I am deeply saddened to share with you that Reinhard Meis has passed away on January 3, 2023 after a prolonged illness. He was 83 years old. And also remember the passing of Walter Lange on this day in 2017.
Obituary: Reinhard Meis (1940 to Jan 3, 2023)
Reinhard Meis was instrumental in the creation story of the reborn A. Lange & Söhne together with the key figures of Günter Blümlein and Walter Lange. I learned of Meis’s passing in a note from Axel Felmy, who served as the Sales Director for Lange in the early years, only yesterday.
We featured an interview/conversation with Reinhard Meis which revealed some of his character and personality in a joint article with Peter Braun. This was a collaboration with Armbanduhren Magazine in Germany, with special facilitation by our special correspondant, Dr. Frank Müller of The Bridge to Luxury. The article has been published in Issue 1 of Armbanduhren for 2021, and remains one of the few interviews that have been published. The interview was re-published on receipt of the news of his passing.
He was one of the most remarkable watch and movement designers of our time. And had a gift of being superbly creative with a deep knowledge of the technical and historical aspects of watchmaking. His was an unusual skill. While not a watchmaker by training, he had enough knowledge and understanding of the fine mechanics that he could provide direction and guidance to the prototyping watchmakers. While not a designer by trade, he had the sensibilities and understanding of aesthetics to be able to design dials and movement layouts.
Some may not be familiar with his name, but certainly his work speaks for him. He was responsible for the design of the Lange 1, the Saxonia, the Arkade and the Datograph amongst others. He was also a prolific writer, either in collaboration with others, or on his own. Here is a partial list of his works found on Amazon.com.
I have known him personally for several decades. It was not easy to communicate with him, the least of the issues being that he hardly spoke English, and my German was even worse than his command of English. But through various translators, we managed to communicate. The interview with Braun took almost a year to set up and complete.
I remember well a session set up by Kirsten Hultzch from Lange’s PR department, when I was preparing for my book ” A. Lange & Sohne: The Pour le Mérite Collection”. This was in 2010, and the session was to take place over a telephone call. He had no email, and operated only via telephone and fax. Notes from him were hand written, or typed out and faxed. We had earlier faxed the questions, duly translated by Kirsten, over to him. And the discussion took 4 hours! But I was grateful. He was a fount of knowledge of the early years of the brand. And gave more than a glimpse of what it was like to work for the late great Günter Blümlein. I knew what Blümlein was like as a collector and journalist, but Meis was able to give an insight of working with the man.
On another occasion, somewhere in the about 2000, I was visiting his office in Schaffhausen. He had an office just next door to Blümlein’s. And on his wall were pinned sketches of watches which were to be revealed 10 years later. One of the interesting designs I saw was the Lange 1 Timezone, which was launched in 2005. Of course, I was not to talk about what I had seen.
“Reinhard Meis to me was the most complex watch developper. He was not only a highly capable classical designer able to truly apply the golden cut for perfectly balanced timepieces but also an engineer, knowledgeable historian and writer. The Datograph will be his legacy.”Dr. Frank Müller, A Bridge to Luxury. Special Correspondent, Deployant.
In memoriam: Walter Lange (1924-2017)
I also take a moment to remember that Walter Lange passed away on January 17, 2017. I have written several In memoriam articles on Walter’s passing:
We take a moment to remember both these gentlemen, and may they rest in peace.