A. Lange & Sohne Factory Trip Part 2: The Luxury German Watch Manufacturing Process

  • Goodrick
  • May 26, 2015
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Mysteries are stuff you can’t solve in your thoughts. Understanding of origin is essential to dispelling an enigma, and also the path to appreciation. You cannot have desire for something don’t really understand. I started my passion for watches unaware of what entered making most watches. True watch appreciation are only able to come whenever you find out what adopts creating watches. It offers a superior the opportunity to assess the top quality in the mainstream, and experience to appear past the dial.

This information is the 2nd a part of my A. Lange & Sohne Germany trip discussion. It’s taken me longer to get at penning this than I’d have preferred, however it has provided me time for you to allows these details ruminate. Within the part I article covering my trip I ended speaking concerning the history of the trademark and explaining the timepiece making region. We will be ready to enter in the heart from the manufacture, taking (a number of)  the mystery from the finish result, and impressing with you what really adopts making the best of German watches.


How If only I possibly could detail exactly what adopts the manufacturing and construction of lovely A. Lange & Sohne watches. Things I have observed, while thorough, seems like basically glimpse in to the entire process. Things I really saw was the main steps and procedures active in the construction, decoration, and set up of watch actions. Understand that the whole process is high complex, regimented, and time intensive. A large number of people is worried within the manufacture of a single watch movement, which is only the movement. Lange is really a movement maker, meaning the relaxation from the watches are created by others to Lange’s specifications. Other parts range from the situation, dial, strap, along with other housing aspects of timepieces. Lange designs and offers detailed specifications to expert companies supplying these necessary parts. For instance, the accessible bracelet on certain Lange watches is provided with a top jewellery maker, and therefore are finer than nearly any watch bracelet you’ll ever see or put on.  Firms that make exactly what adopts a wrist watch are recognized to be “up and down integrated,” a standing only possible with 1000’s upon 1000’s of employees (i.e. The Piece of fabric Group). With more than 500 employees, A. Lange & Sohne stays as to the it will best.

Lange puts its efforts into stellar watch movement design and detailed manufacturing. Can you think that their watches average 6 -14 several weeks to create? I proven fact that I keep rattling off and away to people because it is difficult to believe myself. I’m speaking about every individual watch! Fundamental watch making obviously does not require much effort, however that is not the purpose. The concept here’s to lovingly caress each watch with a whole lot of attention and refinement. Testing, retesting, and evaluating before any watch is handed to a person. This is exactly what luxury watch making is about. Obsessed focus on detail only using the very best methods, regardless of cost. The effect can result in how you feel a household heirloom, this is exactly what you pass lower with other decades. There’s not other activities such as this on the planet, a minimum of not so many. Then when you discuss luxury German watches you are not just speaking in regards to a “valuable brand” or perhaps a wealthy helping of gold and diamonds, you’re speaking about how exactly timepieces are created – which is an essential point to get away from this short article.


The actions all begin with base materials. That materials are mostly an alloy known as German Silver, which doesn’t really contain any silver. The alloy is a mixture of nickel, copper, and zinc. It’s preferred to be durable while workable, and since it oxidizes nicely having a slight yellow tint. The German Silver involves Lange in round plates or little rectangles, just about everything is dependant on coming initially from from all of these plates. If another materials are necessary for the movement (for example gold) it too is available in some base plate form if it’s to become machined in the Lange Uhren.


Situated in the manufacture are various machines that actually work around the plates. One particular machine may be the CNC (Computer Number Control) device. This huge machine accounts for using the metal plates and making the famous 3/4 German watch movement plates. The device bathes the plates inside a mineral oil while drilling and cutting them with different pre-designed design. That programming is necessary to the whole process. Computer and hands attracted designs are inflated and thoroughly looked at by measurement machines. Once the dimension is perfect, the movement designs are designed in to the CNC machines to become cut on in to the German Silver plates. The machines possess a tolerance of just 4 microns. Diversions aren’t acceptable, and rarely experienced. The entire process of making the movement plates is all about as calculated and time intensive as you may expect. The device shops seem like a mix between an optician’s lab as well as an autoshop, but ultra neat and highly functional. Plenty of whitened, and also the hum of costly machinery using the sweet scent of lubricating oil. No whitened jackets at this time, you ought to get further in to the process for your.

As the CNC machines focus on large pieces like the movement place with drills and alike instruments, how about the littlest of small pieces which go right into a watch movement? Cut by lasers? No, not necessarily – though some watch hands are laser cut. Here a much better technologies are used, one which I had not even heard about before. It’s known as “wire erosion” and the operation is quite awesome. Essentially, the wire erosion machine takes spools of ultra thin copper wire and is applicable electricity towards the wire to produce an ultra-hot spark. That spark is exactly what cuts the metal plates which are put in the device inducing the development of small watch movement components that appear nearly impossible to create. When the wire is heated, it’s oxidized and should be recycled. The device uses small rectangular metal plates, which are stacked. Each run from the machine can process 25 approximately plates. You can observe the device functioning within the images. It’s the image using the complex searching machinery using the pool of greenish liquid. That liquid is non-conductive oil. It will help keep things awesome and removes debris. It may also help the device look impossible, and also the whole plate cutting process is performed because it is immersed. Beneath the machine image, you can observe a picture of the tray of sample parts that the A. Lange & Sohne relies on the wire erosion machine to produce.

After parts that are small, small, and impossibly fragile searching are created, a long area of the watch making process starts. This is actually the finishing and decoration phase. Where leagues of skilled employees dedicate several weeks of your time to groing through virtually each area of the watch movement in extreme detail. This time around is devoted to sprucing up, engraving, texturing, not to mention quality guaranteeing. The end result is that whenever you have to pay to have an A. Lange & Sohne movement, you’re having to pay for any obsessed focus on detail, beauty, and perfection – along with the period of time active in the process as each component is specifically finished and/or decorate. I requested the Lange people how frequently mistakes were created as the majority of the processes are manual, and the things they’re doing using the imperfect parts. They simply checked out one another after which comfortably mentioned in my experience, “this doesn’t happen.” It had been confident enough a solution which i didn’t have problems thinking it. When your company is rich in decades upon decades of  an art perfected with time (regardless of technology used) you understand where all of the kinks happen to be exercised, and all you’ve got left is really a seamless system.


I had been particularly interested in the decoration element of the timepiece making phase. I viewed shoulders of numerous a staff to think about the work they do, and also the skill apparently involved. Each worker experiences training. for many people it will take many require special educational levels. Many of the true with anybody putting together actions. Work rooms are divided by specific tasks. I joined an area known as “Perlage” for instance,  and perlage sprucing up is they did. Spot the image using the polished movement plates. They’re applied having a perlage polish. As the process might be done completely instantly having a robot, Lange doesn’t get it done this way. “By doing this each bit that’s decorated arrives a little bit different. It’s unique – which is the way you prefer it.” I loved the response. The employees have total possession of the work stations – plus they spend just as much time focusing on small parts because they do maintaining the machines they work onto have them working perfectly. The rooms are neat and comfortable, which is present with see watch makers decorate their very own work stations with mementos, images, along with other person possessions. These actually are houses abroad. Turn-over of these positions is extremely low, along with a position working in A. Lange & Sohne like a watch maker is really a secure and highly regarded as position. Most employees is going to do exactly the same task every day. A number of them are satisfied carrying this out, others gradually move their in place to room leaders or any other areas of the timepiece movement making process.


The rooms in which the watch makers sit is definitely headed with a leader – who sits within the back. The area leader is really a more senior level watch maker who’s there to reply to questions and also over see work. These leaders are not only seen there to make sure that the output is really as planned, but to mentor the greater junior people from the team. You can observe in the pictures the rooms are nicely organized, and also have large open home windows in order to not make anybody feel stuffy. The rooms are stored small purposely (I saw a maximum of 20-30 people per room), regarding enhance the amount of team performance and cohesion as everybody can there be to pay attention to a typical goal. It’s also vital that you communicate what everybody is employed by. One of the things of the ideal was the way the watch making rooms were decorated, with presented pictures of watch actions or pieces there of. As though saying to folks within the room, “remember what you’re employed by, and don’t forget that they’re treasures fit for wall decoration and also to be presented.” It had been a pleasant touch, and that ithought it charming to at least see people proud of their work.

As things have more complex watching makers really start to assemble the actions, you begin to see employees that do everything within microscope. Actually, lots of modern watch making is performed entirely within microscope. I spent a while myself searching with these top quality products and may easily state that they’d be comfy around the eye to invest next day of day searching through them. Constant utilization of a microscope is particularly necessary whenever using small parts in movement set up, too for the engravers (all Lange watches possess a signature decorated balance wheel cock). These tasks require most careful skill and a focus to detail.

After each bit from the movement is completed, decorated, looked over, and re-looked over, the timepiece actions are finally put together. An area is devoted to putting the instances and dials together, whilst others are apparently more associated with the actions. Everything should be perfect prior to it being utilized in your final movement. Putting together a movement may take a different amount of time. Sometimes days simply to place the hundreds of pieces altogether. You can observe precisely how complex the actions are, and ensuring things are placed together so as is really a careful task. When a movement continues to be put together, it is going through testing. And testing in A. Lange & Sohne is definitely an arduous process. These exams are not only, “will the watch work?” They don’t wish to put at watch into market if there’s any difficulty by using it. Testing involves ensuring the timepiece has good rate results (in a variety of positions), in addition to ensuring the movement is free of charge from defects that will make it prematurely fail. Some watches may take several weeks simply to test. A single watch was a remarkably time intensive watch to check. It was A. Lange & Sohne special month lengthy movement watch. The mainspring might be wound and last as long as 30 days. This incredible watch must be fully wound and unwound numerous occasions to make sure quality. Are you able to imagine how lengthy this required? Lange doesn’t worry about how lengthy, they are concerned it will get done correctly. I can not stress enough the truth that such claims aren’t basically drawn from marketing language. This really is really the current sentiment and exercise at the office within the luxury watch manufacture.


It will get a little additional time consuming after testing. The trainer told us when a watch has effectively been examined, the timepiece will be separated, and set together again. This really is to make sure that no area of the watch was broken or exposed to excessive stress throughout the testing. Following the watch is put back together (and examined again), it’s finally ready for market. Though I am certain you will find a lot of steps that i’m missing. When I pointed out before. The normal cycle from begin to marketplace for a A. Lange & Sohne watch is 6-14 several weeks. Thinking about how long and labor allocated to each watch, the cost you’d have to invest in purchasing among the watches seriously begins to seem like a good deal (consider it). Things I have referred to for you is definitely an simple overview – a basically abridged form of what continues.


You need to know this article was written during a period of time beginning right after going to the Lange watch manufacture up to a few several weeks later. Stretching it has assisted me think about everything from the trip, when i walked away quite impressed and inspired immediately after the visit. There’s really no sufficient quantity of words or pictures I possibly could provide to explain how watches are created, not for mainstream watches, and definitely not for luxury watches. I requested easily over 100 questions on that day. Though I’d 100 more, and most likely 1000 interesting points Irrrve never even considered to request but were important. It was only a small snapshot in an enormous amount of craftsmanship that’s truly rare in present day world. It’s easily to complain about why we want such costly watches when the earth has a lot of other issues, but you’d be missing the purpose. Could it be correct that certain luxury merchandise is simply costly with regard to being referred to “an extravagance.Inch This really is not the situation with Lange Uhren. They just produce something in a very good quality which costs a great deal to make. Essentially this is exactly what all real luxury products began out as – a maker of “the very bestInch of something, not only a symbol of status. So yes, it is a fact the average cost of the new A. Lange & Sohne watch is all about 35,000 – 40,000 Pounds. It’s also correct that within this humble watch lover’s opinion, who are able to seriously not really start to consider giving one of these simple watches, I’m able to honestly the cost is completely worthwhile. There are had an chance to actually appreciate a b. Lange & Sohne watch, even when you understand the company, I encourage you to definitely have a close and intimate look next time you’ll be able to handle on of the purely German watches. Observe that should you request anybody in a. Lange & Sohne about how exactly timepieces or made, in order to describe an element from the watch, you’re available for any thorough and detail answer from people enthusiastic about their brand (because they appropriately ought to be).