Never stand still: In memory of Walter Lange

Walter Lange (1924-2017)
Walter Lange (1924-2017)


Januar 18, 2017

by Christian Frosch


Walter Lange, great-grandson of the legendary watchpioneer Ferdinand Adolph Lange had a life, you have to describe as vivid and remarkable.


During World War II he had to endure horrible hours. After the war, we witnessed the expropriation of his family’s watchmaking business in Glashütte. Thereinafter, the company, being famous to build finest timepieces on a global scale, was ordered to produce cheap Quartz timepieces. Both incidences Walter Lange described later as very painful for him. However, he did not give up. One of his most famous quotes is: "There's something one should expect not only of a watch, but also of oneself: Never stand still."


After the German reunification, at the age of 66, accompanied by the Swiss Günter Blümlein, he restablished with incredible passion and immense energy his family’s manufacture business. A. Lange & Söhne became a world leading watch brand once again. He once said: „I am the bridge to our past“. The Lange employees addressed him until the very end as „boss“ although he were less and less present in the manufacture business. 

Glashütte and the German watch industry lose with Walter Lange an outstanding personality. He personifies German history, craftmanship and passion in a very special manner. He leaves the German watch industry a rebirth. Walter Lange’s life teaches us what is possible if genius, tradition and intention unify themselves in one person. Yesterday, Walter Lange died at the age of 92. 


The picture above shows Walter Lange in October 2016 at one of his last public appearences at the occasion of the watch exhibition Munichtime visiting the stand of A. Lange & Söhne. In the foreground there is a bust of his great-grandfather Ferdinand Adolph Lange. Photo copyright: Men’s Individual Fashion. 


Christine Fröhlich contributed research.