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THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
Lots 276 - 284
Christie's are proud to offer one of the most attractive private collections of modern wristwatches signed by the celebrated manufacture A. Lange & Söhne to appear in public in recent years. Assembled by a passionate collector of these legendary watches during the last decade, the selection includes mainly limited editions, notably one of the very first models introduced after the company's re-launch in 1994, the celebrated tourbillon "Pour le Mérite" (lot 281) but also the much sought after Lange 1 Tourbillon (lot 282) and the Luna Mundi set (lot 280).
In like new condition and mostly sold with their certificates and boxes, these watches are highly coveted trophies in today's collectors market.
A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte bei Dresden
For over 150 years, watches made by A. Lange & Söhne were and still are among the most desirable timepieces in the world. The success story of the celebrated dynasty started with Ferdinand Adolph Lange, born in Dresden on 18 February 1815. After the divorce of his parents, he found a new home with a merchant family that gave the intelligent young man a good education. At the age of 15, while he was still attending the polytechnic school in Dresden, he began training as an apprentice with the celebrated master watchmaker J. C. Friedrich Söhne.
In 1835, Adolph Lange completed his apprenticeship with honours and continued as Gutkäs' employee for two more years before deepening his skills as a journeyman, working with Europe's most respected chronometer makers, notably Winnerl in Paris. After his return to Dresden in 1841, Lange became a co-owner of and the driving force behind Gutkäs' manufactory, constructing amongst others the celebrated five-minute clock in Dresden's Semper Opera.
Besides his dedication to horological perfection, Adolph Lange was a person of uncommon social sensitivity. The growing level of destitution in the Ore Mountains ultimately urged him to leave his privileged position in Dresden; in 1845, armed with numerous visions and his journey- and workbook, he set out for the poverty-stricken town of Glashütte in order to establish the Saxon precision watchmaking industry. In December 1845, with the financial help of the Saxon government, Lange started his own manufacture with his friend Adolf Schneider and fifteen apprentices, followed by A. Lange & Söhne in association with his sons Richard and Friedrich Emil in 1868.
The demand for Lange's pocket watches grew with increasing economic prosperity and the company flourished. In 1895, a direct telephone link to the Berlin Observatory was installed to get accurate time signals for the production of chronometers. On 8 May 1945, the last day of the World War II, Lange's main production building was destroyed and shortly after its reconstruction, the firm was expropriated by the East German Socialist government and the production was seized.
When Germany was reunited in 1990, Walter Lange, the great-grandson of Adolph Lange, returned to Glashütte to re-establish the family's watchmaking heritage. On 7 December 1990, precisely 145 years after his great-grandfather had founded the company, the production was re-launched under the new name, Lange Uhren GmbH, followed by the re-registration of the legendary brand name "A. Lange & Söhne".
Only four years later, Walter Lange proudly presented the first Lange watches of the new era: the Lange 1, the Tourbillon "Pour le Mérite", the Saxonia and the Arkade. Fitted with ingenious and useful mechanical inventions such as the patented oversized date or the patented zero reset mechanism and masterfully finished three quarter plate movements, watches made by "A. Lange & Söhne" are once again paragons of Saxon's watchmaking skills.