Like every year, the winter season in the Arlberg is once again all about skilled quality craftsmanship.
The Arlberg offers total luxury, from head to toe, when master businesses and the owners of exclusive manufacturing facilities encourage us to watch them at work as "Masters in Residence". They present their products, and give us an insight into their crafts, ideas and fascinating histories.
The history of the art of watchmaking has been closely linked to Dutch Masters since its early days despite the fact that the country – not like Switzerland, in fact – was never a centre of the watchmaker's art. The story goes right back to the mathematician Christiaan Huygens, a contemporary of Isaac Newton and the inventor of the pendulum clock. Another company in this tradition is Wybe van der Gang, which not only produces high-precision small parts for medical technology and aerospace, but has since 2002 also been manufacturing small limited editions of wristwatches under the name of "Van der Gang Watches". Only about 150 watches leave the company's premises outside the old town canals of Dokkum every year, priced at between 5000 and 25,000 euros. "I felt challenged to manufacture increasingly small, yet increasingly precise products," says Wybe van der Gang of his watches. The BURG is delighted to be welcoming this exceptional man and his masterpieces, little known even to acknowledged aficionados, as its guest. And to be offering our guests unique insights into his work.
Other participants in the "Masters in Residence" are the jewellers Boltenstern and A.E. Köchert, two of Austria's most renowned names; the milliner Marianne, with 100 years of tradition, and List&List, which produces innovative writing tools and accessories in wood. Stefan Wimmer, the company's eighth generation of national costume tailors, and the Rettl company, with five generations of history, plus the resourceful bespoke shoe designer Gerhard Wieser all present wearable goods of the very highest quality, while Roomservice and the tile manufacturer Karak (both based in the Vorarlberg), along with the master tiler and stove fitter Gregor Gschlenk of Vienna, transport us into the lovely world of home living. Finally, the products by the soap manufacturer Wiener Seife of Vienna, gently cold-stirred by hand to a secret recipe devised by the last soap boiler in Vienna, will certainly delight the senses.
So it's worth boarding the gondola to Lech: you'll find further details and all the information on "Masters in Residence" at www.lech-zuers.at/meisterstrasse
"Van der Gang Watches" on 3 and 4 February at the Burg Hotel in Oberlech, daily from 4 pm to 7 pm.