1.1 What came to your mind on the morning of the conference on October 24, 1994? Can I sleep peacefully the night before?
Yes, I fell asleep. I can’t remember what I was thinking at the time. The days before the show were very busy, after all, our press conference was equivalent to two events. On October 19th and 20th we invited some famous watchmakers to the town of Glashütte and introduced them to our first watches. The press conference was held on October 24th in Dresden Palace.
2. Could you tell us more about the press conference and why was it held at the Dresden Palace?
The Dresden Palace was destroyed during World War II and was still under reconstruction. The site selection was a deliberate decision. We hope that the conference venue will not only present Lange’s tradition, but also hope to symbolize Lange’s transition to a new era. Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes, my great-grandfather’s father-in-law and mentor and watchmaker at the Saxony Palace, lived and worked at the Dresden Palace and was responsible for maintaining the clock tower. It is a pity that we could not display it in the tower where he worked before, because the royal residence there was torched in 1945, when the fashion was not renovated. We need to temporarily set up the desired conference site in such an environment. We found a room on the ground floor that was still under construction, but was half restored, and to this day, I still remember those sooty windows. This was by no means a celebration, but coincided with our pioneering spirit at the time. The carpet spread out for us at least covered the dusty concrete floor in the room. Today, the Dresden Royal Palace shines again, it is hard to imagine the dilapidated situation in the room at that time.
3. Mr. Lange, do you remember the process of the day? What events were held and which guests were invited?
We invited about 50 journalists, including watch experts, business reporters, national daily reporters, and local media representatives. The guests also included local celebrities and the Governor of Saxony. The press conference started at 11:00, and the concierge led the guests to the seat. The actors Augustus the Strong and Countess Cosel played a warm welcome, and the scene was full of Saxony. Historical atmosphere. My partner Günter Blümlein and I addressed each other, and then a speech by Martin Huber, a watch retailer from Munich, said that our friendship began in the mid-1970s when we rebuilt Lang Previously, he held an exhibition of Lange antique pocket watches, which helped maintain the watch industry’s strong interest in the brand.
We unveiled four large posters hanging on the wall one by one, each of which showed a watch on display at the time: LANGE 1, SAXONIA, ARKADE, and TOURBILLON ‘Pour le Mérite’. Later, the reporter could personally watch the physical watches placed on the display table, and the movements were displayed in the showcases. Bruline and I answer a variety of questions for everyone.
4. What will happen after the press conference?
After the press conference, we had lunch at an Italian restaurant on the nearby River Elbe. We then took the reporters to the town of Glashütte and accompanied them to visit our factory.
5. How did you feel that day when you worked hard to revive Lange?
I am certainly very excited and happy. I even left my briefcase in the restaurant for lunch after the show, but fortunately someone found it and returned it to me.
6. Are you worried about unexpected situations during the event, or are you worried that journalists are not responding well to the new series?
Of course, in this environment, there will always be different thoughts, and a moment of doubt can not be avoided. My partner should feel the same way. But we never say these concerns, but we remain optimistic. After all, we have invested all our hard work and huge capital to reinvigorate the company for four full years.
7. Do you remember the day of conversation or getting along with Günter Brulen?
Because I was too excited at the time, my memory of the day was very vague. However, I was very impressed. At that time, Günter Bruline shared an office in the company’s LANGE 1 building with me. We sat at the typewriter and immersed ourselves in our speeches to discuss and coordinate the contents of the two parties’ speeches.
8. What was the atmosphere at the time of the event? What do journalists expect? How do you prepare for the show?
During the time when we started to make new models in Glashütte, we never released any information to the media or retailers. The only price we provided was the approximate selling price, which we estimate should be the ultimate price in the top watch market. Some sporadic information is still inevitably leaked, and this has further stimulated speculation that Lange will soon create a unique watch in the town of Glashütte. So whether we or the press can feel the pressure of wind and rain. We finally got a lot of media exposure, and it was not limited to our watches. The return of Lange clearly indicates that the economy of the Free State of Saxony is growing steadily and will soon regain its former glory. From the early 19th century to the 20th century, small and medium-sized enterprises have been the backbone of Saxony’s economy and a leading company in Germany. This topic is also mentioned in my speech. I also propose that our goal is not just to build the best watch in the world again, but also to be the largest investor in Glashütte. At the time, I also emphasized the superb skills and incomparable investment of our employees, which was extremely important to us and benefited us a lot.
9. Do you remember the guests’ first reaction at that time? How are you feeling?
The moment when the four watches were unveiled was indeed moving. Reporters and guests at the scene immediately gave warm applause and caused a great response from the public. The response exceeded our highest expectations. Our watches are widely reported by the global watch industry, especially LANGE 1 which is “Saxony-specific”.
10. What is the content of the press conference?
As I mentioned earlier, the press conference is divided into different parts. During October 19th and 20th, we welcomed 12 outstanding watchmakers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland in Glashütte to introduce them to our business philosophy, guide the watch factory, and of course show them what we made at the time Watch.
This is the fruit of our four years of hard work. We re-established production resources, refurbished factories, developed technology, recruited professionals and provided advanced courses to help them improve their technology. In addition, we have developed four new watches in a very compact time. The company’s legendary tradition is our ambitious standard, prompting us to pursue extreme precision and quality. In the end, the watches were placed on the display table, so that the invited watchmakers could taste them carefully.
11. Please introduce us to the first series.
Of course, there is LANGE 1 that journalists can love. LANGE 1 fully demonstrates the outstanding standards of Lange watches in terms of quality and mechanical construction. This is an unprecedented men’s watch, 18K gold or platinum 950 style, eccentric dial with hours, minutes and small seconds, power reserve indicator, and a large calendar display that was unique around the world and caused the industry to follow suit. The second model is the ARKADE ladies’ watch, which is also equipped with a large Lange calendar display. The third is SAXONIA. This simple and smooth medium-sized 18K gold watch has hours, minutes and small seconds, and has a large calendar display. For this watch, we chose the name Saxony that we are proud of. The famous place name abbreviation ‘i / SA’ also appeared on the dial of all the Lange watches mentioned before. Finally, we show the pinnacle of TOURBILLON ‘Pour le Mérite’: this masterpiece is equipped with a sesame chain drive system never used in a watch.
12. What is your feedback? After the event, are you sure that the brand can be successfully reinvigorated?
Needless to say, we are very satisfied with these watches ourselves. After all, they are all the result of the enthusiasm and dedication of highly skilled professionals. Nonetheless, I finally felt relieved when I knew that the experts had responded positively to our watches. I believe I will never experience that feeling again. In general, dealers place orders privately, just as merchants do not want competitors to know what they are buying. But since we only had 123 watches available to our guests at the time, they were quickly relieved. Unlike all practices, they happily commented on LANGE 1, SAXONIA, ARKADE, and TOURBILLON ‘Pour le Mérite’ and ordered it publicly. They used all the watches we could provide, and fairness became the key. Because 123 pieces could not be evenly distributed to 12 guests, the last 3 watches needed to be allocated by lot. The lucky man who took the shortest match stick took the last tourbillon watch.
13. So you sold out your watches on the spot?
That’s right, we put all the watches produced at that time on the market immediately. The situation is far beyond imagination, and the response is beyond compliment. Of course, the watchmaker’s evaluation is extremely encouraging for our media launch event on October 24.
14. Did you celebrate after the two events?
We didn’t have much time to celebrate and we were back to work right away.