Independent German watch manufacturer, Moritz Grossmann has come a long way in its short 12-year history. When trained watchmaker, Christine Hutter claimed rights to the company in 2008 she intended to revive the heritage of Carl Moritz Grossmann – a 19th-century pocket watch and clockmaker who also founded Glashutte’s German School of Watchmaking in 1878. The watches crafted here were hand-finished and incorporated a special dial technique. The process, called grain or silver plating by friction, refined the dial of a watch. At the time, limited dial-finishing techniques were available due to the lack of electrical power supply. Silver-plated by friction dials were the answer during the pre-industrial era – a finish that is now celebrated in Moritz Grossmann’s new XII Birthday Edition watch of just 12 pieces worldwide.
Today, of course, watch dials can be finished much easier with special plating or process-controlled electroplating. Moritz Grossman, however, wanted to shine a light on the traditional finishing technique used in Glashutte and on the dials of Grossman’s exquisite pendulum watches with this limited edition two-handed dress watch. German manufactory, Grossmann Uhren GmbH in Glashütte I./ SA has created just 6 pieces of this limited edition watch in 18ct rose gold and 6 pieces in stainless steel.
Achieving the silver-plating by friction dial
To achieve the velvet-like surface on the dial of the XII Birthday Edition watch, the traditional silver-plating by friction method is faithfully adhered to. Silver granules, salt and tartar are added to a whitish powder. Water is then mixed with this blend and rubbed into the surface of a brass sheet to embed a textured surface. A fine-grained velvet-like effect that reflects light without creating a glare is the result.
The numerals and the Moritz Grossmann logo are then engraved into the dial’s surface and filled with black lacquer before the dial is silver-plated and fired in the oven. The indices on the dial can retain their rich black colour since the silver powder won’t stick to these deep inlays. The black recessed elements of the dial create a stark contrast against their silvery backdrop, enhancing legibility. The excess lacquer leaving a residue on top of the dial is then removed by a sanding process which also roughens its surface to add a sense of depth to the display.
The Moritz Grossmann XII Birthday Edition
Unarguably, the Moritz Grossmann XII Birthday Edition watch has a distinct vintage aesthetic. The traditional Roman numerals are characteristic of the timepieces designed by Carl Moritz Grossmann at the prestigious German School of Watchmaking in Glashütte. Underscoring this period styling is the company lettering, etched into the surface of the dial at 12 o’clock. Heated and cooled blue poiré-shaped hands add a very subtle drop of colour to the dial. The small second subsidiary dial located at 6 o’clock lends more space and clarity to the central hour and minute hands and is framed by a slim bezel measuring 41mm in diameter.
Flipping the Moritz Grossmann XII Birthday Edition watch over to its underside will reveal a sapphire-backed case. The exhibition caseback provides a view of the manually-wound Calibre 100.1, complete with a horizontal Glashutte ribbed finish to its 2/3 plate. A curved plate cut-out balance is also on show, as is hand polished finishes applied to the levers and springs. The manual-winding movement beats at 18,000 vibrations per hour and delivers a 42-hour power reserve. The hand-setting mechanism at 4 o’clock on the watch’s case eliminates the risk of accidentally adjusting the hands when pushing the crown back into place and reduces the risk of dust and moisture entering the watch’s internal structure.
Availability & Price
The 18ct rose gold XII Birthday Edition watch is priced at EUR 27,600 and comes fitted on a dark brown hand-stitched alligator leather strap with matching rose gold prong buckle. The steel version, priced at EUR 19,100, is finished on a black hand-stitched alligator leather strap with matching steel prong buckle. Both are limited to 6 pieces.
More details at grossmann-uhren.com.