A. Lange & Söhne Chooses San Francisco for Its First U.S. Salon

Grand Opening: A. Lange & Söhne Chooses San Francisco for Its First U.S. Salon

Today, we’re taking a tour of the exclusive showroom and spacious gathering place designed to cultivate a closer bond between the esteemed German brand and the vibrant watch community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

By Henri Lee

Following the success of its first two salons in Geneva and Zürich, A. Lange & Söhne set its sights on bringing the elevated lounge experience to America. The choice of San Francisco made perfect sense.

Firstly, there was no Lange boutique in the Pacific Northwest region of the US previously. Secondly, the San Francisco Bay Area, together with its neighbor to the north, Seattle, is home to the world’s top tech companies, thus attracting many affluent tech workers to reside here.

As a contributor for Watchonista based on the West Coast, I had the privilege of attending the grand opening of Salon San Francisco on April 24th, 2024. Meeting CEO Wilhelm Schmid and snagging a selfie with him was an honor. Witnessing the demonstration by the flying watchmaker David Weber and learning about his career was a highlight.

In short, the salon proved to be a delightful gathering spot where I engaged with fellow watch enthusiasts from the area. Here are some key moments I’m excited to share with you.

A Unique Salon Experience

Located on the third floor of the Sachs Building, a Beaux-Arts-style architectural masterpiece built in 1908, situated in the Union Square area (a high-end shopping mecca close to the Financial District), the A. Lange & Söhne San Francisco Salon’s 1,539 square feet (143 square meters) is generously apportioned across three lounges, a central community space, and a hospitality bar area.

The salon offers the experience of an exclusive showroom for clients to come and learn more about the Lange timepieces, all in a relaxed environment.

Wilhelm Schmid, A. Lange & Söhne’s CEO, warmly welcomed the guests with a brief address, officially unveiling the salon. He extended a heartfelt invitation to watch collectors and enthusiasts in the area to visit the salon and experience the exceptional craftsmanship of Lange timepieces firsthand.

Subsequently, he introduced David Weber, the star of the event, who had flown in from Germany to showcase the unique qualities that distinguish Lange watches.

The Latest Novelty

Since it’s celebrating the 25th anniversary of the legendary Lange Datograph, the brand unveiled two new Datograph models at Watches and Wonders 2024 in April. First, there is the Datograph Up/Down 125-piece Limited Edition in white gold with a blue dial, sharing the same hue as the stainless steel Odysseus model.

The second model is the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon Honeygold Lumen, the most complicated Datograph iteration. However, due to its extreme complexity, only 20 pieces (maximum) will be produced in a single year. Thus, to ensure clients do not have to wait more than 2-3 years for their timepiece, the brand decided that this model would be limited to a total of 50 pieces.

And as luck would have it, Mr. Schmid was wearing a Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon Honeygold Lumen at the opening!

At 41mm, the case size appeared perfectly proportioned on his wrist. Moreover, despite having a chronograph and a perpetual calendar, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon Honeygold Lumen displays all its information with remarkable clarity.

A Flying Watchmaker

David Weber’s entire career has been with Lange, beginning with three years at the Lange watchmaking school, followed by a full-time role starting in 2005. He has worked on an impressive 6,000 to 7,000 watches so far, and most recently, he has been working in the chronograph department.

For the past three years, Weber has traveled to watch events and Lange boutiques around the world, serving as a charming ambassador for the brand and earning the fitting title of “flying watchmaker.”

For the show-and-tell portion of the opening of the San Francisco Salon, Weber brought with him Calibre L951.5, the movement powering the Lange 1815 Chronograph, and proceeded to meticulously disassemble the parts one by one, sharing fascinating stories about each.

For instance, he showcased the chronograph wheel, comprising an astonishing 180 teeth. This intricate component contributes to the buttery smooth operation of Lange’s chronographs as the wheel’s numerous teeth allow for immediate and precise activation, thus ensuring the chronograph hand moves promptly without any shakiness when engaged.

Moreover, by showing us each side of a coupling lever, Weber explained the various finishing techniques involved in creating this part. Each component is hand-finished, even those unseen by the wearer, epitomizing the Lange way and elevating the brand above others.

Weber emphasized Lange’s adherence to traditional watchmaking techniques, using untreated steel, untreated German silver, hand-polished golden chatons, and meticulous finishes. No machines are involved in the final product, including assembly.

The end result is that every Lange watch is a one-of-a-kind creation, the product of skilled handwork by individual watchmakers and engravers.

The event culminated with a celebratory champagne toast, marking this milestone that will undoubtedly foster a closer integration between the esteemed German brand and the vibrant watch community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information about the Salon San Francisco, check out the A. Lange & Söhne website.

(Photography by the author)

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