Kobold mourns the passing of Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, the master watchmaker and founder of Chronoswiss. He was regarded as one of the visionaries who rang in the renaissance of mechanical watches.
Rüdiger was one of the four founding fathers of Kobold and continually supported the company from its inception to the height of its success. Without Rüdiger Lang, Kobold would never have existed.
Rüdiger Lang ended his formal school education early on and opted to learn watchmaking at Jauns, a jeweller in Lang’s hometown of Braunschweig.
Michael Kobold, Jack Heuer (TAG Heuer/Heuer Chronographs), Gerd-R üdiger Lang at the 2017 BaselWorld watch fair.
From there he moved to Switzerland, where he worked under Jack Heuer, the head of Heuer Chronographs (today TAG Heuer), rising to the position of after-sales service director of Heuer’s German subsidiary in Kronberg im Taunus.
After Heuer went bankrupt as a result of tue quartz crisis, Rüdiger purchased a gigantic supply of old mechanical movements, which had become virtually worthless as a result of the modern quartz movement.
In 1980, Rüdiger decided to launch his own brand of watches and named it Chronoswiss. The first Chronoswiss watches were available the next year and met considerable success. The small company specialized in chronographs.
In 1997, Rüdiger Lang and Michael Kobold began working together. Rüdiger’s initial plan was to make Michael his successor at Chronoswiss after a few years of learning the watch trade.
In 1999, Rüdiger suggested that Michael -meanwhile a student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh,- start his own brand of watches in order to broaden his practical experience in the watch industry.
The four founding fathers of Kobold: Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Michael Kobold, Gerd-R üdiger Lang and Carnegie Mellon University entrepreneurship Professor Jack Roseman in 2014 at the Kobold headquarters in Amish Country, Western Pennsylvania.
In 2009, as a result of the global financial crisis, Rüdiger Lang was forced to sell his company and the Chronoswiss brand, his life's work. At the time, R üdiger was widely regarded as one of the greatest leaders in the modern watch industry.
In 2014, Rüdiger Lang attended the grand opening of Kobold’s new manufacturing facility in Amish Country, north of Pittsburgh. After that, Ruedige,r his younger brother Wolfgang, and Michael Kobold went on a cross-country trip to Portland, Oregon, where Ruediger's daughter, Tine, lives with her family. "It was the first time I had seen Ruediger so happy. He become increasingly giddy with excited each day I drove and his brother, Wolfgang, closer to Portland," recalls Michael.
Gerd-Rüdiger Lang died peacefully surrounded by his family on 2 March, 2023 in Starnberg am See, Bavaria.