Chances are, you’ve never heard the name Steffen Cornehl. That is on the grounds that he is an independent watchmaker of the more dark assortment. He doesn’t come from one of the significant brands, nor is he situated in Switzerland. All things being equal, he works out of a little studio in Stuggart, Germany, where he reestablishes old fashioned timekeepers and vintage watches, while gradually fabricating an after of committed devotees for his own watches. His clients appreciate his enthusiasm for handcrafting verifiably enlivened watches utilizing customary strategies, just as the level of customization he offers. Also his really sensible prices.
After coming across a portion of Steffen’s manifestations, we were interested to find out additional, so we set up a meeting. This is what he needed to say.
Can you disclose to us a smidgen more about your background?
I was brought into the world in a group of experts. My father and my grandfather were ace cooks and confectioners. They had their own privately-run company. School was rather exhausting for me and I was not a decent understudy. As a young person, I needed to contemplate Biology, yet my instructors advised me: you are excessively languid. At the point when I glance back at the time as a teen it appears to be absurd to me now, since what drives me today is learning. As a watchmaker making my own watches, I gain some new useful knowledge consistently, finding the customary strategies for watchmaking. Working hard and adapting truly powers me and gives me joy.
Ironically, it was simply after school that I truly began to learn, and I’ve won’t ever stop. To begin with, I made an apprenticeship in retail deals in a diamond setter in Lueneburg, North Germany. Subsequent to completing that I proceeded at the watchmaking school in Hamburg. Then I began to work in after-deals administration as a watchmaker, first at another gem specialist and afterward at Blancpain. I took the expert class of watchmaking in Kalstein, Austria.
Later I contemplated Industrial Engineering and Management, filled in as a specialist in item improvement and creation before I worked in schooling for a Christian association. At long last, I began my own watch business. I couldn’t care less about the work titles. This rundown simply shows I love to learn and very much want to pass it on.
You said your first occupation as a watchmaker was in quite a while administration. What was that like?
Yes, I worked in the after-deals administration of a gem dealer in Reutlingen, Germany. Here I figured out how to support watches from Rolex, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, and so on It was additionally my first contact with the universe of Haute Horlogerie. It was 1998. During that time, it was as yet feasible for brand agents with a decent after-deals administration to do changes on watches with complications like an interminable schedule. I actually recollect my first AP unending calendar.
How long have you been fixing classical clocks and vintage watches?
For more than 20 years now. After my apprenticeship to become a watchmaker (1997) I began to figure out how to fix old fashioned clocks and vintage watches. It was something that I did in my spare energy other than my work as a watchmaker. I would visit diverse expert watchmakers and request that they instruct me. Things like turning an equilibrium staff, making a skirt for a skirt escapement, making haggles for clocks and furthermore for watches.
When did you choose to make your own watches, and why?
Very ahead of schedule during my time at the watchmaking school in Hamburg, I was at that point longing for making my own watches. The primary watch I made was a PPC (Precision Pendulum Clock). Hamburg is a city with a harbor and a celebrated observatory and the school historical center houses many mother clocks, marine chronometers, and deck watches. During that time, I experienced passionate feelings for the PPC’s from Strasser & Rode, Riefler, Kittel, and other incredible watchmakers. I needed to possess such a clock.
When my companion and I discovered that you need to pay as much as 20,000 bucks to claim a pendulum clock, we said to one another “we’re concentrating to become watchmakers, so how about we simply make our own PPC”. We began this undertaking in corresponding to the typical program of apprenticeship at the school. The educators upheld us and were energized as a result of the energy they found in the two of us.
How takes care of your job fixing old clocks and watches impact the plan of your new watches?
It is a definitive wellspring of data and motivation for my new watches. I’m constantly stunned when I see an old pocket watch from any semblance of Lange & Söhne or Breguet and finish up: amazing, that is an excellent watch. Even after 100, 150 or even 200 years, the plan is as yet thought to be wonderful. The experts around then had the option to make and plan their watches as per some widespread laws of esthetics (I’m summarizing from George Daniels). I need to make my watches as indicated by these laws too. It is a journey to sort this out: what makes a watch actually compelling, excellent and cute after 150 years?
How long does it take you to modify each movement?
Right now, my watches depend on a pocket watch development from the 1970s: the Unitas 6498. This development is truly dependable, and its plan is vigorous. Overall, I go through around 35-40 hours on every development, including making the hands. For the controller, this is normally a piece longer.
Do you accomplish all the work yourself or do have other individuals/companies helping you?
I do the greater part of the work myself, essentially on the grounds that I need to figure out how to do it. I have begun to develop a little group of aficionados (individuals and companies) and we are building up the watchmaking and the craftsmanship further. I understood it’s substantially more amusing to work in a group. Obviously, as a watchmaker, you should have the option to work alone. You consistently sit for quite a long time at your seat, making the components of the watch piece by piece.
Why do you think your customers decide to purchase a Cornehl watch?
There are different reasons. As a rule, they love mechanical watches and have effectively some critical pieces from the huge brands on the wrist or at home. Presently they have begun to look for more individual and extraordinary watches. They are sufficiently gutsy to purchase from a rather obscure independent watchmaker.
Some see the substance of my watches and think: “stand by a moment, that looks fascinating!”. Then they attempt to sort out what it is and go gaga for it. Some see the development first and get snared. Looking through the sapphire glass on the rear of my watches resembles looking into history seeing a German watch from 120 years prior. The genuine lovers of craftsmanship see the hand completing, then the cost and they simply request since they know this degree of hand completing has a higher worth. But since I am as yet assembling my skill and my standing, I decided to begin low and create from that point as my watches become better constantly piece by piece as I sharpen my craft.
Usually, in watchmaking, individuals search for flawlessness. However, on the off chance that an item is great, it is dead. Throughout everyday life, everything is an interaction. Obviously, my objective is flawlessness however I will be consistently in transit towards it. Regardless of how great something is, it’s consistently conceivable to make it somewhat better the following time. Therefore, my way of thinking is: individuals can see and notice my interaction of improving. At the point when you see photos of my initial watches, they are repulsive. In any case, having the option to see the way toward learning and improving the specialty is wonderful.
In the end, I accept individuals don’t purchase a watch, they purchase the watchmaker and his purposes behind making watches. As of now, my WHY is threefold:
- TIME – watches and making watches encourages me to think and esteem the most valuable asset that I have, my lifetime. The time that I have in my life is a blessing and with my watches, I pass on this blessing. In each watch, I give a smidgen of my time, my affection and my enthusiasm. Ideally, it causes its proprietor to be helped to remember their lifetime.
- LEARNING – I love to learn, to build up my abilities to evaluate new things. It is the equivalent with kids (I have two of them up until now), they gain proficiency with the new things consistently with a speed that is simply unimaginable and a delight to notice. I need to move individuals to be intense and establish their own current circumstance where they can learn, create abilities, mentality, character, and character. My learning climate is my watchmaking studio and my family.
- UNIQUENESS – You are extraordinary, your life is special. Life is excessively short to simply wear a watch that large number of other individuals wear also. Each CORNEHL watch is unique.
Approximately the number of watches do you make each year?
This is as yet creating. At the present time, 20-30 pieces per year. My objective isn’t to make whatever number as could reasonably be expected however, yet rather to make each look comparable to conceivable. I’m building up another in-house development at the present time. It is an immense task for me that is taking many, numerous hours. I could utilize an opportunity to sell more watches, however I’d rather decide to make something new.
That sounds fascinating, is there whatever else you can enlighten us regarding the in-house movement?
Ha ha, yes. Right now, I am as yet in the plan stage. It will be a basic development. As Mr Stern (Patek Philippe) puts it however: “To build up a straightforward development is a troublesome task.” I think he is correct, and I figure we can concur he is a man who understands what is the issue here. In view of that, everything I can say so far is that the development will be somewhere in the range of 30mm and 32mm in diameter.
For more data about Steffen Cornehl and Cornehl Watches, kindly visit www.cornehl-watches.com .
All photographs by Billy Simon.