The Glashutte based watchmaker Moritz Grossman has presented its first tourbillon timepiece named Benu Tourbillon. It is an impressive and technologically advanced timekeeper which includes several inventions and rarely used solutions. Apart from an exceptionally large flying three-minute tourbillon with a V-shaped balance bridge, the watch also includes three traits which are now pending patents: a new type of fine hair brush system for its stop seconds feature, a novel type of balance configuration, as well as an interesting dual-minute display on its regulator-type argenté dial with central minutes and separate indications for hours and seconds. Moreover, the manually wound mechanical caliber of this white gold-cased timepiece includes components made a lot of silver components with hand-perform finishes which are complemented with peculiar materials such as guaiacum wood and high-tech ARCAP alloy. Moritz Grossman Benu Tourbillon watch is issued in a limited edition of 50 pieces and has the approximate price of $230,000 that reflects is high-end status.
This immensely respectable watch is only the third watch in the Benu collection and the fourth overall timepiece launched by the young German brand which is now in its fifth year of existence. In the essence of this watch is proprietary 103.0 pillar movement caliber with quite a few uncommon features. Its rigid framework consists of a main plate and a 2/3 plate conjoined with two pillars which is a nod to traditional pocket chronometers produced in Glashutte (there are multiple other components that are also made in a traditional spirit). It possesses a separately removable winding system and features a whole lot of silver parts which were elaborately decorated by hand. The movement is adjusted in five positions and it incorporates 245 components in total in its construction, as well as 20 jewels. Now let us take a more careful look on a host of innovations and bold solutions that are incorporated into its construction.
Caliber 103.0 – Three-Minute Tourbillon Movement with Numerous Innovations
The first on the extensive list of inventions featured in the piece is certainly its tourbillon complication with the longer rotating period of three minutes (which reduces the stress on the escapement). This three-minute tourbillon was originally developed by the famous German watchmaker Alfred Helwig who is also known as the person who came up with the first flying tourbillon in 1920. During the process of the creation of a three-minute tourbillon (which turns in the anti-clockwise direction when observed from the dial side), the watchmakers and engineers from the Glashutte based brand used his classical horological book named “Drehganguhren”. The tourbillon’s carriage, which has the pretty substantial diameter of 16.2 mm and which is made of 59 parts, is held in place with a manually-engraved silver cock from the lower side. On the opposite upper side, we can see the mentioned V-shaped balance bridge which is also among the design solutions with the pending patent.
The asymmetric-arm lever escapement of the caliber is likewise constructed in the manner of traditional pocket watches from the German center of horology. This decision guarantees better mass distribution and stability. Its balance which oscillates at the rate of 18,000 vph is shock-protected and made in accordance with the brand’s designs which enhances adjustability of inertia and reduces air resistance and mass, while the balance spring is Nivarox 1 with a terminal overcoil. The suspended balance spring features the curve which was calculated by the brand’s expert Gustav Gerstenberger and it sits under the balance to provide a better view on the tourbillon carriage.
Another cool feature of Moritz Grossman Benu Tourbillon is that it possesses a stop-seconds complication (that allows high precision adjustment) operated by pressing the crown and the smaller pusher located beneath it which interestingly utilizes a brush with human hair. Furthermore, the caliber has an extremely uncommon bilateral jewel bearing system used for its barrel that allows improved stability. By the way, the barrel enables the power reserve of three days, once it is fully wound by hand. When speaking about the exotic materials used in the movement, we should turn our attention to the break ring which is made of an exceptionally hard guaiacum wood, as it was the case with clocks which John Harrison designed in the 18th century. Moving forward to modern times and high-tech materials, the caliber 103.0 possesses train wheels made of ARCAP which enables better precision, as well as aesthetically pleasing effect. We should also say that the balance is made from beryllium bronze alloy.
The high-end status of the timepiece also reflects in the elaborate hand-performed decorations of the silver movement, most notably its 2/3 plate and tourbillon cock. Moreover, there is a notable Glashutte stripes motif and snailing on the ratchet wheel. Another feature that combines easier maintenance with good looks is the presence of white jewels inside raised gold chatons with violet pan-head screws on their periphery.
A White Gold Case and a Silver Regulator Dial
After the detailed story about caliber 103.0, let us concentrate on other features of Moritz Grossman Benu Tourbillon. Its three-part case is of a round shape and made with a narrow bezel. The material used for the construction of the 44.5 mm wide and 13.8 mm thick case is 750 white gold. Beneath the sapphire crystal with a glare-proof treatment on one side is a three-part dial with Arabic numerals which is made of solid silver. It is a regulator type of dial where only minutes are shown via central hand while hours and seconds are indicated on slightly lowered sub-dials that sit at the upper part of the watch’s face. Since the very bottom of the watch’s dial is reserved for the enlarged tourbillon cage, there is no room for minute markers between 25 and 35 minutes. The brand’s designers overcame this issue with the addition of a retrograde scale in the center which is used in this period. Interestingly, the minutes on this scale are shown with the opposite (a counterweight) part of the minute hand which is another innovative solution. It should also be said that the hands used on the dial are made by hand from steel which is treated in order to have a brownish-violet shade. The final segment of this amazing timepiece with the reference number 001.G-221-11-1 and the price of nearly a quarter million dollars is a black hand-stitched alligator strap which locks with a white gold butterfly clasp.