The art of watchmakingNewcomer: Grönefeld Exclusive Timepieces
Although seemingly a newcomer to the watch marketplace, the name Grönefeld and the art of watchmaking have a family history spanning nearly one hundred years, originating in the small and ancient town of Oldenzaal located in The Netherlands. It is there, in a shop directly under the view of the ancient basilica church and its tower dating from 1240, that the great grandfather of the present watchmakers, Johan Grönefeld, began his career as a watchmaker in 1912. This marked the beginning of the small and highly talented dynasty of Grönefeld watchmakers, which reaches to the present day with the brothers Bart and Tim Grönefeld. Their workshop is located in the same building as that used by Johan Grönefeld, representing a continuous, unbroken watchmaking family history that is exceptionally rare to find anywhere in the world today.
Both Tim and Bart Grönefeld underwent extensive training in Switzerland, and within a relatively short span of time proved themselves adept world specialists in the production of the most coveted and exquisite horological creation of all: the tourbillon minute repeater wristwatch. Working anonymously behind the scenes, they have created such pieces for all of the greatest watchmaking houses of Switzerland from A to Z. This fall they will be releasing their first personally branded timepiece, the GTM-06, which has been in development for more than four years.
With its musical nature, utilizing miniature hammers and cathedral gongs to chime the hours, quarters and minutes as requested by the user, in combination with a tourbillon regulating device, the Grönefeld tourbillon minute repeater makes mechanical demands on watchmakers that go far beyond the majority of watches on offer today. Only a handful of watchmakers in the world, either inside or outside of Switzerland, are able to deal with horological creations comprising this type of extreme complexity.
Their company is also the very first and only one in Holland’s history able to offer a Grand Complication wristwatch of this extreme mechanical intricacy.
The watch differs from other repeater wristwatches in a number of details. This is first and foremost a man’s repeater wristwatch, as one can see in its full bodied and forceful lines. But there is also an acoustic reason behind this design aspect, as the case volume allows the gongs to develop a full and pure sound. The lugs, which also convey the full outlines of the case to the special galuchat strap, appear to be straightforward but they are not. Using specially developed micro-machining techniques invisible from the exterior, the lugs are specially channeled in order to allow the resonance of the case not to be dampened by their mass. This is the result of experiments and vast experience that both Tim and Bart developed in the course of years of work on minute repeater mechanisms, as well as careful listening and tuning of the sounds the minute gongs produce. The GTM-06 also utilizes a Cathedral type gong that has a longer winding within the confines of the case, thus providing the fullest possible tone achievable.
The dial is formed by the beautifully finished movement itself, decorated with Geneva stripes, perlage, anglage and perfectly polished screws, hands, indexes and springs. Black polish, the most impossibly demanding and difficult ‘dark art’ of fine finishing found only in the most expensive watches, is used extensively throughout the movement. Even those areas never to be seen by the user are given exquisite finishing on a level that has become increasing rare in the world of haute horlogerie today. The modern styled chapter ring of black onyx is adorned with highly polished hour indexes that catch the light at every angle to provide a subtle and discrete view of the time. Only the fine finishing of the parts before assembly starts takes more than 2 months of intensive work in several stages to complete.
The watches are available with 18 carat 4N rose gold cases and in 950 platinum. There are plans to develop a unique diamonds set GTM-06 a limited series stealth model in black DLC coated titanium during the course of 2009. Only one unique edition “His & Hers set” will be available. Both will have a minute repeater but the ladies watch will not have the tourbillon mechanism. There are many short, medium and long-term plans to follow as the brand develops and grows.
Scope of delivery
The Grönefeld GTM-06 is delivered in an ultra high-end presentation box of unparalleled quality and design. The hand finished, black piano lacquer box contains two shelves, the uppermost a leather-lined tray with the watch, a comprehensive leather-bound instruction book, guarantee certificate and space for cuff links or other accoutrements. Below is a special, ventilated wooden tray for cigars. Another level lower, one pushes on the engraved aircraft aluminum inlay with Grönefeld logo, and a secret drawer appears containing a Davidoff (Dupont) black lacquer gas lighter and two cigar cutters.