It was Ferdinand Adolph Lange, master watchmaker and founder of A. Lange & SÃ¶hne, who once said: â€œThe entire pursuit of a watchmaker should be the perfection of each and every watch.â€ It is this very principle that continues to guide the Saxonian luxury watchmaker today in its unceasing pursuit for perfect precision â€“ a quest that has resulted in the creation of numerous exquisite timepieces, coveted by discerning watch collectors the world over, as well as innovations that include the patented stop-seconds mechanism for the tourbillon that marked the first time a watch could be accurately set using this complication.
â€œThe clients that we cater to are well versed with the very best things in life. Because of this, details really matter to them â€“ as they do to us,â€ says Gaetan Guillosson, Managing Director for A. Lange & SÃ¶hne Asia Pacific. â€œSo, not only do we need to be acutely aware of the technical aspects of the watches we create, but also of the clientâ€™s expectations for these watches, how they will use them and what they truly represent to them because, a lot of the times, it is so much more than just a watch.â€
As for what convinced him to sign on with the revered GlashÃ¼tte-based watchmaker in the first place, Guillosson explains: â€œI started my career as a brand manager in Alfred Dunhill, where I honed my appreciation for all things to do with fine craftsmanship and heritage. Once the opportunity to join A Lange & SÃ¶hne came along, it was clear that one cannot say no to one of the most revered horological brands in the industry. That was over a decade ago. Prior to my current position, I managed the markets in Western Europe and the North Americas. For me, every day offers a new learning experience, which, in turn, keeps me energised.â€
Currently based in Hong Kong, Guillosson is quick to share his observations on A Lange & SÃ¶hneâ€™s increasing popularity in South-East Asia. â€œSingapore has a mature community of collectors and influencers who have a sophisticated knowledge of horology. It was also one of the very first markets that A Lange & SÃ¶hne entered after it was re-established in 1994, and serves as a key hub for our presence in South-East Asia. In the past decade, however, we have noticed a significant increase in collectors around the region, such as in Malaysia and Thailand, and our aim is to further develop these growing markets.â€
Asked which markets are currently flourishing for the brand, Guillosson reveals: â€œWe have a very limited production and, therefore, are not pushing into any specific markets. Most of the time, we canâ€™t even fulfil the demand from collectors because our main focus is in maintaining the balance of distribution within the region. It is definitely a difficult thing to practice, but we have a very long-term strategyâ€¦ and this is what I feel differentiates us from our competitors, which is especially important in this fast-changing industry.
â€œFrom a product development perspective, we are not a brand that follows trends. Even in the face of changing markets, the watches we create are always in line with our brand DNA. This encompasses everything, from our exquisite in-house complications, which are strictly in limited production, to our unwavering loyalty to craftsmanship and quality. This is a clear stance that comes directly from our CEO, Wilhelm Schmid.â€
According to Guillosson, the feedback from business partners and collectors on the brandâ€™s fascinating and diverse repertoire of timepieces has been very positive. â€œBesides the high complications and limited edition pieces that are in great demand, the one novelty that clearly stands out is the Lange 1 Moon Phase that was released in 2016. It might look like just any other timepiece with a moonphase indicator, but the technical prowess that went to its creation serves as a testament to the many fine details that go into the development of all our watches.â€
Another great example pointed out by Guillosson would be the new Tourbograph Perpetual â€œPour Le MÃ©riteâ€ that was revealed earlier this year in Geneva during SIHH. Limited to 50 pieces, it is the fifth addition to the exquisite collection that pays tribute to the art of classic watchmaking and features a total of five complex mechanisms: a fusÃ©e-and-chain transmission, tourbillon, chronograph, rattrapante function and perpetual calendar.
â€œThe Tourbograph Perpetual â€œPour Le MÃ©riteâ€ is truly an exceptional timepiece; had it been produced by any other brand, it would have been categorised as a â€˜Grand Complicationâ€™. But at A. Lange & SÃ¶hne, this level of peerless quality applies to all our models. Year after year, we have continually strived to maintain this standard and have not deviated ever since the late Walter Lange re-founded the company in 1994.â€