Monochrome Watches
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A Personal Take On The Moritz Grossmann Hamatic And Its Unique Winding System

The only mechanical watch with a pendulum-driven movement on the market, and what a watch it is!

| By Robin Nooy | 11 min read |
Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

To kick things off, this will be a very personal story, and yes, it is about a mechanical watch. When I first got into watchmaking, I knew very little about the history of the industry or the different regions in the world that dominate it. My knowledge came from magazines, movies and TV shows, billboards and the early days of social media, and that was about it. That is until I joined MONOCHROME in 2012 and started to seriously fall down the proverbial rabbit hole. My knowledge and experience grew, my interests shifted, and a whole world of new and exciting brands opened up, from very small one-man outfits to corporate behemoths. Over the years, my preferences continued to shift, and I have developed a deep love for German watchmaking, specifically from the Glashütte region. There’s just something special about how watches from this part of the world are made. And I’m not arguing if they’re better than Swiss or Japanese-made high-end watches, but the style is very pure and regional, and it resonates with me in a big way! So if given the chance to go hands-on with one of my absolute favourite Glashütte-made watches, I will gladly take it! To not beat around the bush, here’s my deeply personal take on the stunning Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Argenté.

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

finding my focus

In my early days of learning about watches, I was a huge fan of watches that had something intriguing on display from the front. Sure, a mechanical movement was needed around the back, but I just had a preference for playfulness, creative expression, or complex wizardry from the get-go. Think of watches like MB&F, Urwerk, AkriviA, Ludovic Ballouard and others. An eclectic mix, for sure! And what did I end up collecting? So far, a Tudor Black Bay 79220N (the ETA-powered one!), a beefy first-gen Oris Aquis Depth Gauge, the iconic TAG Heuer Monaco ‘Steve McQueen’ Edition and a very cool and often worn M.A.D. 1 Red, to name just a few. My watches are pretty much all here to stay, and I love them for very different reasons, even something as sensible as the Black Bay.

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So how does the Hamatic fit into all of this? That’s a completely different style of watchmaking and has nothing special going on if you look at the front of it, I hear you say. And you’d be somewhat right! But as I stated in the intro, my preferences have shifted, not to the extent I am no longer in love with watches like my M.A.D. 1 Red, but I’ve opened up to a far more classical side of the industry too. What sparked that was A. Lange & Söhne and its mighty Zeitwerk. This definitely falls in the “expressive” category of my interests, given its digital display of analogue time. But what the Zeitwerk did was introduce me to the Saxon way and thus introduce me to brands like Nomos, Glashütte Original and yes, Moritz Grossmann. And out of everything the brand does, this Hamatic resonates with me the most, which I’ll explain as I go along.

it’s Hammer-time

What the Moritz Grossmann Hamatic is all about is not so much what you see upfront but rather what’s going on around the back of the watch. I vividly remember when the brand showed me the prototype for this innovative yet historical take on the automatic mechanical watch at Baselworld back in 2018, and loved every bit of it! A year later, the production version was ready, and even though you could no longer catch a glimpse of the special movement through the dial, it was still every bit as impressive!

The Moritz Grossmann Hamatic presented at Baselworld 2018.

We’ve explained in detail how it works before, but I will go over the basics once more since it has been a while. The unique feature of the Hamatic is the pendulum, or hammer-style winding “rotor”, which dates back to the earliest perpetual winding systems found in pocket watches. Before the invention of the full rotor to wind a watch movement, several efforts were made to create a system where a weighted mass would provide kinetic energy to a geartrain to wind up the barrel. Belgian watchmaker Hubert Sarton is believed to have created the first automatic winding system in 1778, as a technical drawing discovered at the Académie des Sciences de Paris attests to. Shortly after, it was Abraham-Louis Breguet who created the perpétuelle movement, driven by a winding mass that would swivel back and forth (remember, this was the pocket-watch era, so watches were predominantly worn in a vertical position) much like a pendulum in a clock.

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

This is what the Moritz Grossmann Hamatic’s movement is based on, the pendulum-like motion of the winding system in Breguet’s perpétuelle movement from 1780. And it’s this purely retrospective take on what a mechanical watch and movement could be that fascinates me! Not because it’s better or more efficient, but for the simple reason it can be done at all.

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

The Calibre 106.0

Since I do have to go through the technical aspects of the watch at some point, let’s dive a little deeper into the calibre 106.0 that powers the Hamatic range, a completely newly developed movement. In typical Saxony style, it’s constructed out of Maillechort, or German Silver, a material that is notoriously hard to master as it gets easily damaged or tarnished when manipulated. The champagne-like shine of the material, though, is what is so appealing about it. The architecture of the movement is a classical pillar-type construction, with plates that leave a section open between the crown and lower-right lug (when viewed from the back).

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

This open space is where the most notable element of the movement comes into play, quite literally, revealing the hammer-type or pendulum winding mass. This is mounted just below the top-right lug (again, seen from behind) and swings from left to right when the watch is moved around. As we’ve explained in-depth before, the efficiency is almost as good as the most common automatic winding systems with a central rotor. This is because the length of the winding mass spans almost the entire movement and not half of it. It also winds the mainspring in both directions, an improvement over the antique hammer-style winding systems. A catch-spring on either side of the oval-shaped winding mass prevents damage to the system due to shocks.

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

The linear motion of the winding mass is transferred to a rotational one by two click levers, which pass along the energy to the free wheel, on to a reduction wheel and to the ratchet wheel that ultimately winds the barrel. As one click lever is engaged, the other is disengaged, and vice versa. To make the watch more practical to use from day to day, the movement can also be wound by hand if needed. A special yoke ensures the hammer-winding system is uncoupled when winding it by hand.

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

As you can see from the images, the finishing is also of the highest level. The broad Glashütte ribbing on the plates, the hand-engraved balance cock, the gold chatons with brown-violet annealed screws, hand-applied anglage, polished screw heads… It’s all typical Moritz Grossmann. The movement runs at a frequency of 21,600vph and has an in-house made Grossmann balance with 4 inertia and 2 poising screws to ensure it runs as smoothly as can be. Despite the complexity of the movement, the barrel stores a healthy 72 hours of power reserve when fully wound.

Saxony refinement at its finest

If you boil down the essence of what Saxony watchmaking is all about, whether it’s from relatively affordable brands like Nomos to the absolute pinnacle of the sub-genre in A. Lange & Söhne, it comes down to simplicity, symmetry and refinement. While I do still love extroverted watches, the pure elegance and refinement often found in watches from the Glashütte region (the most eastern part of Germany, close to the Polish border) has really grabbed me in recent years. It’s a style that can be easily identified from even a mile away.

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

The rose gold Hamatic Argenté I had at hand is no different and is a very elegant dress watch, even though it might not be dressy enough for some based on the dimensions. At 41mm in diameter and 11.35mm in height, it’s not necessarily compact, but the balance of proportions is just where I want them to be. I have a wrist circumference of roughly 18.5-19cm, and the Hamatic never felt out of place or uncomfortable. The construction of the 18k rose gold case (it’s also available in white gold) is extremely refined, with lugs that curve downward very elegantly. The bezel and caseback are relatively narrow/slim and allow for immense viewing pleasure from both sides. The crown is also a testament to Moritz Grossmann’s attention to detail. The knurling on the slightly conical-shaped crown gives you a reassuring grip, and the recessed section at its base allows you to easily pull it out to set the watch. The feedback from the keyless works, the geartrain to the hands, and setting the hands themselves is very fine.

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

The design of the solid silver dial in opaline white is very classical, with elongated printed Roman numerals and a fine railroad-style minute track around the outer edge. Again, it’s a lesson in pure, elegant watchmaking, showing only the essentials. The large recessed sub-dial for the small seconds continues in the same vein, with a pad-printed one-minute scale in black. The top half of the dial shows the Moritz Grossmann logo with the designation ‘Glashütte I/SA’, meaning ‘Glashütte, In Saxony’. The rest of the dial is free of any decoration, apart from the ‘Made in Germany’ on the bottom curve of the minute track, proudly stating where it’s made.

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

But by far the best elements on the face of the watch are the hands. The stacking of the hands is just a thing of beauty, as the mounts are polished and finished with a polished cap as well. The hands themselves are ultra-refined, with a super slender stem and a droplet-like tip for the hour hand and a needle-like tip for the minute hand. Made and finished completely by hand, they are heat-annealed over an open flame to a gorgeous brown-violet tone, which just adds to the splendour of the overall watch even more. The window to achieve this colour in the process of heat-annealing steel is very small, so any mistake immediately renders a hand useless. The combination of all these hand-finished elements made me fall in love with the brand and this specific watch from very early on, despite my love for more expressive timepieces.

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

The million-dollar question

After all this, it has to come down to one simple question: at EUR 57,000, would I buy it? Ignoring the sad but very obvious fact this watch is well over my budget, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’. If money were no object, if I somehow got into the position to spend money on watches like this, the Hamatic is right up there on the shortlist of watches I would add to the collection. I absolutely love the style of the brand and its incredible attention to detail, although there are some watches in the catalogue that I connect far less with. I love the fact there’s no real need for the Hamatic and its hammer-winding mechanism, but they did it anyway, and at the highest possible level as well!

Moritz Grossmann Hamatic Review

Is there nothing to complain about, then? Well, apart from the fact I cannot afford it, not really. The only thing that would make it an 11-out-of-10 over a 10-out-of-10 would be if Moritz Grossmann could somehow incorporate the Grossmann crown system from the Tremblage, Universalzeit and other models into the Hamatic. This clever system eliminates accidental movements of the hands when setting them and pushing the crown back in. Other than that, the execution of the Saxony style of watchmaking is just superb, and the whole thing from top to bottom is just perfect. And before you go off on it, it’s perfect for me. I am well aware of the fact not everyone will appreciate it like I do, which is absolutely fine. That’s the beauty of this passion, there is something for absolutely everyone! I would love to hear what your equivalent watch to this one would be, so leave a message in the comment section down below!

The Moritz Grossmann Hamatic is worn on a very supple handmade alligator leather strap with a gold pin buckle matching the case. For more information on Moritz Grossmann and the Hamatic collection, please visit the brand’s website or online Boutique.

2 responses

  1. This watch at this price point puts many others to shame.

    How can you define this as any other thing than horological pornography. You just skip the text and look at the photographs…

    P.s. Yep, I skipped the text completely.

  2. Well the text is rather interesting as well , but it is the visual impact of the watch that does it for me.

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