Lang & Heyne: The Saxon Time Lords Who Fashion Watch Movements From Woolly Mammoth Tusks
If you’ve never heard of Lang & Heyne before, let me say one thing: You’re welcome. It’s totally forgivable to have missed the memo on this Dresden-based gem, because they don’t make too much noise about their work. But they should. And here’s three reasons why.
Black polished, blued screws: People don’t often think about the time and effort that goes into the creation of a screw that will call a luxury watch home. In fact, I’d wager most people just think screws exist without having to be made. At Lang & Heyne every screw is black polished (using diamond paste and a zinc plate to remove any pits or striations from the surface of the metal), and a great many screws are then heat blued. An excellent aBlogtoWatch article estimates that each screw costs somewhere in the region of €100 when you factor in materials and man hours. Wow.
Mammoth Ivory movements don’t fall from the sky: I’m a bit of a sucker for new materials, but Lang & Heyne reminded me of something very important – new materials for watchmaking, doesn’t necessarily mean new materials period. Whilst we firmly believe the trade in (and use of) modern elephant ivory is abhorrent and should be prevented at all costs, the controlled use of ivory from the tusks of extinct woolly mammoths – in this case from a site in the Siberian wilderness – provides an ethical (if highly prized) alternative. Want a watch with a mammoth ivory movement? Last I heard ETA weren’t making those…
Hand engraving: I could have picked any one of the sweet, artisanal skills possessed by the Lang & Heyne workforce en masse, but I went with engraving because it features on every one of their watches. Watchmaking and traditional engraving go together like cake and ice cream. The result, in the case of Lang & Heyne, is always delicious.