The new watch by the Grönefeld brothers features one of the rarest and the most prized complications in the world of watchmaking – a remontoire. It is so important since it guarantees the same rate in which the torque is delivered to the regulating organ, regardless of the state of power reserve. The watch is made with a superbly finished silver dial and placed inside a round housing whose creation is extremely demanding. The case of Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire is made in red gold or white gold, while the price tag is around $50,000.
A Remontoire is exceptionally hard to make in a wristwatch which is why there are very few timekeepers with the feature, even though more and more high-end watchmakers have been lately making pieces with it. The latest one of them is Grönefeld and its timepiece named 1941 Remontoire.
A Means to a Constant Force
The feature itself is so important since it keeps the rate of the movement steady and thus enables higher precision. Unlike common movements where energy from the main-spring is delivered directly to the balance and the escapement, a remontoire serves as a mediator between them. It is a secondary source of energy which is periodically powered by the main-spring (in this case every eight seconds) while it powers the regulating organ of the watch in the constant rate, thus ensuring an optimal functioning. When there is no such device, the amount of energy that is supplied varies, which ultimately affects the accuracy of the movement.
The Family History as an Inspiration
Grönefeld is the watchmaking brand which is headed by two brothers, Tim and Bart Grönefeld. The inspiration for their latest piece,1941 Remontoire, is in the family tradition. Their father who was also a watchmaker (in fact the brothers are the third generation of Grönefelds in the same profession) was in charge of servicing a church clock in the Dutch village of Asten. For this clock, a remontoire was a necessity since the hands were actually too far away from the movement. The “1941” part of the newcomers’ name is the birth year of their father Sven.
The mentioned church clock had another cool feature since its minute hand didn’t run continuously, but instead moved every 30 seconds, which was needed during the winter months so that ice and snow from it would fall off. Unfortunately, this interesting trait is not replicated on the wristwatch that Dutch brothers made.
The movement with the constant force that the Grönefelds used is comprised of 258 components in total and it integrates 36 jewels which are partially set inside gold chatons. The 8 second remontoire feature is made with a use of intricate satellite gearing mechanism which features twin ball bearings, hypocycloidal gears, jeweled levers and pinions. The movement also includes a variable inertia balance wheel and it runs on the frequency of 21,600 vph. Its base plate is made of brass with ruthenium electroplated treatment. As for the bridges, they are made of steel and are heavily decorated. Among the finishes that are used there are polishing by hand, circular graining and engraving.
Even though remontoires are usually seen in movements with bigger power reserve, this is not the case, since the hand-wound mechanical movement sports a power reserve which lasts for a day and a half (36 hours).
Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire has a round housing whose production is very demanding, as it is common for the watches of the manufacturer. The sculpted housing features hollowed, convex and concave elements and its creation demands several phases of polishing before the following stage of milling, so that the desired shape would be kept. The entire process lasts for a very long time, but as the manufacturer states, the final result of these efforts is worth the whole ordeal. The case is conjoined with lugs by hidden screws which can be detached and replaced.
This complex case is 39.5 mm wide and 10.5 mm thick. Additionally, the construction of the housing also includes two sapphire crystals with hard glare-proof coatings on both sides (the front one is domed, while the one on the case-back is flat). Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire has basic water resistance of 30 meters.
As for the material of the case, there are two options: white gold (Au750/Pd150) and red gold (Au750 5 N). Regardless of the choice of material, the case is engraved with the individual number that signifies its place in the series.
Underneath the sapphire crystal there is a dashing dial made of Sterling silver. For greater visual appeal, the silver is treated with frosted and satin-grained sections. The face also includes two central blued steel hands in sword shape, a small seconds counter at the bottom, as well as a governor speed regulator at the nine o’clock position.
The watch inspired by the Grönefeld family tradition in watchmaking is coupled with a hand-sewn ostrich leather strap which locks with a buckle in the material of the case and with an engraving of the brand’s name. The red gold version of the piece is slightly more affordable with the price tag of $49,500, while the other one costs $50,850.