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Talking Cars (and watches) with Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne, at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

Talking Cars (and watches) with Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne, at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

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If you take a gander at the cars on display, what grabbed you and why? And what characterizes a triumphant car for you?

Well, I am always rather attracted to cars like the Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 Super Sport and the 6C 1750 Gran Sport on display here, from between the wars. That era of cars is very special to me. I discover the contrast of such beautiful cars being implicit a particularly shaky time for Europe so striking. Other than that, the Rolls Royce 20 H.P. is simply beautiful as well, however I also really like the Lancia Lambda. It has a particularly pleasant look to it, it’s not awesome and you can see it has been utilized well.

What makes a car a champ to me is that it has to be effective in the work it was worked to do. And I always like the idea of a giant slayer. David that takes on Goliath in a race. It takes something rather special to stand out between the special cars on display here. Clearly, the set of experiences, provenance and story matter a great deal.

What does it mean for A. Lange & Söhne to interface with such an occasion as Concorso d’Eleganza and to connect with classic cars in general?

Basically, it isn’t about the cars themselves, but instead what they stand for, what they address. Similarly as with mechanical watches, they have outlasted their utilization. A vintage car doesn’t drive nearly as well or isn’t nearly as safe as an advanced car, however that isn’t what it is about. It is about the craftsmanship all finished, the hand-constructed bodies, the transformation in styling.

Focusing on watches, what is the greatest challenge for A. Lange & Söhne to sustain as a brand?

One of the greatest challenges for us as a brand is to explain the why, what and what about our brand. In the event that we prevail in that, we have an association for the long haul with authorities. Our brand awareness isn’t that large, yet a gatherer who is educated enough thinks about us. We want to keep a smidgen of a cryptic profile, we would prefer not to be completely uncovered. A gatherer once referenced it as “stealth wealth” and that sort of stayed with me.

Other than that, we have to be careful with our markets and watch out for new ones. We have to recollect that the vast majority of our representatives live and work in Glashütte, yet about 99,9% of our customers live outside of Glashütte. Complacency is the greatest threat, as you have to stay grounded with what you’re known for however push boundaries and stay critical. Try not to become complacent. Be not quite the same as an ideal opportunity to time, thus the Zeitwerk. A statement piece at the time got with a ton of suspicion. Ten years later it is as yet a statement piece, however individuals have come to embrace it as a genuine A. Lange & Söhne.

You notice gatherers, typically an authority is, and I am generalizing somewhat here, a man and of a certain age. What do you see as a typical A. Lange & Söhne collector?

A gatherer that is keen on our brand is all around passed the stage of possessing mainstream extravagance watches, anyway great and valuable they may be. Something we are challenging ourselves with is to reach out to a more youthful generation of gatherers. It isn’t such a great amount about tradition for them, they relate to that far less.

We have to emphasize various things, for instance, the fact that our manufacture is completely CO2 neutral as we attempt to diminish our carbon impression as much as conceivable. We have to change our communication to appeal to the new generation of authorities. The more youthful generations watch far less TV, don’t read magazines or papers anymore so we have to welcome them into the A. Lange & Söhne world in another way.

What drives you, challenges you on a personal level about A. Lange & Söhne?

Reaching out to that more youthful generation, to interface with youngsters actually motivates me a great deal. I’m a father of two young men, 19 and 20 years old, so I live through that challenge from one day to another. Not that I am not associated with them, but rather they see the world so not quite the same as how we do. We don’t have to do any dramatic changes in the brand or the item, everything reduces to communication and other strategic topics.

What can we expect in the (near) future from A. Lange & Söhne?

(Laughs) That is an inquiry I get posed to a ton, yet I can’t really answer. Obviously, I won’t mention to you what we will come up with. All I can say is to expect surprises!

Some of the cars displayed at the 2019 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

And obviously the beautiful Lange 1 Time Zone 25th Anniversary