One of the top five Glashütte brands today, Moritz Grossmann produces exquisite watches with an emphasis on manually crafted details and high-quality in-house movements. The latest news from Moritz Grossmann is not about a new watch collection or a new movement; it is about the incorporation of handmade gold hands on the time-only Hamatic Vintage and the Benu Tourbillon. The beautifully made hands, which were already a signature feature of the brand’s watches, have been reinterpreted in solid rose gold. And when Moritz Grossmann says ‘made by hand, in-house’, it means precisely that. Both watches are limited editions of eight pieces.
Invited by Ferdinand Adolph Lange to set up a technical workshop in Glashütte, Moritz Grossmann started crafting high-precision measuring instruments and tools before turning his hand to pocket watches, astronomical pendulum clocks, marine chronometers and even got around to patenting his seconds counter. As one of the founding fathers of Glashütte’s proud watchmaking tradition, Grossmann wanted to encourage potential watchmakers, and in 1878, he co-founded the German School of Watchmaking in Glashütte. Following his death in 1885, the name Moritz Grossmann faded into oblivion. In 2008, the “Moritz Grossmann” marque was acquired by Christine Hutter, who staged its renaissance with an emphasis on “Schöntes Deutsches Handwerk” or “the most beautiful German craftsmanship”. Typical features of a Moritz Grossmann watch are borrowed from the founder’s pocket chronometers, including large movements and the characteristic untreated German silver two-third plate with Glashütte ribbing. With its reverence for handcrafted components and habillage, even the annealed steel hands are made in-house and stand out with their exceptionally sharp tips and elegant profiles.
Making hands is a complex procedure, and very few manufactures have mastered this time-consuming traditional craft. Moritz Grossmann manufactures its hands in-house by hand (excuse the redundancy) and has produced its first set of rose gold hands for the Hamatic Vintage and Tourbillon. According to the brand, a skilled specialist will spend an entire day perfecting a single set of hands. The first stage involves milling and eroding the blank from a plate of gold. The blank is then carefully ground using diamond files, a technique that requires skill, patience and experience to achieve the contours and curves required and to ensure smooth, polished surfaces down to the fractions of a millimetre. The result is elegant lance-shaped hands with needle-sharp tips.
In 2018, Moritz Grossmann presented its first automatic movement. Known as the Hamatic, the movement is powered by an unusual 19th-century self-winding hammer mechanism. Like previous editions of the Hamatic Vintage, the three-part 750/000 rose gold case measures 41mm and has a height of 11.35mm. The base of the dial is German silver that is mirror polished and then treated with a ‘black or’ finish to produce the glossy black colour. In contrast, the Roman numerals and railroad tracks for the minutes and small seconds are white. The small seconds counter truncates the VI marker and is decorated with snailing. Obviously, the novelty here is the incorporation of three beautiful handmade lance-shaped rose gold hands. Both the minutes and seconds hands have an elegant counterweight and alight perfectly on the track.
Instead of relying on a rotor, the Hamatic uses a small hammer-shaped pendulum with a heavy gold hammerhead that swings back and forth. The kinetic energy generated by the movement of the wearer’s arm is transferred via the ratchet wheel to the mainspring in the barrel to wind the watch. Please refer to Brice’s in-depth article if you are interested in this fascinating anachronism. The sapphire caseback reveals Moritz Grossmann’s unique in-house calibre 106.0 with its clear view of the hammer swinging in both directions. The finishings are spectacular with horizontal Glashütte ribbings on the main bridge, polished bevels, circular graining, snailing on mainspring barrel, three screwed gold chatons, hand-engraved inscriptions on the bridge and a hand-engraved cock, blued screws, etc.
A hand-stitched alligator strap with a rose gold prong buckle accompanies the Hamatic Vintage with gold hands. Limited to eight pieces, the watch retails for EUR 50,600.
Quick facts: 41mm x 11.35mm – rose gold three-part case, polished – black dial with white Roman numerals – handcrafted rose gold hands, polished – calibre 106.0, in-house, pillar construction – automatic with self-winding Hammer System – 36.4mm x 5.15mm – 312 parts – 38 jewels (3 gold chatons) – lever escapement – Grossmann balance with 4 inertia and 2 poising screws – 21,600 vph – 72-hour power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds – alligator strap with rose gold prong buckle – ref. MG-003079 – limited to 8 pieces – EUR 50,600
Benu Tourbillon with gold hands
Presented in 2014, the Benu Tourbillon was the brand’s first complication and staged the three-minute flying tourbillon with stop seconds in a large 16mm cage on the dial at 6 o’clock. The tourbillon is inspired by the flying tourbillon cage with a V-shaped balance bridge designed by another Glashütte watchmaking legend, Alfred Helwig. Another distinctive feature of the Benu Tourbillon is the divided minute display.
Like existing Benu Tourbillons in collection, the 750/000 rose gold case has a diameter of 44.5mm and a height of 13.9mm and is polished throughout. The three hands, originally annealed to a brown-violet colour in earlier editions, are now executed in lavish rose gold with impressively thin tips and an elongated, highly refined silhouette. The dial features a regulator-style layout with minutes on the periphery and small seconds and hours inside sub-dials. However, since the large aperture for the tourbillon eats into the minutes scale obliterating the time span from 25 to 35 minutes, Moritz Grossmann’s designers decided to place the missing ten-minute segment in an arched scale between the two horizontal sub-dials. Like the Hamatic, the solid silver dial displays a glossy black colour with silver (argenté) markings. The minutes flange rises above the dial and features cut-out indentations to accommodate the two sub-dials for small seconds and hours. The bridge with the 25-35 minute scale is also raised. The crown is used to set the hands, and the pusher in the caseband restarts the watch.
Moritz Grossmann’s in-house calibre 103.0 boasts a long list of technical and aesthetic refinements. What is unusual, though, was the incorporation of a stop-seconds mechanism and the human hair used inside the braking brush mechanism. Partially visible through the sapphire caseback, calibre 103.0 has a lever escapement, a Grossmann three-minute tourbillon with stop seconds, a Grossmann balance and a suspended Nivarox balance spring. Beating at 18,000vph, the movement can deliver a power reserve of 72 hours. The finishings are superlative with hand-engraved details on the bridge and balance cock, horizontal Glashütte ribbing, double-band snailing on the mainspring barrel, raised gold chatons, etc.
The Benu Tourbillon limited edition of eight timepieces comes with a hand-stitched alligator leather with a solid rose gold butterfly clasp. It retails for EUR 179,000.
Quick facts: 41mm x 11.35mm – rose gold three-part case, polished – black dial with silver markings – handcrafted rose gold hands, polished – aperture at 6 o’clock on dial for Grossmann 3-minute flying tourbillon in 16mm cage – calibre 103.0 in-house, manual-winding – 38.4mm x 7.1mm – 245 parts – 30 jewels (4 screwed gold chatons) – lever escapement – Grossmann balance – suspended Nivarox balance spring – 18,000vph – 72h power reserve – 3-minute flying tourbillon, sweep minutes, off-centred hours and seconds with stop seconds – alligator strap with rose gold butterfly clasp – ref. MG-003077 – limited edition of 8 watches – alligator strap with rose gold butterfly clasp – EUR 179,000
For more information, please visit Moritz Grossmann.