This week the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and Bank Julius Baer recognized two outstanding personalities of the watchmaking world. On Wednesday, 13 November in Lausanne, Switzerland, the foundation awarded special distinctions to Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and Walter Lange during the 5th Forum de la Haute Horlogerie.
Each year, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie presents the “Hommage à la Passion” and “Hommage au Talent” awards to individuals who, through their dedication and expertise, have contributed to the eminence of Fine Watchmaking.
This year’s “Hommage à la Passion” award went to Walter Lange. The great-grandson of A. Lange & Söhne’s founder, Walter Lange was destined to take the helm of Lange Uhren GmBH, the family firm behind the manufacture. Although the manufacture was established in 1845 in Glashütte, its growth was hampered by the tragic intervention of history; first, during WWII, when the factory was bombed; then again, when the company’s assets were confiscated by the East German regime after the war. It was only in 1990, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, that Walter Lange would have the chance to take control of his family’s company and orchestrate its rebirth.
“I was 65 years old when the Berlin Wall came down,” Lange said. “I returned to Glashütte and re-registered the A.Lange & Söhne brand name on December 7th, on the exact same day as my great-grandfather in 1845! The company was back.”
Meanwhile, the “Hommage au Talent” award went to Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. One of the most talented watchmakers in the industry, Wiederrecht designs and makes complicated movements for several prestigious brands, and has filed multiple patents. He is now associated with timepieces by Maisons such as Hermès, Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels.
The awards were handed out by a panel whose members are representatives of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie Cultural Council, representatives of Bank Julius Baer, and Franca Zigliotto.
Photos courtesy The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.