There are two ways to look at how Lange is doing on the secondary market, and everything is case by case. There are examples of early Langes doing incredibly well in the auction world – a Pour le Merite Tourbillon in yellow gold from 1996 sold for $188,500 in June of this year. That is a big number, when you consider the last known retail price for this first of the modern Lange tourbillons was about half the hammer price.
In one sale in October of 2011 (Sotheby’s Hong Kong), three new records were set for Lange prices. A limited edition two piece set of Grand Lange 1 “Lunda Mundi” watches hit 93,750 euros, or more than twice their original selling price in 2003. The same day, an LE 1815 Moonphase Homage to FA Lange in honey gold sold for 26,300 euros, a 45% increase in value since its launch just 1 year before. A white gold Zeitwerk also sold that day in Hong Kong for 65,000 euro, or 40% above its original 2009 retail price. These are impressive numbers for a young brand. So impressive in fact, that Lange sent out a press release about it, as if to directly address anyone who might say they could never match the ROI of some of the current heavyweights.
Lange is indeed mediating the issue of their resale values, and in the cases of the pieces mentioned above, they have much to be proud of. Still, there is a ways to go if Lange is to consistently sell well in the after-market, but that simply means there is tremendous value in some of the earlier Lange watches right now. For example, say you are the average Greenwich, Connecticut-dwelling man of some means and you walk into the wonderful Betteridge Jewelers to look at this year’s Datograph UP/DOWN. You are told the price of this watch is $87,600 in platinum. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see a watch that looks almost the same as the new Datograph you’ve just been shown, but it’s at the “Pre-Owned” counter. In fact it is a Datograph, the earlier 39mm version with shorter power reserve, and you ask how much it is. The sales person tells you “$45,000”. That’s a difference of $42,700 between the original Datograph (pre-owned) and the new Datograph UP/DOWN (brand new). That, dear readers, is a big difference, and here in lies the beauty and value of what Lange is (a superior watch manufacture making truly exceptional products) and what Lange isn’t (known by watch buyers en mass), meaning there are truly tremendous deals to be had before Lange becomes a known entity to all serious watch buyers. There will be a market correction for some of these great watches from Lange, and I can promise you, you will be thinking back to this day, when you could buy these watches for what you can currently, and say “damn, i should have bought it back then.” Lange has an indisputably bright future, and the fact that they are already paying attention to their own collectors’ market means it will be managed very carefully.