Comparing and Contrasting Glashütte Natives
For true watch nerds, the industry goes far beyond watchmakers with massive brand power, like Rolex or Omega. Some companies have a rich history in the field of watchmaking that far outdates big box brands. Two examples of this are A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original.
Both brands established in 1845 in Glashütte, Germany. Likewise, this made them two of the first companies to set up shop in the now iconic watchmaking city. One brand became the town’s namesake while the other took on the name of its founders. For over 170 years, A. Lange and Söhne and Glashütte Original have upheld the rigorous criteria set within the region. Watchmakers in this town have to adhere to incredibly strict quality standards. Companies must create at least 50% of the watch’s caliber in Glashütte. Then and only then can they receive the coveted title of being a true Glashütte watch.
Despite the uncanny similarities between the brand’s beginnings, they’ve evolved into two incredibly unique watchmakers. One of the most notable differences between the brands is their price tag. So, if you’re in the market for an authentic Glashütte watch, you can make an investment that suits your budget. You can splurge on an A. Lange & Söhne model, like the Lange 1. Or, you can snag a Glashütte Original model, like the Senator Observer, for a steal.
The Splurge: The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1
The Lange 1 is an incredibly important model to A. Lange & Söhne. To understand its significance, you must know a bit about the history of the brand. In the final months of WWII, a bombing raid destroyed the company’s workshops. In 1948, the members of the Lange family who had been running the company were expropriated. Then, the Soviet administration nationalized the company’s remaining property. Consequently, for the next 45 years the A. Lange & Söhne named disappeared.
When the Iron Curtain collapsed, the Lange family was able to return to Glashütte. Within a year, they had re-registered the A. Lange & Söhne trademark. Then, in 1994, they presented their first watches in nearly half a century. One of these was the Lange 1. What made the model particularly special is the patented outsize date function. This mechanism draws from one of founder Adolf Lange’s masterpieces: a clock designed for the Semper Opera House in Dresden in 1830.
For nearly 25 years, the Lange 1 has been the flagship model for the brand. It’s distinctive off-center hour/minute dial makes it instantly recognizable. The overall design has remained largely unchanged since its debut. However, in 2015, the brand released a major update for the model: an all-new in-house caliber.
The Steal: The Glashütte Original Panomatic
Glashutte Original began in 1994 after the privatization of GUB, an East German conglomerate formed in 1951. The conglomerate was of watch companies based in Glashutte.
The Glashütte Panomatic is a relatively new addition to the Glashütte Original catalog. In fact, it first debuted just a few years ago at Baselworld in 2015. The model is a modern interpretation of a deck watch, a pocket watch once used as a backup to a ship’s marine chronometer. Notable features inspired by the deck watch include the large power-reserve indicator on the dial side. Similar to the Lange 1, the Original Panomatic showcases the brand’s signature date function. The Panoramic date window sits at the four-o’clock position. Inside the watch, you’ll also find an in-house movement.
Choosing the Best Model for You
Both the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 and Glashütte Original Senator Observer share the highly sought after Glashütte name. Each model is backed by a brand with a rich history in the region and in watchmaking. Additionally, they both feature a distinctly refined design from the inside out, each equipped with an in-house caliber. If you’re able to splurge on a pricier model, the Lange 1 is an excellent choice. However, the Senator Observer is an equally handsome option for a steal.