impressive. What is amazing is that time and time again, out of all these brands, A. Lange & Sohne keeps being called the best German luxury brand. And this title is most often given to them by fellow Germans. While I won't go into a list of who is giving them such proud titles, we are talking about watch magazines to business publications.
Like I said, the title that keeps getting bestowed upon them is not just "best German luxury watch maker," but "best German luxury brand." This means that people are not only valuing their watches, but the overall company and the values that they represent and preserve. Germans are fiercely protective of the "Teutonic way." A term I just made up to define the value of careful, lengthy, and exhaustive engineering and testing. Meaning that A. Lange & Sohne has the opportunity to carefully consider each product they want to product, and then spend oodles of time and effort on it. Few companies can afford to do this. When something is released (at last), you know it is perfect, because you know A. Lange & Sohne makes sure it is perfect. The trade off is of course the high expense for the goods. Which is implied by the "luxury" part of the title. It isn't that no other German brand places this emphasis on the valued German work ethic principles, it is that A. Lange & Sohne represents the practice of these principles yielding the most fantastic result - the watches.
It makes me glad to see that others, especially those not as well acquainted as the watch world as I, apply these flattering, and correct titles to a brand that surely does work hard to enjoy such a status. I would go so far as to use A. Lange & Sohne as a gold standard of German luxury brands, measuring other companies to their level of standards, efficiency, and output. What I think is even more interesting is that while A. Lange & Sohne definitely represents luxury pricing among watch makers (average cost of a watch is 40,000 Euros, going up to several hundred thousand euros), they are certainly not the most expensive luxury watch brand, especially among other brands that can't match their production quality or processes. For me, the brand will represent desirable watches for not only how the watches look and what they do, but also for everything that goes into the watches - from start to finish. Pictured above is one of A. Lange & Sohne's new for 2009 Zeitwerk timepieces.
By Ariel Adams