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Modeling the Universe: A. Lange & Söhne x Felix Kiessling (Ep.2)

Anna Wu-Chauvineau
Le 16 February 2017

The first episode we presented to you two weeks ago made a lasting impression on all of us. Emotions were kindled by the subtle interweaving of art and fine watchmaking, and our horizons broadened.

For your viewing and listening pleasure, we now present the second short film of the four-part series. The universe is the central theme today, represented from two different perspectives: the artist’s and that of the prestigious watch manufacturer A. Lange & Söhne.

Man’s quest to explore the Universe

A. Lange & Söhne Modeling the Universe - Felix Kiessling

For centuries, mankind has tried to apprehend the universe. Countless hours of questioning and reflection lead to different astral and lunar representations. Like master architects, scientists and artists never cease attempting to recreate his celestial environment.

Whether we’re talking about frescoes, painting or sculptures; art has always been a way to express Man’s interpretation of his world, both physical and spiritual. An artist can “reach” the universe by materializing his powerful imagination, and, in doing so, offering observers a moment of escape.

In a comparable way, since the appearance of masterful astral representations on royal clocks, watchmakers have been working to overcome challenges that miniaturizing the universe entails. By the continuous perfecting of movements, the phases of the moon, the sky and constellations, the planets of the solar system and their satellites are brought to life in a wondrous dance. How fascinating it is that Man, alone and in deep contemplation in his own home, has the ability to lose himself in the endless abyss of his mind, way beyond the celestial spheres.

Here, both artist and watchmaker strive to offer Man access to the universe, or at least allow him to briefly project himself there amidst all its complexity and splendor.

The artist Felix Kiessling

Felix Kiessling

An artist based in Berlin, Felix Kiessling, introduces us to his perception of the universe: the immensity, the disturbing silence. His work is quite scientific in the proportions used, the distances calculated and the evaluation of weight.

We have to imagine a great room where we will surely lose our notion of time and space, which, incidentally, is completely in sync with the measures and pulse of the universe. Felix draws and sculpts spherical objects, representing the planets, before hanging them in air, carefully respecting the distance between them. With specific lighting, only the small spheres are lit. A unique experience indeed.

Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna by A. Lange & Söhne

A. Lange & Söhne - Richard Lange Terraluna

Along the same lines, the watchmaker breathes life into the universe from its manufacture, associating parts from a single and same movement. The A. Lange & Söhne timepiece that perfectly illustrates this concept is the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna.”

A first glance at the dial reveals a perpetual calendar brilliantly integrated in the design with subsidiary dials. In order to discover the sky and the mysterious moon, you must turn the watch over. This is where your voyage begins. A disk representing the orbit of our favorite satellite rotates around Earth as its center. Not only are the phases of the moon shown, but also the moon’s position relative to the Earth, set in a mystical starry sky. The precision is so high, that only one day of adjustment is necessary every 1058 days. And speaking of numbers: no less than 787 parts are assembled and function in pure harmony. Similar to all the celestial bodies that populate the infinite space that surrounds us…

A. Lange & Söhne Modeling the Universe - Felix Kiessling