Since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, we have noticed the resurrection of the Eastern Germany watchmaking industry. With A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original as top brands in the front line, “Glashütte” has become a quality label comparable with the best Swiss brands.
On November 11th, 2008, another great name in German watchmaking history was brought back to life, when Christine Hutter presented a renaissance concept under the name of Moritz Grossmann. With the ambition to meld traditional watchmaking values with 21-st century horological ambitions and possibilities, it is worth to have a look at.
Moritz Grossmann was born in Dresden in 1826, and played an important role in the foundation of the watchmaking industry in Germany. In his early years he completed an apprenticeship in Dresden, and learned the art of watchmaking.
After spending time in La Chaux-de-Fonds and later on in England, France and Denmark, Grossmann returned to Dresden in 1854. His friend Ferdinand Adolph Lange persuaded him to set up a technical workshop. Apart from his expertise in horology, Grossmann was keen on passing on his know-how to others. He lectured, wrote articles and translated books on horology. 7 years before his death in 1885, Grossmann founded the German School of Watchmaking in Glashütte.
Since 2008, after the foundation of Grossmann Uhren GmbH by Hutter and her team, the Moritz Grossmann portfolio grew to two lines: the ATUM and the BENU. Both lines carry the in-house developed movements Caliber 100.1 and 100.2. Both watches have classical looks, with the BENU looking slightly more sporty, mainly due to the Arabic numbers. Furthermore, both calibres are manually wound 42-hour power reserves. The power reserve is displayed by a red-white coloured bar that indicates the remaining power reserve. Very subtle!
In 2013, The BENU line is enriched with the BENU Tourbillon. The brand herewith puts a crown on their up-and-coming watchline. Caliber 103.0 is manually wound, and has a flying three-minute tourbillon with screw-secured driving wheel. Moritz Grossmann has added a patent-pending stop-seconds mechanism with fine-tipped brush made of human hair. This brush solves the problem of interference between the stop-device and the triangular frame.
An additional wheel extends the periodicity of the cage to three minutes. The idea is that this reduces the overall kinetic energy, and therefore enhances the working of the tourbillon.
Moritz Grossmann proudly announces the tourbillon as the Magnum Opus of the movement, with special reference to Alfred Herwig, another Glashütte watchmaker, who invented the flying tourbillon in 1920 while teaching at the Grossmann founded School of watchmaking. Grossmann is not the first brand that pays tribute to the legacy of Helwig: about a decade ago, Glashütte Original made a special series of Helwig-named tourbillons.
The Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon has a three-part, 44,5 mm case and comes in white gold. The dial is solid silver with central off-center display for hours and seconds. The flying tourbillon is placed in the center.
With a global edition of 50 watches and a price tag of € 168,000, Moritz Grossmann has delivered a very exclusive timepiece, that definitely carries the Glashütte signature in terms of design and quality, and places the young brand in the premier league. That is quite an achievement for Christine Hutter and her crew of 40 colleagues, and I am looking forward to future innovations and models!
Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon – Technical Specification
Limited edition: 50 watches world-wide (Ref. 001.G-221-11-1)
Movement: Manufacture calibre 103.0, manually wound, adjusted in five positions
No. of parts: 245 (wheel train 186, cage 59)
No. of jewels: 20, 4 of which in screwed gold chatons (wheel train 17, cage 13)
Escapement: Lever escapement
- Grossmann three-minute tourbillon with stop seconds;
- Shock-absorbed Grossmann balance with 4 inertia and 2 poising screws,
- Suspended Nivarox 1 balance spring with No. 80 terminal curve,
- Gerstenberger geometry
Cage diameter: 16.2 mm
Cage speed: 1 revolution in three minutes, anti-clockwise when viewed from dial side
Balance diameter: 14.2 mm, frequency 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour
Power reserve: 72 hours when fully wound
- Hours and minutes,
- Subsidiary seconds with stop seconds,
- Grossmann winder with pusher,
- Power-reserve indicator
Functions / Features:
- Flying three-minute tourbillon with screw-secured driving wheel and V-shaped balance bridge (design patent pending)
- Sweep minutes, off-centre hours and seconds with stop seconds, replacement of the missing minute scale segment from 25 to 35 minutes with a separate scale swept by the extension of the minute hand on the opposite side (patent pending)
- Stop seconds at the balance wheel rim with a pivoting fine-hair brush (patent pending)
- Asymmetric-arm lever escapement with counterweight and lever banking pin
- Grossmann balance with suspended balance spring, adjustable with poising screws in the rim
- Newly developed mainspring barrel jewel bearing
- Brake ring on the fourth-wheel arbor made of very hard, oily guaiacum
- ARCAP train wheels
- Grossmann winder with pusher to deactivate the handsetting mode and start the movement
- Modified Glashütte stopwork with backlash
- Pillar movement with 2/3 plate and frame pillars in untreated German silver
- Hand-engraved 2/3 plate and tourbillon cock
- Broad horizontal Glashütte ribbing, 3-band snailing on the ratchet wheel
- Raised gold chatons with pan-head screws
- White sapphire bearing jewels• Separately removable clutch winder
- Crown in 750/000 white gold to wind the watch and set the time,
- pusher in 750/000 white gold to start the movement
Case dimensions: Diameter: 44.5 mm, height: 13.8 mm
Movement dimensions: Diameter: 38.4 mm, height: 7.1 mm
Case: Three-part, in 750/000 white gold
Dial: Solid silver, three-part, argenté, with Arabic numerals
Hands: Hand-crafted, steel, annealed to a brown-violet hue
Crystal/display back: Sapphire crystal, antireflective coating on one side
Strap: Hand-stitched alligator strap with butterfly clasp in 750/000 white gold