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Challenge for young talent

A. Lange & Söhne hosts new international talent competition

Eight young watchmakers from seven countries – the USA, from Denmark, Schweden, Finland, France, the Netherlands and Germany - are participating in this year’s “F. A. Lange Scholarship & Watchmaking Excellence Award”. In early May 2017, they were acquainted with Lange watchmaking artistry in Glashütte and Dresden, and received the competition assignment. This year, it involves the development of a regulator. The 10,000-euro prize will be awarded next December.

A. Lange & Söhne has been hosting global competitions for young watchmakers since 2010. For Lange CEO Wilhelm Schmid, this is rooted in a voluntary commitment to talent promotion associated with the history of the brand. “In his day, Ferdinand Adolph Lange placed great emphasis on encouraging aspiring youngsters. This is important for us as well, because it allows us to evolve precision watchmaking,” Schmid added.

As in previous years, the competition spans several phases. The kick-off took place early this year with an invitation circulated to over 30 watchmaking schools. The candidates were nominated by their schools and eight of them were chosen. They visited Dresden and Glashütte from 2 to 6 May 2017. Apart from a manufactory tour, the extensive programme also included various workshop sessions focused on artisanship. Under the professional supervision of engravers, finishers and watchmakers, the youngsters were familiarised with special techniques such as tremblage, bevel polishing and circumferential finissage. Furthermore, they assembled a Lange calibre, an assignment that because of the sensitive German silver parts represents a big challenge even for experienced watchmakers. Activities in Dresden such as visits of several museums rounded out the programme.

This year again, the highlight for the participants was the announcement of the competition assignment by Anthony de Haas, director of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne. They have six months to design and build a regulator. A base movement of ETA will be provided for this purpose. “The spatially separated hour, minute, and seconds displays are typical features of this type of watch, which is also referred to as a reference timepiece,” de Haas explained while outlining the characteristics of regulators. In the past, regulators were used to adjust other timepieces. Their key function is to precisely indicate the minutes on the main dial to ensure error-free synchronisation. Two separate subsidiary dials display the hours and seconds. “The participants are not bound to the historic predecessors but explicitly invited to freely interpret the assignment,” explained de Haas.

An expert jury will appraise the submitted solutions in November. The winner will be announced in December.