Monday, April 30, 2012

The Beauty of a Second

-By JJ Palencar

A few months ago, the company Mont Blanc, makers of fine writing instruments and timepieces held a competition titled “The Beauty of a Second”. The challenge was to create a film lasting only one second. Mont Blanc created this competition to celebrate the 190th anniversary of the chronograph. The resultant one second clips (films) are truly inspiring. Strung together they make for a wistful experience.

As artists and illustrators our goal is to distill an image, to freeze it, to create a feeling and ultimately make our own one second image in paint. More often we tend to over study the image but if we retain the initial impression, the fragment that captured our attention, then we will have the raw essence and foundation to create a memorable work. Each of these clips could easily become an illustration or a painting. Are not our lives a series of images, fragments and sense impressions, strung together to form a life?

The competition is now closed. I could find four compilation groups on YouTube and I think there were two winners.

Below are the four compilations, the awards ceremony as well as a few other videos that I could find.

The music is by Marcus Lober, from the album “The Beauty of a Second “ soundtrack, created especially for the competition.

From Mont Blanc: 190 years ago, Nicolas Rieussec recorded time to an accuracy of a fifth second for the first time - the chronograph was born. To celebrate this unique invention, Montblanc created the one-of-a-kind "The Beauty of a Second" short-film contest presented by the famous film director Wim Wenders.

One Second Website

1st round compilation - From YouTube
2nd round compilation - From YouTube
3rd round compilation - From YouTube
4th round compilation - From YouTube
Winning Clips - From YouTube


  1. Guys, try this: start two at the same time, turn off the sound and watch both at the same time.
    Was awesome.

  2. Funny how a second can seem like an instant or an eternity, maybe both at once. The clips left me wanting more, and I was hungry for continuity.

  3. Reminds me of this quote by Chesterton: “The telescope makes the world smaller; it is only the microscope that makes it larger. Before long the world will be cloven with a war between the telescopists and the microscopists. The first study large things and live in a small world; the second study small things and live in a large world.” These one second films resist cynicism, embrace gratitude, and make the world larger.

  4. I could watch an entire feature film with those clips :)


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