Think brothers cannot and should not attempt to work together? Think that the hands on a mechanical watch can’t tick like a quartz? Think that the “little guys” never win the “big prizes”? Think again. When Bart and Tim Grönefeld completed their extensive training in Switzerland, they both retraced their roots back to the same building where their Grandfather had his own watchmaking workshop in Oldenzaal, the Netherlands, where they both work together perfectly amicably – that’s despite being brothers. The first watch they produced under their family name, was the sophisticated GTM-06 Tourbillon Minute Repeater, the second was the One Hertz - which features a complication – which quite literally makes it tick like a quartz …. and the “big prize”? …. despite some very stiff competition from some of the biggest in the industry, Bart and Tim Grönefeld were awarded the TimeZone Watch of the Year 2011 for their Grönefeld One Hertz seen here in its resplendent rose gold “Dune” edition. Not only are the Grönefelds some of the most skillful watchmakers in the business, they are quite good at myth-busting too.
Seconde d’un coup, sudden second, seconde morte, dead beat seconds – whatever you wish to call it, it sounds dramatic… and in every sense, it is. As complications go the construction and integration of this one will confound all but the most adept watchmakers. On the dial it is no less impressive, a mechanical calibre which masaquerades as a quartz movement, a seconds hand which does not glide smoothly marking each second with a series of imperceptible advances, instead it lunges at each seconds marker with a theatrical jump. The seemingly exaggerated pause of one second between each movement is enough to accurately read and measure time precisely – to the second.
A tricky piece of engineering it may be, but Tim and Bart Grönefeld have raised the bar and made their Dead Beat Seconds complication just a bit better. Theirs has its own power supply – a mainspring and gear train all to itself – and will therefore happily “tick” the seconds by with extreme accuracy while being blissfully unaffected by the power used by the watch’s other functions. Ingenious, innovative and you’d have to say inspiring stuff, after all this is a complication which had been largely ignored by watchmakers for years and here it is not only being revived, but refined too.
On the dial are contrasting finishes and recessing – subtleties which add interest. As you would imagine the seconds subdial goes for dial domination, and why not? it is a beautiful and boast-worthy feature. At 2 o’clock are the hours and minutes, and the two dials interlock superbly with a perfectly proportioned overlap. Tucked into the seconds subdial is a little sweeping power reserve indicator and at 3 o’clock is a setting/winding indicator – this is an unusual winding crown, one which requires you to push rather than pull to either set or wind. Making use of the only available dial space, the Grönefeld and One Hertz branding appears on opposing little screwed-on name plates.
The rose gold edition has a case measuring 43mm across and inside the Calibre G-02 is as unusual as it is impeccably finished and its assembly of bridges are well worth a loupe-attired inspection through the exhibition case back.
The Grönefeld One Hertz Dune is a limited edition of 20 pieces, but there are others – the Grönefeld One Hertz 1912 stainless steel limited to 12 pieces and this year’s platinum and titanium editions.
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