German watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne collaborated with British artist Sebastian Kite to get to the bottom of the LANGE 31, and its countless nuances embedded in grey.
Presented in only 100 models, the LANGE 31 hides beneath its white-gold dial a miniature universe that can be discovered through the sapphire-crystal case back. Its complicated 406-part movement stands out through its finish but also with its technology. It was the first mechanical wristwatch with a power reserve of 31 days, assuring that a uniform amount of energy is delivered to the oscillator every ten seconds, and keeping the watch running very accurately for an entire month.
Ultimately, Sebastian Kite took his inspiration from the grey shade of the LANGE 31 dial. To highlight this hue in all of its different aspects, he built a three-dimensional installation with metal frames, steel cables and mirror foils.
“Nothing beats the accuracy of this watch. Therefore, I looked for another approach to interpret it. The LANGE 31 is powered by two springs, each with an incredible length of 1.85 metres. To pay tribute to this technical feat, I decided to work with a spring-wound Bolex camera.” – Sebastian Kite
A 1940s camera using 16mm cinematic film, Sebastian instinctually saw this as the ideal tool to visualise the spectrum of possible grey shades. He travelled to Cornwall and found the ideal backdrop for a moving picture inspection there.
By streaming the cinematic images into a spatial installation, the artist accessed another way to visualise his intensive involvement with the theme, and microscopically small tonal variations revealed the depth and complexity of the grey spectrum in a range of experimental ways.
Depending on the observer’s perspective, the brightness of the projections changes, making them either permeable or impenetrable. The visual experience was designed to take the observer out of their habitual perceptions and give a new perspective in order to inspire.
By projecting the impressions gathered outdoors into the inside of his exhibition and then reflecting, distorting and fusing them with the LANGE 31, Sebastian Kite blended the multitude of variations and hues that lie between black and white, in a journey into grey.
The LANGE 31, by A. LANGE & SÖHNE