Almost as Good as a Real Watchmaker

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Almost as Good as a Real Watchmaker Glashütte, February 2010

Joanna Gribben heads the Akademie since three years.
The lecture room of the A. Lange & Söhne Akademie, founded in 2007.
The Expert Certificate with the threequarter plate decorated by a student.

With its Expert Course the A. Lange & Söhne Academy launches a third round of its training programme.

With the establishment almost three years ago of the “A. Lange & Söhne Akademie”, a multi-level series of training courses for authorised dealers, the traditional watch brand has been making an active contribution to the quality of advice provided in the superior watch retail sector. The programme focuses primarily on offering an experience of the uncompromising quality that the watchmakers at Lange show in their work and allows students to meet these craftsmen and women face to face and perform a range of tasks under their expert instruction.

The first “Lange Experts” from Germany left the academy after successfully completing the third – and highest – level of the training programme. To qualify for the Expert Course they first had to attend two initial sessions, as well as having to pass the “Ambassador Course”, which consisted of passing on the basic knowledge they had acquired in the Lange manufactory to the sales staff in their own organisation.

The aim of the Expert Course is to increase awareness of the watchmaking expertise at A. Lange & Söhne and to familiarise dealers with the special features of the watchmaking complications and with superior new products such as the LANGE ZEITWERK and the LANGE 1 DAYMATIC. At the end of the course the “graduates” were in a position to offer even more professional advice to their customers after experiencing the watchmaking environment and sales arguments at first hand.

The fascinating workshops during the two-day Expert Course opened up doors to the students that normally remain firmly shut to visitors. For instance, product developers explained the origins of a new watch model from the initial idea through to series production. Technical experts gave insights into the secrets behind the production of the Lange balance springs and into the rigorous test conditions undergone by new developments in the company’s own test laboratory. Plus, the budding experts were able to try out some of the tools for themselves in various practical tasks at the watchmaker’s table. Under the instruction of finishers and engravers they were introduced to the typical Lange decoration techniques. They learnt how to polish the tiny gold chatons by hand, and how to decorate a German silver three-quarter plate with the characteristic perlage and the striped patterning known as “Glashütte ribbing”. A further highpoint of the programme was the assembly of a complete watch movement under the expert supervision of a master watchmaker.

After passing a demanding written examination at the end of the course, the participants received a certificate to show their membership of the exclusive international community of Lange Experts. The three-quarter plate decorated by the individual student is integrated in the certificate mount, and the associated balance cock displays the hand-engraved initials of the student. The first Lange Experts comprised dealers from Germany and Italy. There will be further courses this year for dealers from Europe, South-East Asia, Japan, and the USA.


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