Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award

The first prize goes to Finland

Yet again, the ninth edition of the competition hosted by A. Lange & Söhne documents the creative potential of talented young watchmakers. The formidable challenge: to build a watch with an acoustic indication. The jury of experts was enthusiastic about the eight submitted entries. It voted in favour of the “Ostinato” repetition watch crafted by Otto Peltola, a 22-year-old student of the watchmaking school in Espoo, Finland. He is delighted with the prize of 10,000 euro.


The assignment for the Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award was “Design and build an acoustic indication”. It was announced in April 2018 within the scope of a project week at the Lange manufactory. Eight talented watchmakers from Germany, Finland, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland, each nominated by their schools, were given half a year to complete the task.

In late November 2018, the four-person jury convened to analyse and assess the submitted entries. In addition to Anthony de Haas, head of product development at Lange, the jury members were journalists Gisbert L. Brunner and Peter Braun as well as Dr Peter Plassmeyer, the director of the Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments in Dresden.

In a vibrant atmosphere, the verdict of the jury was unanimous: With his “Ostinato” repetition watch that sounds quarter-hour intervals with different sequences of tones, Otto Peltola from The Finnish School of Watchmaking in Espoo was chosen as the winner in all four competition categories. His movement stood out with originality, functionality, artisanal quality and aesthetics. The perfectly executed acoustic time indication was particularly impressive. Its reverberant and very melodic tone sequences are struck on six gongs. The innovative construction of the strikework reflects the young watchmaker’s background in a family of musicians. In the world of music, “Ostinato” is the designation for a continually repeated musical phrase or rhythm.

The jury experienced inspiring moments and praised the creative level of all eight projects. It was better overall than in prior years. Solid ideas were presented, but also exciting and unexpectedly new ones that had not been anticipated given the complex assignment.

Based on their above-average performance, two further participants received special commendations: Their movements were persuasive on account of their exceptional underlying ideas as well as the way they were implemented and completed.

The entry of Linda Holzwarth from the German Goldsmithing and Watchmaking School in Pforzheim featured an acoustic power-reserve indication with a differential gearing of her own design. Her watch was compelling mainly with a sleek idea that was perfectly and completely implemented. Decorative elements such as a customised rack and a hand-guilloched dial were further highlights.

The acoustic temperature-difference display created by Yutaro Iizuka, a student of the Watchmaker Department at the Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry in Tokyo, elicited enthusiasm as well. His idea was inspired by a historic role model and relies on the bimetallic strip principle. The watch reflects strong ties with Japanese culture and underwent massive changes to its basic movement. The strikework features a peripheral ring crafted from indigenous Japanese rock that is struck by a hammer. 

In the evening on 15 January 2019, Lange CEO Wilhelm Schmid handed the 10,000-euro prize over to winner Otto Peltola. The award presentation took place within the scope of an inter­national press event during the Geneva Salon (SIHH). With the evening’s laudatory speech, the Lange management thanked the long-standing jury members for continuing Walter Lange’s talent scouting project and saluted the participants and the watchmaking schools for their great dedication.