The 2018 Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award has concluded: the residue has settled, the apparatuses have been put down, and the participants are on to other tasks.
The champ of the 2018 Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence award, Otto Peltola, was announced at SIHH 2019 at the annual Lange Friends Dinner, which included journalists, collectors, and, as the name suggests, companions of the brand.
It may appear as though quite a while has passed since I previously gave an account of the start of the competition back in May 2018 in Behind The Scenes Of The 2018 Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award, Now Underway , however in the interceding months time genuinely flew by for the contestants as they brainstormed, sketched, cut, turned, documented, cleaned, assembled, tried, adjusted, and reassembled their projects trying to be crowned the current year’s winner.
Eight commendable contestants put their hard labor into some fantastic ideas for a fascinating and innovative acoustic indication, at that point worked persistently over nearly seven months to realize the designs mandated to include a chiming element.
In my first report , I set a variety of conceivable outcomes that I figured the contestants may follow, and some followed paths I had imagined. In any case, others were amazingly outside the container. This demonstrates that creativity isn’t dead in watchmaking school, and the future holds huge amazements for all watch enthusiasts.
You may want to take a gander at Behind The Scenes Of The 2018 Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award, Now Underway for a boost of the project and its participants.
It may come as nothing unexpected that the triumphant project came from the competitor with a deep background in music and featured a musical cord movement when you realize that the task ought to include a chiming component. The top prize went to Otto Peltola from the Finnish School of Watchmaking for his watch Ostinato, which features a musical quarter chime in passing hitting home of three notes at regular intervals across a staggering array of six gongs.
The result wowed the adjudicators and pushed out some extreme competition from some exceptionally talented students.
While it is easy to take a gander at the completed projects and judge them from a good ways, I favor knowing the process of creation to learn understand how to better one’s abilities. That is the reason I stayed in contact with the competitors throughout the project: to get a little look into each student’s process and perhaps glean a few chunks of win and failure from the group.
Today I offer a brief look into what it resembled for the students to participate in the Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award and feature a few details that show how passionate and clever these students are. I’ll also expound on Peltola’s triumphant accommodation as well as that of the two other participants, Linda Holzwarth and Yutaro Iizuka, who provided exceptional passages that also stood apart to the judges.
Long road of development
The process began the day after all the competitors got back from the week in Glashütte, and when I had checked in with them for my first article only half a month later all of them had a lot of ideas. In any case, ideas don’t simply translate into workable designs, and regularly the students had to accomplish more research to confirm these were valid.
Take Holzwarth as an example. Hailing from the Goldschmiedeschule mit Uhrmacherschule in Pforzheim , Germany, she had an idea to create an acoustic force hold indication since the provided ETA 6498 base development is a manual breeze without a force save function. During the initial brainstorming, she concluded that the function ought to be based on an all over mechanism. And thanks to certain writings by Alfred Helwig and Horst Hassler, two arrangements in particular were advanced, one of which appeared to be daunting while another appeared to be a safe bet.
But after further sketching, design, and building a physical model to test the leading idea, it was determined that the best option, a friction clutch/ratchet wheel configuration, was a dead end and the more difficult mechanism based on a differential was the best workable arrangement. Which meant that Holzwarth currently needed to manufacture her own personal micro-differential, no trivial task in itself.
This drove Holzwarth to manufacture another model to determine if the mechanism was feasible with her gear and abilities as the whole design presently relied on a custom differential. The idea demonstrated successful and then the real development began.
Yutaro Iizuka had a similar story for a much extraordinary idea. Iizuka, who learns at the Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry & Watchmaking in Tokyo , wanted to construct an indication that is rather rare: one that chimes at a specific temperature. Clearly, he would have a difficult, but not impossible task ahead. Utilizing Abraham-Louis Breguet’s development as inspiration, Iizuka researched how to successfully create a bimetal thermometer, discovering that when Breguet crafted one he utilized a combination of zinc and steel. Iizuka did as well.
It took over a month and various attempts to create a bimetal component that would function appropriately, which at that point provoked research into how to tune and calibrate the component. All of this needed to be accomplished before the mechanism could really be designed as the physical properties of the component he made would determine where and how the component could interface with the remainder of the thermometer mechanism.
This same story was inexactly shared across many of the students’ projects. Peltola, the eventual champ, spent quite a while focusing on creating his six gongs and tuning them prior to continuing with the remainder of the design as his whole concept was based on the accurate creation of various musical chords.
Both Aaron Rüegger and Per Pucher, students at ZeitZentrum Uhrmacherschule in Grenchen, Switzerland, stated that the design for their projects was in motion well into construction as the exact configuration wasn’t finalized until some critical components were successfully created. And practically all the students had to work around their actual student work, exams, and the restricted availability of workshop time throughout the late spring when school wasn’t in session.
Making sounds, beautiful and varied
By the time I got back in touch with everybody with barely two months left until the deadline, all the students were well en route to creating the awesome projects they would submit. Of course, I found out about designs still not being completely finalized for the reasons I referenced previously, and many had already had their fair share of failures and setbacks that demonstrated exactly how hard the task was.
It was also clear that many of the students were learning by leaps and limits just to complete their projects, and based on what was submitted I think it was because the competitors were propelling themselves somewhat farther than they accepted they could do. A great deal of swinging for the fences in this bunch.
But regardless of the design direction, the final outcome actually needed to include an acoustic indication, which meant everybody needed to make something that created a sound here and there. It turns out the gathering was more than capable – and then some.
Two competitors, Matéo Cattin of Lycée Polyvalent Edgar Faure in Morteau , France, and Rüegger, both went down the path of creating music box-style acoustics. Cattin created an alarm that utilized a mechanism reminiscent of the Ulysse Nardin Stranger that plucked tuned comb fingers, while Rüegger developed a sliding cylinder that pre-owned two columns of pins activating a tuned comb in various pairs of tones based on interfacing with a ventured wheel.
Holzwarth adopted an alternate strategy, utilizing a nickel-silver chime to indicate the force save, mounted simply off the side of the main development. This almost clearly provided a significant sound given the size of the bell.
Iizuka’s work was a real standout. Understanding that achieving a beautiful tone with metal was exceedingly difficult, he directed his concentration toward musical instruments for inspiration and landed on the lithophone, a kin instrument to the xylophone or marimba. The lithopone utilizes special stones that are of the correct composition to create exquisite tones when struck.
In Japan, the Sanukite stone is commonly utilized for this reason, frequently being made into wind chimes as well, meaning the stone is relatively easy to obtain. Iizuka tried with the stone and discovered it to provide a rich sound most could just expect. And since it is a natural material, each piece of stone is special, sounding somewhat unique in relation to the others, meaning that lone Iizuka’s watch will have those exact tones.
The other half of the field created more traditional gongs, no easy task in itself as making a gong generating a clean and clear tone is amazingly difficult. As Peltola’s triumphant example shows, tradition will be tradition for a reason. And when you duplicate tradition multiple times you will undoubtedly make somebody sit up and take notice.
Regardless of the techniques used to create the sound, all of the pieces showed creativity in the implementation, and no two pieces utilized similar mechanisms or strategies. It was fantastic to see varied approaches to the same problem.
Ostinato by Otto Peltola: the winner
As recently stated, Peltola, the victor of the competition, was from the Finnish School of Watchmaking in Leppävaara, Espoo, Finland. With his musical background and information on acoustics and musical hypothesis, Peltola set about to create something that had harmony and was as rich as feasible for such a small mechanism.
He realized that focusing on chords could assist him with achieving his goal of a meaningful sound on such delicate gongs. Utilizing a chord movement of triads (three notes) he created a quarter chime in passing that cycles through chords in the key of C major.
It specifically cycles through the C major, A minor, F major, and G7 major chords like clockwork utilizing six gongs and six hammers. The hammers are driven by a vertical cylinder with four vertical columns of five pins, or if nothing else five situations for the pins. Depending on the chord played, the pins may activate gongs on one or the two sides, and the hammers have specific balances to engage in the appropriate order based on how the pins are installed.
The pin cylinder is mounted to a four-pointed star and a gear wheel, however isn’t locked to the rotation of the wheel. The cylinder and star wheel connect to the axis of the gear wheel with an intermediate spring that allows for approximately 72 degrees of rotation. The reason for this is as per the following: when the gear wheel rotates, the pin cylinder rotates with it until it is halted by a locking arm at one of the four-star wheel positions. This locking arm is riding on a four-arm snail cam attached to the primary driving wheel. The two gear wheels continue to rotate over the long haul, yet the cylinder is locked and being charged for the hop with the intermediate spring.
When the locking arm falls off the snail cam arm, it unlocks the pin cylinder allowing it to bounce forward to catch up to the gear wheel it is mounted on. This bounce allows an instantaneous release of the pin cylinder and the hammers for a coordinated chord chime. This ballet of mechanics happens like clockwork, meaning the chord movement is never excessively far away to share with your friends.
The development features an extremely minimal dial and a straightforward ring around the edge that hides the hammers from see. This is very intentional as the dial ring actually acts as an extension for the hammers, making the part a critical component to the function of the chime in passing. A central cock supporting the remainder of the components runs vertically up the center of the dial, upheld at just one end, and has the number “12” engraved to help arrange the dial visually.
The completing is straightforward yet clean, and the six gongs are nicely polished.
The result is shocking, and Peltola admitted he astonished himself as he battled to start the project among his other work and the mid year holiday. He didn’t genuinely get working in earnest until August (the deadline was the principal week in November), which put him at a disadvantage over the individuals who had the option to work through the holidays. All things considered, he set some things in motion and earned admiration from the appointed authorities and A. Lange & Söhne for his efforts.
Peltola felt his greatest obstacle in the project was creating the gongs and the chord mechanism. He was so put resources into the musicality of the watch that he realized he needed to make something that sounded fantastic. Once he was finally happy with the sound, he felt a tremendous weight eliminated from his shoulders. The sound was also what he felt was his greatest achievement since music is so important to him personally.
How the competition played out
But regardless of how satisfied somebody is with a project, it actually has to be judged. And that is exactly what occurred in November as the four jury individuals gathered at A. Lange & Söhne’s headquarters in Glashütte.
In addition to A. Lange & Söhne’s director of product development Anthony de Haas, the jury consisted of German watch journalists Gisbert Brunner and Peter Braun as well as the director of the Royal Cabinet of Mathematics and Physics Instruments in Dresden , Peter Plassmeyer. Each jury part brought an interesting perspective as they dissected and discussed each piece.
But what exactly helped the Ostinato take the top spot?
According to head judge de Haas, the jury instinctively searches for quite certain things first thing. He states that, “When you grasp the developments interestingly, you immediately ask yourself, are they clean? Have they been done? What do the surfaces resemble? How creative and original is the entire thing?”
The jury also searches for things like functionality, craftsmanship, originality, and esthetics, signs that expertise and design were driving the creation of the entries. De Haas proceeded to say that, “This year, Otto’s project was the one that propelled us the most. He quickly arose as the victor. He had an extraordinary idea and tried it perfectly with a homage to the acoustic display. To make six gongs, you have to initially do it and then deal with it. I believe that is completely underestimated.”
But the jury could not disregard different entries, all of which showed talent, passion, and ability dedicated to creating something new.
“The craftsmanship is frequently the most astonishing thing. This is demonstrated by projects as holzwarth Linda, (who linearly and logically actualized an idea – from the preliminary consideration to execution and project documentation,” de Haas continued.
I asked him specifically on the off chance that anything was totally unexpected or amazing this year and he said, “It was the development presented by our Japanese participant, Yutaro Iizuka. He chose an external ring made of Japanese rock – Sanukite – and acoustically addressed a temperature difference display. He utilized the stone as a sounding body and adjusted the basic development considerably. I didn’t expect that, and that definitely emphatically astounded me.”
De Haas also explained, “We are frequently amazed by the modesty of the arrangements. The completely various approaches of the gathering are also exciting. There are the individuals who concentrate on classic arrangements and there are other people who go completely new ways. Both can be great.”
As regularly happens in a competition on a deadline, individuals can get too focused on the details. And de Haas reiterated that this always leads to some coming up short because of not exactly functional projects.
“We frequently see watches that don’t achieve their goal. That is the reason we attempt to warn against it. The students go through seven days with us in the spring and are overly ambitious afterwards. That is exactly the danger – they become mixed up in details and are unable to complete the piece eventually. They underestimate the implementation process. A half year is an extremely brief timeframe when you consider that the watchmaker training course runs at the same time. That is the reason we say to them, ‘start immediately and don’t get impeded in details’.”
It is clear that the jury more likely than not had a difficult stretch passing judgment on all the pieces this year as de Haas explained, “When we sit along with the jury in November, the initial introduction is always the same: ‘Hello! Goodness! That’s acceptable! This work is super exciting’!”
Taking eight entries from talented students requires some strong but fair affection, maybe, as one always stand out as the best implementation, yet this doesn’t negate the quality and hard work of all the other competitors.
Judging by the gathering photograph of the submitted developments, it definitely resembled a decent crop for the jury to focus on. And luckily for Peltola and his Ostinato, the jury unanimously agreed that his piece get the profoundly coveted nod.
A word from champ Otto Peltola
When asked what he learned most from this competition, Peltola had an amazing (or perhaps not that astonishing) answer. A piece before the competition passage deadline, in late winter of 2018, Peltola admitted he was grappling with the idea of taking part in the competition as it appeared rather daunting.
He was stressed he may fail, which to me seems like an entirely understandable concern while attempting something so large interestingly. After speaking with his family and companions, and most specifically his better half, he was convinced to make the attempt and applied for the competition.
His sweetheart provided much-needed encouragement through the whole process, helping Peltola stay motivated during the inevitable hard occasions of creating something new. She more than once said, “Look what you’ve made; you have come far. You almost didn’t even apply.” To Peltola, the most lasting effect he was had with was that you have to put stock in yourself.
And I think this competition is a perfect example of that exercise. Eight youthful watchmaking students came along with dramatically various backgrounds and motivations to take part in a competition that necessary maturity and a quest for excellence. Yet, more importantly, they just learned to trust in themselves.
They all tried sincerely and endured, creating something that they could be glad for. Indeed, even those facing significant challenges, or not succeeding in creating what they had in their heads, actually made something very difficult.
The 2018 version of the Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award was a lengthy, difficult experience that passed by too fast it appears to me; we are already gearing up for the 2019 release as schools around the world set forth their best watchmakers.
I adored being a part of this story and having the chance to see the inward functions of the greatest student watchmaking competition on the planet. Individuals required from A. Lange & Söhne as well as the students demonstrated that passion and dedication can create openings from dreams.
I want to congratulate each competitor for a job done the right way; it was an honor to cover your excursion. I also want to thank the fantastic individuals at A. Lange & Söhne for their thoughtfulness and liberality in giving me the rare chance to be a part of the process. I’m anticipating hearing about the following competition, and I wish all potential competitors great luck.
And make sure to put stock in yourselves!
For more information, please visit A. Lange & Söhne’s Walter Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award page .
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