Birmingham horology graduate wins prestigious Baselworld young talent competition


Anna-Rose Kirk, who graduated from Birmingham City University School of Jewellery last year, was named among three winners of the Young Talent Competition at Baselworld.

The competition rewards three watchmakers who have distinguished themselves by their technical achievement, their search for complexity, and their sense of design and aesthetics.

The other two winners were Anton Sukhanov from Russia and Tristan Ledard from France.


Ms Kirk, 27, was among the first graduates from the Birmingham City University School of Jewellery’s Horology degree course, earning a 1st class honours degree in repair, restoration and conservation of clocks and watches.

Her winning entry, the Horizon Clock, was inspired by the Swahili clock and Swahili time, which begins days at dawn instead of midnight.

“In Kenya, Uganda and surrounding countries close to the Equator, the sun rises and sets at the same time every day. The day starts when the sun rises where one o’clock is one hour after sunrise. Sunrise in this part of the world is so consistent that people set their clock by it,” Ms Kirk explains.

“The western way of telling the time has become so universal that it is accepted as the only way of telling the time; however, there are countless other ways, mostly linked to the natural cycle followed by Nature. This concept intrigued me and after further research, I was able to recognise the idea that Western time is but a small part of the history of timekeeping and that only 150 years ago, when there was talk of changing to a universal time across the globe, it was declared that: The sun is the national clock. No other clock can supersede it, as it is the one ordained by nature to regulate man’s life,” she continues.

“The Babylonians started the hours with the rise of the sun and ‘Old Czech time’ or ‘Italian time’ began at the end of dusk or half an hour after sunset, giving workers an indication of how long they had before there was no light to work from. In England, people divided the sunlight hours by 12, meaning that an hour in the winter could be as little as 40 minutes and as long as 1 hour 25 minutes. In all cases, telling the time was completely reliant on the positioning of the sun in the sky. My goal was to portray these concepts and to reconnect timekeeping with the cycle of the Earth’s rotation and the cycle of the seasons,” she says.

Technical characteristics of the Horizon Clock

Dimensions: height 1m20, 10 kilos
Movement: brass and steel
Dial: brass with cut out copper centre allowing a view into the mechanism, 25 cm diameter
Specificities: circular wall clock, supported by a walnut wooden bracket covered with brass. A single gold plated hand indicates the time which rotates once a day around a 24-hour dial.
Blue steel sunrise and sunset indication.

The AHCI – Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (Watch Academy of Independent Creators) was founded in 1985 with the aim of perpetuating the art of independent horology and supporting outstanding watch craftsmen. 34 watchmakers and members of the AHCI, from 11 countries, evaluated this year’s entries, which came from 47 international watchmaking schools in 14 different countries.

The 2016 winners receive a diploma and a CHF 3,000 grant from Horotec, which will allow them to purchase watchmaking tools.

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