If you happen to be Boston bound for the holidays, you will definitely want to swing by Newbury Street and check out the new kid on the block. Elite German watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne has just opened up its eighth North American boutique on 10 Newbury Street, nestled between Rolex and Rimowa. (But good luck making it out of that triangle without your bank account diminished.) It is also, conveniently, perched just across the street from The Newbury, Boston’s upscale hotel that was formerly home to the Ritz Carlton.
“For years, we were looking for a place that we could call home, where we can immerse people into what we usually can only do in Glashütte,” said A. Lange & Söhne CEO, Wilhelm Schmid, at the opening. “And I’m very happy to have found this place and a great team. And I think it takes both to really create that idea that it’s not a boutique, it is a home.” He also noted that the opening further drives home the brand’s efforts to reduce its wholesale partners and open more of its own dedicated stores.
Lange is a decidedly buttoned-up brand known for making exceptional watches in very small quantities for the most refined connoisseurs. The boutique reflects that understated well-heeled elegance while also combining some cleverly hip elements. In the middle of the boutique is the “Wall of Parts,” a wall-to-wall installation of hundreds of panels detailing all 684 hand-finished watch components of the Tourbograph Perpetual Pour Le Merité. In the back of the boutique is a bar where clients can kick back and enjoy themselves and perhaps imbibe a little liquid courage before their next big purchase. On offer inside the boutique is everything from a beautiful sunray light chocolate dial Little Lange 1 to a beautifully handsome 1815 Chronograph.
The opening of the new boutique also marks the official launch of the brand’s new Zeitwerk model in platinum or 18-karat rose gold. It features a patented numeral jumping hour mechanism (one of six new patents in the new Zeitwerk) and an improved power reserve of 72 hours, indicated at 12 o’clock with a red marker on the track to indicate when the watch needs to be wound. Of course, it also features the company’s signature oversize numerals. And, for the OCD watch obsessives out there, in case you are wondering, the screw next to the numeral aperture is not straight because it is in fact a functional piece of the watch. It screws the time bridge directly to the base plate of the movement. On the right, next to the minutes, is a sapphire jewel bearing. The seconds counter is located beneath at 6 o’clock.
Another fun fact is that Lange’s oversize numerals were actually created so audiences in an auditorium could view them from far away on a clock. “A little bit of the backstory behind the design inspiration of our Zeitwerk is that in 1841 Ferdinand Lange, our founder, along with Johann Gutkaes, the royal clockmaker in Dresden developed the five-minute clock,” Matt Sullivan, Lange’s director of wholesale, told a select group of journalists at the opening. “The challenge was to develop a clock in the Semper Opera house [in Dresden] that everybody could read from any seat in the house. You can see clearly the inspiration behind not only the outsize date in our Lange 1 which was introduced in 1994, but also the Zeitwerk which was introduced in 2009.” Fittingly, an oversize date wheel is prominently featured and clients enter the new boutique.
To celebrate the opening, Lange held a sprawling dinner at the Boston Athenæum, a historic library, for VIP clients, Kevin O’Leary among them, and select press where guests dined on a sprawling room-length table amid a room filled with books. The evening was punctuated with an Orchestral string performance of Queen songs, highlighting Lange’s efforts to bridge traditional with modern as reflected in the new boutique.