… is, nobody can take it away from you.
Several years ago, I realized something about myself: I am highly motivated, when I can learn something new. It energizes me to do something I never did before and I don’t yet have the skills to do. It’s not only the result that challenges me. But moreover, the process of improving the skills and finally gaining the ability to do it, is very appealing to me.
Nowadays, in the information age, you can get all information about nearly everything. If you want for example know how to build a power plant, I am sure there are some web sites or YouTube videos explaining “How to build your own DIY power plant”. We have access to all kinds of information. And you can quickly become a knowledge expert in a certain field.
But one of my watchmaking friends said once: “If you really want to understand something, you need to make it from scratch.” Reinhold Fluethe, watchmaker
Crafting the teeth of a hour weehl into shape
And that somehow is true. To just have the knowledge about something, often is not satisfying for me anymore. I have learned many years ago in my watchmaker apprenticeship, how a watch works in order to repair it. So, I repaired and restored many clocks and watches since 1995. But the job title was “watchmaker”. And that bothered me for long time. If it says “watch-MAKER”, then I want to make watches. Not only repair them.
The parts of a Dent / London pocket chronometer
Restauration of a A. Lange and Soehne pocket watch from 1898
You can choose your field. Mine is watchmaking. I am fascinated by mechanical watches. May be because it is a whole small universe rotating in my pocket or on my wrist. Maybe because I can still behold and understand the laws of how the parts and forces work together. May be because watches are just a guy thing becoming exciting about it. However, what is your field? Don’t be discouraged, when you think you don’t have the talent for your special field. All you need is a big amount of curiosity. And that’s not so difficult, right? A. Einstein said once: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious”.
What can I learn from the Chinese?
In Europe and in Germany sometimes people look down to the Chinese because they thing, all they can do is to copy our products. But to be honest, firstly its very proud when we think like that, and the beginning of the end. Secondly coping is a very vital part in the learning process. If you want to become good in something you need to copy first the work of your master. Either a personal master or a raw model that lived before you. When you for example want to become a good song writer, it’s good to start studying the old masters like Beethoven, Bach and Schubert and learn how to play their pieces first, to understand how they work and why we still love their music today. Even after 200 or 250 years.
In watchmaking, it’s the same. I always wonder why we’re still captured, when we look into a watch of Abraham Louis Breguet after 250 years? Or a watch of Louis Audemars, John Arnold or Adolf Lange? I think they have understood in technique and in design of what George Daniels calls the “natural laws of the universe”. There is this beauty beyond time and fashion.
A. Lange and Soehne savonette pocketwatch in rosé gold, caliber 28
That’s what we try to discover as well and put it into our watches in order to create timepieces for this generation and the next, and the next and the next … This required great attention to details. For example, the proportion of the watch, the dial, the hands are amazingly important. Sometimes it’s just the size of the digits 0,05 mm bigger or smaller and it changes the entire look of the dial. The same for the hands. A bit slimmer or bigger has an increasable effect on the entire picture of the watch.
Regulator SC103 in 750/- rosé gold case
Regulator SC103-REG-03 in stainless steel case
The movement of the Regulator
It’s an adventure and a long journey. Our current collection of watches reflects where we are right now on this journey. There is still a lot to learn. But the beautiful thing about learning is ….