Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award 2019

Tenth round of the A. Lange & Söhne talent competition

Eight young watchmakers from five countries are participating in this year’s Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award competition. After a three-day workshop programme, they returned home with an exciting assignment: to craft a retrograde display. They can take seven months to complete the project.

Exploring precision watchmaking artistry with curiosity and enthusiasm: this is the objective of the Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award introduced in 2010. Named after the company founder, the competition offers talented young watchmakers from all over the world an opportunity to gain detailed insights into high-end horology. Subsequently, they can demonstrate their skills and in the process win 10,000 euros for further training.

“The creativity and artisanal execution of the work submitted so far impressively documents the high quality of international watchmaking teaching. These young individuals deserve our praise and justify our hopes concerning the future of precision watchmaking,” said Lange CEO Wilhelm Schmid, commenting on the tenth year of the competition.

Eight candidates aged 16 to 27 qualified to attend this year’s award event. They hail from Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland and Japan, and rank among the best students at the watchmaking schools that were invited to participate. Each school was entitled to nominate three contestants.

The aspiring watchmakers visited Dresden and Glashütte from 13 to 16 May 2019. The highlights of the programme included a tour of the manufactory as well as of the finissage, engraving and watchmaking ateliers. They were shown a collection of earlier competition entries, spent a day in the Dresden State Art Collections and visited the restoration workshop of the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments.

On the last day, Anthony de Haas, director of product development at Lange, disclosed the long-awaited competition assignment. The contestants have until 6 January 2020 to develop and craft a retrograde display. In a retrograde display, the hand sweeps over only a segment of a circle: when it reaches the end, the hand jumps back to the beginning of the segment. A base movement is provided for this task. The display, whether new or modified, must not only function flawlessly but also be aesthetically pleasing.

A jury of experts will rate the submissions. The prizes will be awarded within the scope of an international press event in Geneva at the 2020 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH).