Is this everything that is wrong with Lange, or the watch world at large?

Jun 22, 2022,02:56 AM

"A collector is basically somebody who is addicted to a certain topic and who is never happy with what she or he has. He or she is always on the hunt for the next. That, for me, is the best definition of a collector to start with."

Quote from Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne. In his own words a collector is an animal who is never content? This seems a far cry from the brand I knew 10 years ago. Why must collecting be synonymous with insatiable consumption?

[Note from CR: I replaced the large image of the quoted words with the plain text of the quoted words themselves. To see this quote in context and to encourage thoughtful discussion, click here to read the full interview.]

This message has been edited by CR on 2022-06-22 14:28:45

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To me that's not the correct approach to see a collector...

 By: Pun : June 22nd, 2022-03:04
Though at times he/she appears to behave that way...

Do you know in what context he made these statements??

 By: ArmisE : June 22nd, 2022-03:19
Because that would be an interesting business strategy to refer to collectors amongst his own clientele in such a manner. 🤔

Grazie, my friend!

 By: ArmisE : June 22nd, 2022-04:40


 By: FabR : June 22nd, 2022-05:22


 By: loopsandsounds : June 22nd, 2022-03:34
And by that logic everyone who collects anything should buy up all available models…and then sell them on the grey market when they get bored or dissatisfied? The whole theme of never being sated with what one has is very sad.

You are absolutely right that Lange is not what it used to be.

 By: als1678 : June 22nd, 2022-03:44
The last pice that I bought was the Walter Lange hommage edition. I have a lot more to say but would leave it at that.

This is probably not exactly what Herr Schmid said...

 By: patrick_y : June 22nd, 2022-03:37
Knowing how these interviews are transcripted, there is some creative license for the editor to quote or to phrase the answer. Also having known Schmid since his very start at Lange, and even introducing a friend of mine who is a distant cousin to Herr Sc... 

I read yours and I wholeheartedly agree.

 By: patrick_y : June 22nd, 2022-17:31
Something lost in translation or some mediocre paraphrasing.

That would be very odd indeed.

 By: Horo_Traveler : June 23rd, 2022-15:22
You typically leave quotes unaltered. In any case, I’ve been supporting Lange with my $$ for 20 years primarily from the pre-boutique days. I got turned off by a boutique experience a couple of years back and switched off from the brand after that, given ... 

These kind of interviews, the quotes are altered, condensed, and clarified.

 By: patrick_y : June 23rd, 2022-23:56
For instance, in interviews I've done with watchmakers and even a jewelry store owner, I had some creative licensing to condense the quote as long as I felt I kept the full meaning of what they were saying. A lot of magazines target a word count, so word ... 


 By: Horo_Traveler : June 24th, 2022-05:58
So you’re saying the full meaning was likely kept. This isn’t a complicated interpretation unless both the CEO and journalist are dunces at basic communication. My treatment by the boutique was consistent with the quote attributed to the CEO, but as I not... 

That's actually not what I'm saying.

 By: patrick_y : June 24th, 2022-19:09
As I stated before. It's possible that the journalist was paraphrasing and some things were altered even with the best intentions. I'm not surprised your relationship with the boutique is perceived to be that way. As that's how many experiences seem to be... 

I can’t speak for Mr. Schmid (whom I don’t know personally), but assuming he got quoted exactly in the Monochrome piece you are referring to, it is certainly an unusual way to express a concept for the CEO of a watch company…

 By: FabR : June 22nd, 2022-03:40
The wording of other portions of the same interview struck me as odd though, including a lengthy paragraph where he insisted on “our customers who are unknown to us” (I believe in a convoluted effort to promote Lange’s boutique vs. AD sales). These interv... 

I am sorry but I don't think there is anything lost in translation here.

 By: als1678 : June 22nd, 2022-03:59
For years Mr Schmid has made it very clear that he wants his clients to be "collectors" who buy at full retail at the boutiques, have insatiable desire for anything Lange and never sell in the secondary market. I know of people, definitely Lange collector... 

I get your point, and there isn’t actually a single thing I endorse of Lange’s recent boutique policy and allocation system…But the way this and other points of the interview got *worded* just doesn’t seem realistic for an experienced industry leader ;-)

 By: FabR : June 22nd, 2022-04:18
It would be interesting for either the Monochrome journalist to clear up these points for us here, or also for Lange to reach out directly if they have any comments on the matter. (This is not my forum, so I want to leave any possible actions in this sens... 


 By: CR : June 23rd, 2022-00:52
I gave this feedback to Lange in the last few years and am curious what you think about it: I have no problem blacklisting a customer for selling a high-demand piece "prematurely" as long as the brand tells the customer exactly how to proceed if they want... 

I think your suggestion is very reasonable.

 By: als1678 : June 23rd, 2022-01:44
I know a high end dealer who has no pre owned inventory but for special pieces and clients will make introduction to an interested party. Lange can do the same and make two customers happy at the same time. To be honest - the bundle deals, "boutique relat... 

Good one, +1

 By: Concord : June 22nd, 2022-06:11


 By: amanico : June 22nd, 2022-06:14

I'm in complete agreement.

 By: Uncle Chico : June 22nd, 2022-08:19
For me a collector is someone with a deep connection to the thing being collected, has a goal in mind, and once achieving that goal, can appreciate the accomplishment and the collection. Although for some the hunt can be more exciting than the acquisition... 

You are right Nicolas, one lazy word removed and the whole quote makes a lot of sense.

 By: Jay (Eire) : June 22nd, 2022-22:04
If we read it without the never, the second part of the sentence (always being on the hunt) should not be offensive to anyone as this is the behavior I see here every day.

In total agreement.

 By: amanico : June 22nd, 2022-23:07

He is not saying animals.

 By: COUNT DE MONET : June 22nd, 2022-07:00
What he tries to ssy is, that some collectors are driven by the impulse to buy. That is what he means by "addicted". What a collector is, is generally not easy to define.

Absolutely nothing wrong with that statement

 By: sham1 : June 22nd, 2022-08:06
Nothing animalisstic about it either. He was merely stating that collectors are always out to collect new pieces as they are seldom satisfied with what they already have. That would apply to most of us.

The entire interview reveals the arrogant hypocrisy of Mr. Schmid and his team ...

 By: flopi3 : June 22nd, 2022-12:57
... Mr. Schmid's view on collectors is only one questionable aspect of the story. Reality is, that ALS turned into a very arrogant brand over the past years. There is another quote that reveals how they think: "You cannot build a business model with peopl... 

The same story with Odysseus

 By: serg70 : June 25th, 2022-08:08
With only one exception - I purchased 1815 HG at boutique, and I’m in the waiting lists… but another person came there and bought an Complication and then got in a month Odysseus as well 🤷🏻‍♂️ and I’m still waiting for it. It seems to be strange with my c... 

Telling the truth isn't a problem for Lange or anyone who can handle the truth.

 By: Spangles - Dr. Tabby : June 22nd, 2022-14:49
Lange may have other problems, such as with customer service, etc., but not this.

That's insulting real collectors. There are many real collectors on this forum. These collectors have discerning eyes and taste. They don't just buy everything Rolex or Patek or Lange.

 By: U3O8 : June 22nd, 2022-14:57
The difference between a collector and an accumulator is that the collector will be guided by a certain quality, theme, aesthetic or style. There is a method to the madness. A collector need not have a big budget or unlimited resources. There is considera... 

Very well stated, but before rushing to judgment, shouldn't we consider the possibility...

 By: CR : June 23rd, 2022-01:25
... that Wilhelm Schmid might actually agree with everything you wrote, and that this one quote, with no follow-up questions, might not fully or accurately reflect his thoughts on the subject?

The phrasing might be a little different based on translation, but the message is clear.

 By: quattro98 : June 22nd, 2022-20:14
Lange has changed completely in the last couple of years. Vacheron Constantin has too. Both have discarded relationships with longtime dealers and customers based on increased recent demand. It will be interesting to see what happens when demand slows and... 

I guess it started from Kern

 By: serg70 : June 25th, 2022-08:13
And IWC policy, when they once turned from real collectors toward red carpet and celebs 🤷🏻‍♂️ And then this infected all Richemont brands WBR Serge

 By: CR : June 23rd, 2022-00:02
I appreciate threads like this, which involve some emotion and passion. Thanks to loopsandsounds for alerting us to this interview. On a general note, threads like this can go either way: They can provoke inflammatory replies that add no value beyond regi... 

Respectfully disagree…

 By: loopsandsounds : June 23rd, 2022-02:55
Regardless of the quote, the entire article is tone deaf at best, and the reality of what Lange as a brand has become at worst, especially for those of us that were Lange fans and collectors. I read the entire article and it was as of Lange no longer exis... 

It's all good, and I enjoy the dialogue!

 By: CR : June 23rd, 2022-15:07
My take is this: The interviewer sets the tone and picks the focus. If the interviewer had chosen to focus on asking Wilhelm Schmid about passion or collecting or watchmaking, then we would've read an interview that was much more aligned with the interest... 

May be the interviewer knew about the new arrogance of ALS, …

 By: flopi3 : June 23rd, 2022-15:34
… thus focusing deliberately on the topics of the interview. A brand is so much more than its products and even though I still admire the watches from ALS, I am not accepting their business philosophies. As a result I am telling people who are interested ... 

Thanks CR

 By: loopsandsounds : June 24th, 2022-03:20
You are probably right that the interview was biased towards business. I struggle with the content only because I had such a love for Lange and over the past few years it’s been snuffed out by the transition to the “Porsche/Ferrari” method of direct manuf...  

What a fantastic assembly! Thanks for sharing it, and also for your decision to post the movement pics first, before the dial pics :)

 By: CR : June 24th, 2022-04:13
I like those older straps, too. Hopefully you are happy with just the Datograph Up/Down. And let's continue to hope that Lange will take active steps to embrace the longer-term collectors that have felt alienated in recent years, so they may return to the... 

Respectfully disagree, too ….

 By: flopi3 : June 23rd, 2022-13:06
Mr Schmid can phrase it as he like, one can exclude certain quotes but in the end it matters, how the brand acts in reality. And reality is that ALS is more interested in making the fast buck than to build long-term relations to customers. I know many col... 

I'm not sure what we're disagreeing about!

 By: CR : June 23rd, 2022-16:05
I agree with much of what you just wrote. In recent years, Lange and/or Richemont (whoever is driving these decisions) has certainly disappointed and frustrated many longtime enthusiasts/collectors for exactly the reasons you mentioned.

That is a valid point …

 By: flopi3 : June 23rd, 2022-16:57
… especially if you look at Richemont‘s financial statements and the profit development of the watchmaking section.

I can only speak for how I have found the brand and Mr Schmid over the last few years.

 By: russell996 : June 24th, 2022-22:47
I have met Mr Schmid on 5 or 6 occasions and have had lunch/dinner with him multiple times. I have always found him entertaining, passionate about the brand and it’s values, equally interested in other brands and always looking to the future. I tend not t... 

How many of us imagine ourselves with the same watch collection in five years? Or a downsized collection with no upgrades or changes beyond selling?

 By: jmpTT : June 25th, 2022-02:09
The quote is not scandalous, just a bit honest. We can assume Mr. Schmid is interpreting the data available to him and drawing from his own perspective in arriving at his view on collectors. Insatiability and a lack of contentment are characteristic of a ... 

Well put.

 By: lm6 : June 25th, 2022-14:59