I have long been fascinated by leadership, both in sporting teams and businesses. The notions of struggle, victory and defeat, and seeing individuals fight together for something greater than themselves is particularly inspiring. Men like Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia or Jason Fried, founder of Basecamp, are two men who have driven to try things others wouldn’t, and as a result have created cultures that reflect the characters behind them. And like any great organisation, it's the standards set from the top that filter down and impact every decision made. Nowhere is this truer than at A. Lange & Söhne, the German watchmaker which is so fastidious in its attention to detail that it famously decorates parts of their movements the wearer will never see.
Not only am I a huge fan of A. Lange & Söhne from a product perspective - they’ve designed some of the sexiest damn watches ever made - but I’m fascinated by how it manages to stay true to its core values; small volumes, considered design and the very highest levels of finishing even in turbulent times for the watch world (the brand happens to have a true gentleman in Mr Wilhelm Schmid leading it, which helps). And when I got the invite to join their team in Florence for the launch of a new watch, I just knew it was going to be like its movements: executed to perfection. Now, while Lange is a German company, and many of you will correctly wonder why it has crept onto its Richmont stable mate Panerai’s territory of Florence, the trip was not designed to showcase the brand’s past – but rather celebrate craftsmanship, and this involved showcasing a number of artisans in their natural domain.