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A Lange & Söhne ‘in the sweet spot’

MANAMA, November 29, 2016

By Sree Bhat

While the market for luxury watches this year has taken a beating, German watchmaker A Lange & Söhne remains in a sweet spot thanks to the high desirability of the brand.

“I will quote my CEO, who always says that his job is to make sure that the brand always remains in a sweet spot, meaning being in a situation where the demand is higher than what you can supply,” says Ramzi Nael, Brand Director of A Lange & Söhne Middle East & India. “Our job is to maintain this high desirability of the brand and to make sure that the production is maintained at a level that the demand stays higher.”

Nael was speaking to Arabian Knight, our sister publication, on the sidelines of Jewellery Arabia in Bahrain, where the brand showcased its collection of exclusive timepieces.

The legendary watchmaker, which celebrated its 200th anniversary last year, was at the watch and jewellery show as part of the Bahrain Jewellery Centre (BJC) pavilion.

For A Lange & Söhne, this is its third showing at Jewellery Arabia. The brand also brought an engraver especially for Jewellery Arabia to showcase the intricate work involved in fine watchmaking.

“Bahrain is a very important market for the brand since consumers in the kingdom are very refined when it comes to fine watchmaking. They know what they want and are exposed to brands and fine watching since a very long time. It’s an added value to be in this exhibition, to be closer to our clients,” Nael says.

The Middle East has been a very important market for A Lange & Söhne, he continues, pointing out that it has only two stand-alone boutiques in the region – Dubai and Beirut – to maintain its exclusivity, in addition to being sold in 14 other outlets.

“It is a very sophisticated market and the consumers here are exposed to these kind of brands. I think one of the advantages of the region is that a big percentage of the population is young. So the market is definitely going to grow and it is going to explode. It is the region which has one of the highest growth rate in the number of millionaires and high-net worth individuals. I believe in the next 10 to 15 years, the size of the luxury industry will grow exponentially in this region and that is why we believe this region is good to be invested in in the long run.”

At Jewellery Arabia, A Lange & Söhne showcased some of the new watches launched this year such as the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, and the Grand Lange 1 Moonface Lumen.

These watches showcase Lange’s determination to never stand still and to test the limits of mechanical horology, says Nael.

The watchmaker is also displaying several prototypes for the benefit of collectors and watch enthusiasts. “We are a very niche brand and our production is very limited. So to be able to have at a single place the entire collection of the novelties is difficult. Hence we produce a collection of prototypes that is not for sale, but are displayed in this kind of exhibitions for people to see and feel the products,” says Nael.

“Some of the models may have been launched already, but they are not available in the market since the production is so limited. Buyers can see the prototypes and order them. It’s very limited production where you need to commit to the piece before it comes to market because if you wait until the piece is ready, it won’t be available anymore,” he cautions watch enthusiasts.

The brand launches its new watches once a year in January at the SIHH exhibition in Geneva. Following that throughout the year the creations are presented across the world and delivered.

Speaking on the core strengths of the brand, Nael says: “The motto of the brand is simple: to make the best watches in the world and to never stand still. Even if we reach the perfection that we want to achieve, we still will look at how to make it better. The brand is very classical, has a very clear strategy and a pre-defined DNA that we stick to. This makes the brand recognisable and stand out.”

On the German heritage of the brand, he says the ‘Made in Germany’ is the stamp of highest quality possible and it’s an added value for the brand.

The company produces all its movements and parts in-house. Its new factory in Glashutte has brought the production facilities and craftsmen under one roof.  

However, if you think you can order a watch and walk away with it, wait a minute. Here time doesn’t move so fast. “The delivery will depend on the complexity of the timepiece. Usually the first delivery of the complicated watches takes between 10 months and one year after the launch. Sometimes it takes up to four years to complete the production of a particular model,” says Nael.

For an example, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, launched last January, is a limited edition of 100 pieces. But it will be delivered over a span of four years, meaning 25 watches per year.

Giving an example of the complicated process of its exclusive watches, Nael said the brand launched its Grand Complication in 2013.

“This is a development of seven years for a production of six pieces only. So far we have delivered just one piece. This shows how important is the research and development in our company because we believe that every complication that we launch has to be meaningful and there has to be a reason behind it.”

If you are thinking of buying one of these, set aside $2.11 million.

A Lange & Söhne will be launching new watches in January at Geneva. “I want consumers to be remain enthusiastic and curious,” Nael says raising expectations. “We are a brand that has not failed to surprise collectors every year.”

On the question of wearable devices vying for people's wrist space, Nael said: "It is a different product category aimed at another target audience. However, we are confident that fine mechanical timepieces will maintain their place on the wrist, simply because they fulfil the human desire for distinction, timeless beauty and lasting value.”

The current economic downturn in the region does not worry the brand. “The sweet spot still remains and it is our job to ensure we remain there,” concludes Nael. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Watch | Jewellery Arabia |

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