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Ferdinand A. LangeA. Lange & Söhne

F. A. Lange Scholarship & Watchmaking Excellence AwardIn the Footsteps of Ferdinand A. Lange

Great ideas need inspiration. The brilliant idea of founding a watch-making factory in Saxony came to the young Dresden watchmaker Ferdinand A. Lange during his years of travel. From 1837 to 1841 they led him to the centres of precision watchmaking at the time: London, Paris and Switzerland. His experiences gave rise to a plan, which led to the establishment of his own company on 7 December 1845.

165 years later A. Lange & Söhne is starting the project „F. A. Lange Scholarship & Watchmaking Excellence Award”, a programme of further training for talented young watchmakers from all over the world, which culminates in a competition with a prize of Euro 10,000. At the start of the project there is a ten-day study trip to Dresden and Glashütte, London, Paris as well as Geneva and the Vallée de Joux. It offers talented young watchmakers the opportunity to collect a wide range of impressions and become acquainted with Lange’s current understanding of precision watchmaking. The subsequent competition gives them the opportunity to convert the impressions they have gained into constructive ideas.

Eight young watchmakers were selected

In May Lange presented the project to 30 leading watchmaking schools from all over the world and invited them to put forward their best students. Seven young male watchmakers and one female watchmaker were selected from the applications. They come from Switzerland, Japan, France, Germany, Denmark and Finland. Dresden and Glashütte were the first stops on the trip in the footsteps of Ferdinand A. Lange. Here the participants spent four days learning about the cultural roots of the traditional brand A. Lange & Söhne. Exciting finishing and installation workshops in the Lange Watchmaking School imparted traditional decorating techniques such as perlage of a three-quarter movement plate and polishing gold chatons or special features typical of the brand such as the second assembly of a Lange calibre. The prelude in Saxony was followed by two-day stays in London, Paris and Switzerland. The numerous destinations visited included the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich with its famous Harrison clocks as well as the Observatoire de Paris together with the manufactory of Jaeger-LeCoultre and the workshops of the renowned Swiss watchmaker Philippe Dufour.

Jury of experts

On the last day of their stay in Saxony Katja König, the head of the Lange Watchmaking School, presented the eight candidates with their task for the competition: the participants have three months after the trip to build a fully operational equation of time indication. The equation of the time is one of the classic watchmaking complications. It shows the difference between the mean and the true solar time. There is a completely free choice of the representation of the mechanism and the materials to be used. In autumn, the works will be judged by a jury of experts composed of watchmakers, calibre designers, scientists and specialised journalists. In addition to originality and the novelty the idea, the assessment criteria include functionality as well as the technical and craftsmanship quality of implementation. The winner will be announced on 7 December, the day the company was established. The prize money is earmarked for further watchmaking studies.