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In touch with the analogue side of things

Wilhelm Schmid considers himself to be one of the happiest people on earth. Twice in his lifetime he succeeded in making his passion a profession. The self-declared ‘petrol head’ and watch aficio-nado held several management positions at BMW before he was appointed CEO of the German watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne in 2011.

The passion for motoring has been handed down to him by his father, the owner of a car dealership. At the age of 17, he bought his first vintage car and his first ‚real‘ watch. After more than thirty years, the 1964 MGB Mark I roadster is still in his possession and was later joined by an AC Ace Bristol as well as one of the nine ever built Frazer Nash Le Mans Coupés.

These cars document his passion for British roadsters and the minimalist straightforwardness they embody. In an increasingly digitial environment, Schmid enjoys staying in touch with the analog side of things. “Driving a vintage car or wearing a mechanical watch makes me feel connected to the world”, he says and adds, “tinkering with my cars is like looking over the designers’ shoulder while they are at work and the ticking of a mechanical watch is like the heartbeat of life to me.” Schmid appreciates the functional complexity of German chronographs when it comes to watches, not only because of their proximity to motor sports. Handcrafted timepieces like the 1815 CHRONOGRAPH, the DATOGRAPH PERPETUAL TOURBILLON, the TOURBOGRAPH PERPETUAL „Pour le Mérite“ or the brand-new TRIPLE SPLIT combine technical refinement with pure and efficient design. If one were to compare them to German cars, the cultivated power of a Gullwing Mercedes 300 SL or the timeless elegance of a BMW 507 come to mind.

If it is true that classic cars are sculptures on wheels, then mechanical watches are the complementing artworks for the wrist. This is, in a nutshell, the idea behind A. Lange & Söhne’s successful partnership with the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. From his own experience, Schmid knew that there is a great deal of common ground between car and watch collectors: “Ultimate craftsmanship, technical innovation and historic heritage are the key values behind the Concorso and our approach to watchmaking.” From the beginning, he was convinced that the world’s most exclusive beauty contest for historic cars would be a perfect fit for his brand. The increasing number of friends Lange has made on the shores of Lake Como proved him right.

Since 2012, six “Best-of-Show” owners have taken home the competition’s most coveted trophy, a one-off LANGE 1 TIME ZONE “Como Edition”. “It is our nod to the ingenious designers of the past and to the committed collectors of today who preserve these precious treasures for us and for future generations”, Schmid explained his reason for creating a unique timepiece for the most beautiful car.