A. Lange & Söhne Watches Review
If you want to buy a watch that really impresses people, buy one with a name that’s difficult for everyone to pronounce. That’s certainly the case with A. Lange & Söhne watches, as the German name, pronounced “ah LAHNG-eh unt SURN-neh” is a bit awkward for most of the people in the English speaking world.
That said, their watches are things of beauty, and offer exceptional build quality and design – at a price, of course. Precision and engineering, combined with precious metals, leads to a watch that will likely be beyond the price of most budgets.
Still, the company is among the leaders in watch design, offering elaborate mechanical complications and doing all of this outside of Switzerland. These timepieces are definitely German in design and construction, so if you’re looking for something that’s amazing and not the same old Swiss watches that everyone else is wearing, this brand might be a good fit for you.
Read on for the full A. Lange & Söhne watches review.
The build quality is exceptional; the watches are all hand made in Germany, and the company was founded in 1845. They went away for a while after World War II, but returned to making high quality watches in the early 1990s.
All models feature mechanical movements, and cases made from white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, or platinum. Water resistance is modest; most models offer about 30 meters of water resistance. Then again, these watches aren’t made for diving. These are watches for business or fashion use, and for such timepieces, 30 meters is more than adequate.
Watch faces are protected by rock-hard sapphire crystal, which is exceptionally resistant to cracking, chipping, or scratching.
The movements are designed and manufactured in-house at their factory in Glashütte, Germany. Unlike many Swiss manufacturers who use brass for their movements, this company largely uses an alloy known as “German silver,” which consists of copper, nickel, and zinc, and oddly enough, no silver at all.
Models feature both manually wound and fully automatic movements. On occasion, the company has been known to make watches with quartz movements, but these are the exception, rather than the rule.
If you like innovation and elaborate complications, you’ll love the watches from A. Lange & Söhne. They specialize in watches with complications, which include pieces with a tourbillon, or a perpetual calendar, or moon phases, or annual calendar. They make models with chronograph features as well as a date (the “Dateograph”) and even the occasional piece that displays the time only. That one isn’t for everyone, but their time-only watches are quite attractive, and for many wearers, the time of day is the only information they seek from a wristwatch.
The styling is businesslike and professional. You’re going to find watches with gold or platinum cases and a relatively austere look to them that makes them suitable for business or evening wear. You’re not going to find unusual case designs, models that are overly decorated with gemstones, or bright, garish colors.
Most of the lineup includes timepieces with cases in the range of about 40mm – not to0 large, and not too small.
The nice thing about the styling is that they’re not likely to go out of style anytime soon. These watches will last for decades and will likely appear to be just as “in style” 40 years from now as they are today.
The care and maintenance is a bit more complicated than for most timepieces. These watches are complicated and hand crafted, and every few years, you’ll need to send the watch back to the factory to have it serviced.
This will involve disassembling the watch, giving it a thorough cleaning, and inspecting it for worn or damaged parts. Such parts will be replaced, and then the watch will be cleaned again and they’ll replace the strap before sending it back to you, good as new.
This isn’t a cheap process; you’ll likely pay some $1500 or so for the servicing. Still, this is part of the cost of owning one of the world’s best-engineered timepieces.
The warranty offered with the purchase is the industry standard – two years. This will cover any defects in parts or craftsmanship. When you purchase, you’ll receive an owner’s log, and this log is intended to stay with the watch for life, keeping track of who owns it, and when and where it was serviced.
These watches are well built and thoroughly tested at the factory, so the likelihood of an actual factory defect is quite small.
The pricing is as you might expect – they’re expensive, and sometimes outrageously so. You can expect to pay upwards of $20,000 or so for any of the company’s models and those with more elaborate complications, such as those with perpetual calendars or a tourbillon can run well into six figures.
Keep in mind that these watches are all handmade and all make use of precious metals. These are watches that are designed to run well for a lifetime.
As with many luxury brands, A. Lange & Söhne watches are sold only through official company-owned boutiques and authorized retailers. They’re not common; there are perhaps only a dozen or so in the United States.
The retailers are limited in order to keep a strong brand identity and to keep the brand from becoming “diluted.” This also keeps the selling prices of the watches where the company would like to have them, as few luxury brands are interested in seeing their products sold at a discount.
It is possible, however, to buy A. Lange & Söhne watches from third party sellers at sites such as Amazon. These watches are sold with a seller’s warranty, rather than one from the manufacturer. By buying from a reputable third party seller, it’s possible to buy A. Lange & Söhne watches at a substantial discount off of the suggested retail price.
This brand isn’t for everyone. They’re built to last. They have clever engineering and solid design. They’re also quite expensive.
But if you want a watch that looks great, works well and will function for years as a conversation piece, if only because it’s both amazing and non-Swiss, then A. Lange & Söhne watches may be exactly what you need.