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Gravity: A. Lange & Söhne x Quentin Carnaille (Ep.1)

Anna Wu-Chauvineau
Le 2 February 2017

Today is an important day indeed. It is the day that we share the accomplishment of a project we hold dear to our hearts with all of you: a collaboration with a fine watchmaker. Lo and behold, the brand isn’t Swiss but German. I’m speaking of one of the manufactures from Glashütte: A. Lange & Söhne.

Walter Lange passed away recently and left behind an important legacy as well as a distinguished establishment, which deserves our utmost esteem. Without further ado, I present to you the first of four short films. This first take on A. Lange & Söhne’s excellence in fine watchmaking is dedicated to the tourbillon and to the notion of gravity. It is entitled “Fighting Gravity.”

A central element: Gravity

Two complementary and yet completely opposite artistic approaches for the same theme: a watchmaker and an artist who challenge Gravity. A force that prevents us from flying away, yes, but also one that creates deviation in function accuracy depending on the different positions of the watch throughout the day.

It’s with this same force, however, that the necessary momentum is provided for the oscillating weight to generate motive power, thus making movement possible.

A Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Calendar

With the invention of the tourbillon, the French word for “whirlwind,” watchmakers discovered a way to outfox gravity. It is a filigreed steel cage that contains the oscillator of the watch and rotates about its axis once a minute. Thanks to its constant motion, this fascinating mechanism offsets the influence of gravity on the rate accuracy of the timepiece.

We wish to share the technical nature and precision of these pieces with you but also the poetry and elegance of this complication when it takes form in the workshops of A. Lange & Söhne.

Same vision, different paths

To make this happen, we went to the heart of the German watchmaker’s manufactory and called upon another artist who likes to confront gravity: Quentin Carnaille (discover his artwork here).

Quentin Carnaille

You may know Quentin from his watchmaking-related artwork that plays with movements, cogs and wheels hanging in the air.

Quentin Carnaille

The work we’re interested in today drifts away from watchmaking. Entitled “Introspection,” four identical columns stand firmly and cubes hover at just a few centimeters above their smooth and black surface.

Each column is fixed down to the ground, representing the body in all its materialness. The floating cubes represent the mind in its natural state of lightness. Beautiful symbols that we would like to see applied to watchmaking more often. The connection here is clear.

The tourbillon of A. Lange & Söhne

The tourbillon of A. Lange & Söhne is an extremely complex achievement, a high degree of precision with an incomparable finish. The tourbillon bridge and the upper part of the cage are black-polished: this is one of the most sophisticated and challenging finishing techniques performed exclusively on very few components such as the tourbillon. It takes several days to polish just one single part. Be that as it may, from all this intricate complexity, a certain clarity is born and an almost poetic one for which we find ourselves at a loss of words. Lange’s method of craftsmanship is certainly a key element when the examining degree of precision and accuracy of the work. As for emotion, that comes from elsewhere…

This emotion is what we hope to share with you today through this short cinematic experience. An emotion that comes from beautiful and exceptional timepieces. The very kind of feeling that inspires us, no matter how close or far away we are from making this « wrist-dream » come true…