Moritz Grossmann (a manufacturer named after the founder and director of the German School of Watchmaking) creates some of the most beautifully crafted wristwatches available today, and one of its finest offerings is the Tefnut Silver-Plated by Friction, introduced earlier this year. Like the brand’s Tremblage, Hamatic or Benu Heritage models, this watch is rich in carefully thought-out details, yet with a subtle, discreet elegance. It embodies the classic Glashütte style with an absorbingly high level of attention to the essential features, with every part of this timepiece finished to the highest possible standard. The case material, stainless steel or rose gold, differentiates the two existing Tefnut Silver-Plated by Friction versions. We recently had the opportunity to experience the gorgeous rose gold edition hands-on, and here is our report.
The silhouette of the 39mm diameter and 8.5mm thick Moritz Grossmann Tefnut case is slender and gently hugs the wrist with the brown alligator leather strap. It looks simple and minimalistic, yet it is beautifully executed and immaculately finished with a full polish. The fluted gold crown, the gracefully tapered lugs, and the slightly curved sapphire crystal and caseback make for a very elegant watch. Yet, its exquisitely textured matte silver dial, crafted using a traditional 19th-century technique, and its elements make this watch complete and beautiful. This technique, which gave name to the model, is silver-plating by friction, and we feel it’s important to explain the process, as it proves how deeply Moritz Grossmann believes that handmade “is not just a method, it is a philosophy and a conviction“, to quote the company’s website.
The work is carried out in the Moritz Grossmann ateliers by the few experts who have mastered this traditional finishing technique, for every single step must be executed with great sensitivity and requires a delicate touch combined with experience. The Breguet-like Arabic numerals with their delicate curve, the minute track, the recessed small seconds sub-dial track at 6 o’clock, the historic M. Grossmann logo (dating from 1875) and the Made in Germany mention are engraved and filled with black lacquer. A special paste comprising silver powder, salt, cream of tartar (a byproduct of wine-making, this powder-like, acidic sediment is left behind during fermentation) and water is prepared and rubbed on the solid silver dial base using a brush and worked in until the surface exhibits a fine grain. The dial is then carefully polished and fired in the kiln to emerge with a unique and striking look.
Without a doubt, the slender, perfectly handcrafted hour, minute and seconds hands are the next most striking element of the dial, which have been tempered to a brownish violet hue that has become the brand’s signature. While the same hands adorn the stainless steel version of the Tefnut Silver-Plated by Friction, the rose gold case makes them exceptionally captivating and perfectly harmonious with the rest of the watch.
As much as the front of the watch can grab your attention and have you spending a lot of time in admiration, the back of the Tefnut Silver-Plated by Friction is no less exciting, for the sapphire crystal caseback reveals plenty of the hand-wound and abundantly decorated calibre 102.01 to enjoy.
Not exemplary (by modern standards) with only 48 hours of power reserve, in exemplary and typical Moritz Grossmann fashion, the calibre 102.1 is finished and decorated to the best standards of Saxon watchmaking. The German silver 3/5 plate has the distinctive Glashütte ribbing on the top surface, with bevelled and polished edges. The plate is hand-engraved with the full Moritz Grossmann logo in capital letters, and the movement number and 22 Steine – 22 jewels are engraved on it as well.
Note the heat-treated violet flat-top screws that secure gold chatons holding white sapphire bearings in a raised arrangement, something that comes from the Grossmann pocket watches and serves not just to please the eye but also makes it possible, when needed, to remove and clean each of the bearing jewels and avoid damaging the plate when resetting them. The screwed ratchet wheel is adorned with two bands of snailing, the stepped balance cock with a Grossmann micrometric screw that can be used to adjust the rate, and the escape wheel cocks are hand-engraved with a floral pattern. The main plate underneath, also in German silver, has a simple frosted finish for visual contrast.
The caseback is held in its place by four screws, and the metal part is engraved with compulsory information, case number being the most useful one. Water resistance is not mentioned anywhere (the brand website included), perhaps by default, considering the owner will take good care of the timepiece after paying EUR 36,300 (taxes excluded) for this beautiful exemplar. The price certainly raises questions with some (and these individuals will be totally missing the point), but those with means and an affinity for German watchmaking and decorative arts will feel right at home with this truly exceptional watch. The steel version is priced at EUR 25,400 (taxes excluded).