When brothers and master watchmakers Bart and Tim Grönefeld rise and look out of their respective windows at the day outside each morning, there are no vistas of distant towering Alps or lush green meadows to greet them. No hamlets with steeply sloped roofs nor the occasional faraway peel of the cow bell. And the reason for that would be because in the town of Oldenzaal, where they live and work, there are no mountains anywhere to be seen, as apart from the country’s citizens (who all seem to be well over six feet tall), and Vaalserburg Hill at a lofty 322m, Holland has little to offer by way of height.
Thankfully however this distinct lack of alpinicity has not dimmed the aspirations of genial siblings Bart and Tim whom, since stepping out from the virtual anonymity of providing their prodigious talents to the great and the good of watchmaking and going it alone under their own name, have punctuated their career with some of the most accomplished and sophisticated timepieces produced anywhere. Grönefeld puts Holland on a level footing with any Helvetic horlogical summit.
The brother’s new Parallax Tourbillon is an immediately outstanding piece of work. A moment’s study reveals an exercise in meticulous attention to every single little detail, which extends right throughout the watch. In what has been a Grönefeld signature since day one and the unveiling of their GTM-06 Tourbillon Minute Repeater, which announced the brothers to a new and proprietal audience in 2008, each new piece has been finished to standards which border on the obsessive, and the Parallax Tourbillon once again marries this insistence on aesthetic perfection with beautifully conceived and executed horlogical innovation.
The face is a multi layered arrangement with a frosted solid silver dial plate featuring decentralized hours and minutes, indicated with flame-blued lancette hands against a brushed stainless steel ring with applied indices positioned at the traditional one o’clock position. Parallax describes the distorting effect which occurs as objects are viewed from varying perspectives, and to counter this illusion, the slender blue seconds hand spans to the outer reaches of the elevated chapter ring to give a precise reading from any angle, and in so doing, giving the Parallax Tourbillon its name.
Dominating the view is the Grönefeld’s beautiful show-stealing one-minute flying tourbillon, whose single polished bridging arm plays out a ballet with the escapement wheel it suspends opposing it, as they rotate in perpetuity, never to touch.
Dispensing with the friction spring to drive the seconds by inserting an additional wheel and pinion, the Grönefeld Parallax Tourbillon features a direct linkage via the seconds, midway along the drive train between mainspring and the tourbillon cage. This reduction in friction contributes to a power reserve of 72 hours from the relatively leisurely 21,600v/h that the manual winding Calibre G-03 operates, and above on the dial, the power reserve is displayed in a bevelled panel with polished steel arcing reference plate.
The Grönefeld crown does not need to be pulled out on its stem to adjust the time, instead using a clever push system whereby pressure applied to the crown alternates its function between winding and setting, and up top another pointer jumps between W and S so the crown can be set to rest at winding.
Sapphire crystal exhibition casebacks are pretty much the norm nowadays, and in truth some might have been better minded to leave the movement well out of sight, but on a Grönefeld what lies beneath is definitely deserving of daylight. Using stainless steel bridges, which are arranged in lateral segments, the surfaces are a contrast of dark micro blasted finish bellies and polished edges. Needless to say, the screw heads also have been polished by hand, because if it’s on show on a Grönefeld (or even if it’s not) then it has been loved to the last.
At 43mm the Parallax Tourbillon is a universally wearable piece, although with a mere twelve examples being produced in stainless steel, and a further 24 in rose gold, it will not be universally available, because as Bart and Tim Grönefeld’s star continues to ascend, collectors in the know already have their names in the Grönefeld brother’s order book.
Grönefeld Parallax Tourbillon – Price
Red gold : 137,000 Euros
Steel : 134,000 Euros