German-born Wilhelm Schmid has been leading the charge at A. Lange & Söhne as the maison’s CEO since 2011. Before his foray into the world of haute horlogerie, Wilhelm spent 10-years in sales and marketing at BMW AG. The son of a car-dealer, Wilhelm Schmid holds a diploma in Business Administration and began his professional career with oil giant Castrol.
Karishma Karer looks to Wilhelm Schmid for answers about A. Lange & Söhne, its watches and its plans for the future in this HOT Conversation.
The focus for this year, for a lot of brands has been women’s watches. Where does A. Lange & Söhne stand in this respect?
This is a market that is interesting for us. We have been trying to understand the unique requirements of women clientele. Last year, the Lange 1 Moonphase was well received. This year, we have a different watch which is beautiful. We do not focus on ladies’ watches per se. But, what we really find interesting is the rising number of ladies who want to buy watches for themselves instead of just being gifted.
What is the focus in terms of collections for 2018?
Our attempt is always to have different answers for the different questions raised by different customers. In that sense, we offer diversity. If you are a high-end collector, maybe the Triple Split is your watch. If you are someone who wants to wear a beautiful watch every day, the Saxonia is the answer. If you see our watches, they all give different answers to these questions. That is always our attempt- to give something to everybody in this niche market.
What is India’s positioning as a market for the brand?
India is important to us. However, there are some things we need to be aware of as we grow in this market. I am of the strong belief that the future is quality. If a retailer carries our watches, they need to offer a particular quality of service. I can live with less points of sale, provided the quality at every point of sale is the same as the quality of our watches.
Are you looking at collaboration with other brands?
We do collaborate with other brands for events. But, we have no plans for a cooperation of this sort for making a specific timepiece.
How important are complications for a watch now?
Complications in a watch are the essence of the watch. They are the reason why people collect watches. If you are a serious collector, you always look out for something unique. You want something that pushes the limits and stretches it. For example, the Triple Split- it’s not relevant for everyone, but for collectors, it’s different.
Which are the watches that you would include in a watch wardrobe?
For a regular daily wear watch, I would say the Saxonia or the Moonphase. They give you everything you need and you can wear it with anything. My personal favourite is the Triple Split. I love chronographs. It is my favorite complication!
Three words to describe the brand…
Quality. Craftsmanship. Germanness.