How things work on the inside

Three awards for watchmaking trainee from A. Lange & Söhne

Alexander Ludwig, graduate of the manufactory’s watchmaking school, has been declared best watchmaking apprentice of 2021. Achieving 95.6 out of 100 points, the 21-year-old passed both his theoretical and practical exams with flying colours. In December 2021, he was awarded for his excellent results by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK). This makes him the third Lange trainee to receive the honour of being the best in the country.

The best trainee in the Dresden Chamber of Commerce district, state best in Saxony and also best in the country: by achieving first place in all three, Alexander Ludwig has completed his training to become a watchmaker with top results. “I was really surprised, but of course also thrilled and just a bit proud of the result,” says Alexander Ludwig, who began his apprenticeship at A. Lange & Söhne in 2017 just after completing his Abitur school-leaving exams. Even as a child, he loved model making and looking at the way everything interacted from a technical point of view. He dismantled and put back together everything he could lay his hands on to find out how it worked on the inside. The perfect prerequisite for the craft of watchmaking, which he actually stumbled across completely by chance.

After he finished school, Alexander Ludwig toyed with the idea of buying a high-quality wristwatch. “When I really looked at it up-close, I quickly realised what a challenging, varied field watchmaking actually is,” explains the Thuringian native. The craftsmanship and artistic aspect, not to mention the tradition of precision watchmaking in Glashütte, fascinated him right from the start. It awakened his curiosity, and he knew instantly that he wanted to become a watchmaker. And so, he applied to the manufactory whose models fascinated him the most: A. Lange & Söhne.

Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne, congratulates the best trainee of the year: “An achievement like this makes the whole company proud, not least because we have now had three of our apprentices declared the best in the country. And I would like to pay tribute not just to Mr Ludwig’s efforts in this, but also all those who helped him along the way and actively supported him. His personal success is also to some extent our success as a training provider.”

Walter Lange (1924–2017): a role model for the young generation

For Walter Lange, the fifth anniversary of whose death is on 17 January 2022, supporting up-and-coming talent was particularly close to his heart. Shortly after the A. Lange & Söhne brand was revived, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange recognised that supporting young watchmakers would be a prerequisite for the lasting success of his company. Since 1997, 216 young people have been successfully trained as watchmakers. The company also offers apprenticeships to become tool mechanics and cutting machine operators, as well as in office management.  

Walter Lange’s motto continues to inspire trainees today: “There's something one should expect not only of a watch but also of oneself: to never stand still.” Throughout his life, he always had time for them. During his tours of the manufactory, he was incredibly interested in what they were doing, often looking over their shoulders at the watchmaking bench or lathe and giving them tips and suggestions. With his determination, hard work and courage to build the company back up from scratch, he remains a role model to the younger generation. In a sentence that was very typical for him, he once said: “I am the bridge to our past.” He was absolutely convinced that young watchmaking talent is the bridge to the future.

Alexander Ludwig never had the chance to meet the grand seigneur of Glashütte precision watchmaking. But the founder of the company, who died on 17 January 2017 aged 92, still has a profound influence on the company’s culture today. During his training, the young watchmaker was proud “to be a part of this tradition”. Alexander Ludwig has now embarked upon a technical degree and is thankful that A. Lange & Söhne continues to support him in this. He can heartily recommend the dual training programme offered by the manufactory to anyone “fascinated by exploring and understanding the smallest of mechanisms with the greatest of care.”