Monday, December 23, 2019

The best thing that happened to Sydney!

"You will not believe who just opened a boutique in Martin Place" said Bobby,
"FP Journe?"
"No, guess again"
"Richard Mille"
"No, think bigger and more exciting"
"No way! Seriously?

As a watch collector, the opening of the A. Lange & Söhne boutique in Sydney is like all my Christmases have come at once. Lange is my second favourite watch brand, and one that is so easy to fall in love with.

Of course, Bobby and myself could not miss the opportunity to poke our noses into the ALS Boutique, first thing Monday morning. With no specific expectations - except for a fireworks display of amazing horological pieces - we were simply blown away with the warm reception from the Boutique manager, Mr Delwyn Dass.  "Welcome to the second largest Lange boutique in the world!" - he proudly proclaimed.

Make no mistake: Lange is unstoppable. When it comes to workmanship, quality, finishes, complications and impeccable performance, the German watchmaker has very little competition at the very high end of haute horology. The pulling power of Lange is irresistible. It takes the will power of Ghandi to say no to the fresh, mint, and spotless 1815 Chronograph ref. 414.031 which is still the most affordable of all Lange chronographs ($73,000).

"What would you rather have- Lange or...?" is the game Bobby and I played all day. Almost every time, no matter what brand or model was mentioned, Lange was the preferred choice.

You see, unlike with most other brands, Lange is all about inner beauty; pure, traditional watchmaking; and impeccable craftsmanship. This is not a watch brand that attracts kids, or snobs, or flippers, or Instagram influencers, or those empty souls who constantly seek "external validation". This is a brand which patiently waits for patronage of true watch aficionados.

You buy and wear Lange because you want it and because you appreciate it - and because you could not care less what everyone else wears, wants, collects and buys. Lange owners simply do not care.

Mr Dass is both a knowledgeable and passionate watch dealer who is happy to explain and listen, but for the entire hour that we spent together, there was not the slightest attempt to over sell the brand, a watch, or his fine service. Unlike any Swiss brand watch representative I've encountered in the past, he was genuinely interested to find out more about our 'Australian manufactured' project. We felt a bit embarrassed to talk about NH watches in a Lange Boutique, but it was clear that when it comes to things that matter - inner beauty - our inspiration and aspiration comes from makers like Lange who share those same traditional values, firmly rooted in haute horology.

Lange's current stock range has around 40 models, of which quite a few are available for immediate delivery. Of course, some examples are made in very limited quantity and others have a delivery time of around 9 months. There is nothing boastful or arrogant about Lange's production and supply policy; no artificially created demand, no silly waiting lists, no patronising - simply an honest, straight forward "here is what we can do for you" approach.

As you walk into Lange's Sydney boutique, the very first thing you need to visit is their art installation known as the 'Wall of Components'. The entire wall is covered in 1316 individual watch parts which, assembled together, are the contents of a calibre L133.1 powering The Tourbograph Perpetual 706.025 (in actual fact, L133.1 contains 1319 components, but the last 3 parts are not on the display - for a very specific reason!).  The 'Wall of Components' is precisely what Lange's mission is all about; to excite us all and leave us speechless - from a novice to a collector; an apprentice to a watchmaker. The true art of watchmaking comes from the inner beauty.

The Tourbograph Perpetual 706.025 is from the famous Pour le Mérite line. "For Merit" was one of the highest orders in the Kingdom of Prussia, and later,  German Empire. It was awarded strictly as a recognition of extraordinary personal achievement, rather than as a general marker of social status or a courtesy-honour. The connection is obvious: when in 1994. ‘newly rebirthed ’ Lange offered it’s first Tourbillon 'Pour Le Mérite' the bar of extraordinary excellence was set. The Tourbograph Perpetual 706.025 released this year is the sixth 'Pour Le Mérite' in 25 years. I'll stop right here though, as I don't want to spoil anymore for you.

I strongly suggest the following: go and visit all Sydney watch boutiques, inspect the stock on offer, talk to the dealers - and then visit the Lange boutique last. Then ask yourself just one question: if you invest in Lange, would you really want any other watch on your wrist?

This brief review of Lange boutique is unsolicited feedback and a tribute, not a paid article. If you happen to deal with Mr Delwyn or Mr Andrea, feel free to mention my name, it would be mutually appreciated. 

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