06 Jun LANG and HEYNE: A decade old German watch making institution is making waves.
One of the best things about fine watchmaking is the legacy that is often handed down through generations. It is a craft from that the son carries over from the father. In the case of Lange and Heyne, Marco Lang (Co-Founder) honed his art, under the aegis of his father, who was the head restorer in the Mathematical / Physical Cabinet, housing a world famous collection of watches and precision instruments. After having world with some of the most famous names in the Glashutte region, Marco Lang, along with another maverick watchmaker, Mirko Heyne, started LANG and HEYNE in 2001.
Every watch brand has its own quirks; something that makes it stand apart from its competitors. In the case of LANG and HEYNE, the names of their watches and collections, are inspired, derived and influenced from names of German rulers. Yes, I am not bluffing! The watches are devoted to rulers of the large mural of the House of Wettin, one of the ancient families of the German nobility. This mural is in the historic centre of the Saxon state capital, Dresden and is called the “Procession of Princes” (Fürstenzug). It impressively shows the ancestral portraits on tile mosaics made of Meissen porcelain. On this immortalized are the ancestral portraits of the 35 margraves, electors, dukes and kings between 1123 and 1904.
What do the watches produced by LANG and HEYNE epitomise? Well, for starters, they are not mass produced. The brand makes just a few hundred watches every year. Needless to say, all of them are handcrafted, and adhere to the strictest forms of quality control in the horological world. “In Principio Erat Mens”- Its literal translation means, the creative idea which with everything began. LANG and HEYNE recognize that steadfastness and patience are the key to creating the perfect piece. In the words of Marco Lang, “For me designing a watch is like composing music. You start with all the different components, which are like the notes in music and gradually you build up to the dial and the movement and the case. Probably one year passes before I know all 200 parts will work together and the general idea of the watch is clear in my mind.”
Watchmaking in Dresden, or for that matter in Germany, differs from its Swiss counterpart in more ways than one. The industry here has still not been exposed to the commercialization that has become an integral part of Swiss watchmaking. Takeovers, conglomerates, huge financial accountability, or marketing, are still relatively unknown, in the quaint German watchmaking industry. However, that does not mean, that the world will never catch up to them. They will, they surely will, but till them, there is a need to enjoy this melancholic quaintness. LANG and HEYNE symbolise how watches were meant to be enjoyed. A fine wine, a classic movie, a surreal composition, all the stated vices of men, need to be enjoyed with time and pleasure.
A LANG and HEYNE piece is a festival for the eyes, created by honouring a time-bound tradition, of the highest quality, in small exclusive series. It would be apt to conclude the article by quoting Marco Lang once again, “The path between the initial design of the watch and the final product is long and exhausting sometimes. However, it`s a great pleasure for me to manage this path step by step, to create artworks on my own which live longer than me.”