Rolf Lang (born January, 17, 1948, Gera in Thuringia) is an independent watchmaker and instructor, once the principal restorer of The Dresden Mathematical and Physics Society and the principal designer of the watch mark Tutima/SA in Glashütte.
Life and professional development
Rolf Lang was born in the family of independent watchmaker and bank economist Heinz Lang in 1948, in the German Democratic Republic. Together with his three brothers and sisters, Rolf Lang grew up in the small town of Gera in Thuringia observing three generations of watchmaking tradition from early childhood. It may now seem that his destiny as a watchmaker was arranged in advance; however, things did not work that easily those days. In accordance with the decision of the VIII Congress of the United Social Party of Germany, Rolf Lang, being a son of the hereditary watchmaker, wasn’t allowed to continue his family tradition.
However, in 1954 Rolf Lang started visiting Polytechnic Secondary School in Münchenbernsdorf. After graduating from school in 1964 he spent three years studying watchmaking craft professionally in his father’s workshop.Then he started visiting an evening course at the People’s University in the town of Gera and got his matriculation certificate in 1970. During this period Rolf Lang experienced some major changes in his private life. He married Margitta Lang (nee Gruphold) and in 1968 his daughter Christiane Lang was born. After the Langs had a long-awaited son, Marco (who will successfully continue the family tradition of watchmaking), in 1971, the family became complete. At the time of his matriculation examination Rolf Lang worked as a precision mechanics specialist in VEB Carl Zeiss Jena Company (1968 – 1969) and, from 1969, for his father’s company. Rolf also served in the National People’s Army (1969 – 1971).
Rolf Lang showed himself to be a skilled artisan from a young age and knew a lot about the secrets of the art of watchmaking, and so he was able to obtain the title of Master-watchmaker. From 1971 to 1976 Rolf Lang worked as a watchmaker for the VEB technical repair company which gave him an opportunity to become a master of manufacturing training in Jena, Germany.
Then he moved to Dresden where he continued working for the VEB. In Dresden Rolf was expected to get the managing position so he worked as the service workshop master in the sphere of watch repairs until 1979.
Simultaneously Rolf Lang was studying at the High School of Economics and Finance in absentia with a certificate after graduating, as well as attending a restorers’ course in the German Museum of Berlin (1981 – 1985).
After receiving admittance as a watch restorer Rolf Lang spent much time restoring historical watches with the second balance wheel as well as marine chronometers and other precious timepieces.
At the same time Lang worked as a part-time watch restorer for the Dresden Mathematical and Physics Society (1979 – 1989). There he had a chance to observe one of the largest collections of watches and precise mechanic instruments and, due to his job, Rolf Lang could study the mechanics of the watches as well as some relevant technology of handmade watches.
In 1981 Rolf Lang founded the “Watch Restorers” group in Dresden and became their principal. In 1987 Mr Lang became the Principal Restorer of the Dresden Mathematical and Physics Society. Furthermore, since 1988 he has been an active member of the German Society of Watch Chronometry.
In 1989 Rolf Lang founded his own restoration workshop in Dresden. The programme of the workshop involved historical timepiece restoration as well as design of new makes of high quality watches. The principal milestone in Rolf Lang’s career was the opening of the company branch in Glashütte in 1990, immediately after German Reunification. Furthermore, the foundation of a joint venture company A. Lange & Söhne in Glashütte in 1994 contributed to Lang’s fame as an accomplished watchmaker. Not only was Mr Lang the model designer, he was also responsible for professional training (beginning in 1999). From 2001 to 2002 Rolf Lang worked on a special project as 38 gauge watch chief designer (a project which is still ongoing).
In accordance with the family tradition, Rolf Lang encouraged his son, Marco, to create his own watchmaking workshop Lang & Heine in Dresden. Being a fifth-generation watchmaker, Marco Lang could observe his father’s work from early childhood thus studying the watchmaking craft from the very beginning.
From 2003 to 2007 Rolf Lang was a manager and Chief Model Designer for Moser and Cie, Schaffhausen; in 2004 he founded The Circle of Interests of Saxon Watchmaking Art and Craft. In 2007 he returned to the Tutima Branch, Glashütte, as the Chief of Design Department. There Mr Lang created the first minute repeater as a wristwatch in Germany, which was another important milestone in his career as a watchmaker.
Since 2012 Rolf Lang started working on creating his own trademark of watches, Rolf Lang Dresden