Walter Lange is a man of conviction. Born in 1924 in Dresden, he trained as a watchmaker in Glashütte, Germany, and in Karlstejn in the Czech Republic.
He seemed destined to take the reins of Lange Uhren GmBH, the family business which his great-grandfather had founded in 1845, already famed throughout the world for its pocket watches.
Walter, his father and uncles were already in the process of setting up production of the wristwatches that would take over from the brand's traditional timepieces.
The second world war would change all that. On the last day of conflict, the factory was bombed, then expropriated three years later under the East German regime.
It wasn't until 1990 and the fall of the Berlin Wall that A. Lange & Söhne returned to life, resurrected by Walter Lange and his partner Günter Blümlein. Did he nurture any doubts as to the success of the brand, after a forty-year hiatus? "Not for a single second," he replies.
Walter Lange was right not to doubt. From the moment the Lange 1 was launched in 1994, the brand emerged as the symbol of Saxon Fine Watchmaking, at the same time giving new impetus to Glashütte which was restored to its rightful place at the centre of German watchmaking. Had Walter Lange not shown such passion, doubtless none of this would have happened.
Jean-Marc Wiederrecht has taken contemporary watchmaking into new terrain; one that can only be described as the poetry of time. He was the unsung hero, working behind the scenes to design and produce complicated movements for prestigious names that were often happy to take credit for his talent. Not so today.
Jean-Marc Wiederrecht now puts his name to movements for the likes of Hermès, Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels. He engineers each one with characteristic originality, as confirmed by his award for best watchmaker at the 2007 Grand Prix de Genève.
A watchmaker by training, born in 1950, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht began his career with Châtelain at the height of the quartz crisis. In 1978 he decided to set up on his own and specialise in assembling extra-thin movements.
Ten years later, he developed his first retrograde perpetual calendar for Harry Winston. Then in 2005 he entered the world of poetic complications, a concept of special importance to Van Cleef & Arpels whose movements he masterminds.
Jean-Marc Wiederrecht has produced countless extraordinary timepieces and registered innumerable patents. He is the aesthete of watchmaking, a man with a gift for presenting complexity in disconcertingly simple guise. To say that he has talent is an understatement.
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