I was waiting patiently to see the new beauty from the Horological Brothers – the Grönefelds. My expectation was fulfilled and my joy has no margins regarding the Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire – a new watch, an old complication and a lot of Grönefeld specific elements. But about that a little later, first I need to find out more about this interesting complication.
– “Remontoir: a device to give a uniform impulse to a pendulum or balance” – Webster Dictionary;
The remontoire was born in wristwatches from the necessity of a constant force for the escapement since the energy from the main spring gradually decreases (maximum force is at full wound and decreases with spring relaxation). The remontoire spring can be rewound at intervals of one second to one hour. The rewinding process is triggered automatically when the remontoire’s weight or spring reaches the end of its power. This frequent rewinding is another source of accuracy, because it averages out any variations in the clock’s rate due to changes in the force of the remontoire itself. If the rate of the clock varies as the remontoire spring runs down, this variation will be repeated again and again, each time the remontoire goes through its cycle, so it will have no effect on the long term rate of the clock. (Wikipedia – “Clocks”. Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th Ed. 6. The Encyclopædia Britannica Co., Cambridge. 1910. Retrieved 2008-06-08. p.543-544)
The first one who used the spring remontoire was John Harrison at the development of his marine chronometer. (ca. 1760 AD)
1941 REMONTOIRE CONSTANT FORCE
First I was intrigued by the name 1941 Remontoire and I wanted to know the background of it: it’s a respect that they bring to their father born in 1941 and to the old church’s clock from Asten, which has a 30 seconds remontoire and it’s in Grönefeld’s family care for 2 generations. So a loving father and nice childhood memories are perfect romantic reasons for a beautiful watch.
Movement Grönefeld G05
The new beast from Grönefeld hides in a rose-gold or white-gold case, described later, and it’s an inhouse new caliber named G-05. This caliber will be produced in a limited 188 pieces. The heart it’s a free sprung with Philips terminal over coil curve with triangle hairspring stud and beats at 3Hz (21600vph). I think it’s the same type used in One Hertz, and it’s mounted on a 10mm variable-inertia balance wheel. The balance wheel has four white gold timing screws. The escapement is a classic Swiss lever.
The 36 jewels complete the 258 components of the caliber that can sustain a 36 hours constant force power reserve.
The G-05 Caliber
The construction of the calibre wears the distinct work of the Horological Brothers:
– the main plate is spotted and ruthenium electroplated brass;
Main plate finishes with mounted balance wheel and bridge, remontoire and bridge
– the bridges are stainless steel, bevels polished by hand with a micro-blasted centre and circular grain on the top to highlight the bridge’s shapes and engravings. The contrast between the frosted inlay and the well-polished sides is a trademark for Grönefeld and an excellent example of hand finishing.
– engraved and gold filled Grönefeld logo on the barrel, in relief number of jewels on balance bridge and in relief eight seconds remontoire on remontoire bridge.
Unfinished bridge (that will fix and hold the balance wheel)
G-05 technical drawing with missing bridges
To optimize time keeping a small hairspring is wound every 8 seconds to guarantee a constant force for the escapement. A complex satellite gearing mechanism with hypocycloidal gears, twin ball bearings, pinions and jewelled levers, achieve this. – http://www.gronefeld.com/collection/1941-remontoire/#movement
The 8 seconds remontoire technical drawing
A key element of the remontoire: the anchor
The bridge that fix the anchor and the five lobs cam (used to release the anchor)
with two jewels in gold chatons
A wheel part of the winding mechanism with extraordinary finishes for such an unimportant part
The serial number is engraved under the balance wheel
A detail on balance wheel and escapement with one of the gold timing screws (right one) and a jewel in gold chaton
The calibre features a governor, visible on the dial, used to limit the force between remontoire and gear train and it’s activated every 8 seconds at charging the remontoire.
Detail of the remontoire mechanism
The case of 1941 Remontoire
The 39.5mm diameter and 10.5mm thickness case wears the same care for details as the calibre. The choice of material is gold: red gold Au750 5N and white gold Au750/Pd150. The interesting fact for the white gold variant is the alloy with Palladium which assures the look of the case without the Rhodium plating.
18k Gold cases with visible G-05 Caliber
The sculpted case is executed with a specially shaped cutter to create its characteristic hollowed, concave recesses and convex surfaces. In between each additional cutting phase, the case is polished prior to the next stage of milling, ensuring the precisely defined contours of the case are retained. This process proves incredibly time-consuming but the outcome justifies the effort. The lugs are retained with two hidden titanium screws, positioned inside the case. The lugs can be detached for remedial polishing or, should they have been subject to excessive trauma, they can be replaced. – http://www.gronefeld.com/collection/1941-remontoire/#movement
Having the possibility to remove/change the lugs is brilliant. The entire design offers beauty and later on an easier maintenance. The multi drilling technique and polishing in between has as result a complex and beautiful case. The case back is fixed with 8 gold screws that add another technical detail on this very elegant case. The calibre is visible through a double-sided anti-reflexive coated sapphire.
On the top, the dial is covered by a domed sapphire crystal that has the same anti-reflexive double-sided coating. In total, the case has an impressive number of 66 components, offers 3 atm waterproof and has the Grönefeld name and the serial number engraved.
The crown has a new shape, adequate to the new case, and comes in white gold with no Rhodium plating or red gold engraved with the Grönefeld logo.
Multi-stage milling and polishing with an impressive result
The most visible part of the watch, the dial, is handcrafted from solid sterling silver with satin-grained surfaces. The frosted look is accentuated by the polished edges.
The faceted, diamond cut, hour indexes give a nice contrast on the dial, time reading is easy and the attention for the small detail catches the eye between the different depths on the dial.
The hands are my favourites: gorgeous hand polished, flame-blued, steel in Lancette shape.
Satin-grained dial with polished edges
The light has plenty of playground between the depths of 1941 Remontoire dial
At 6 o’clock you can find the small seconds sub-dial, marked with Arabic numerals in decades, featuring the same distinct mark of the Horological Brothers – depths on the dial. The small seconds’ hand it’s poised, flame-blued steel piece. “Handcrafted” is proudly written on the lowest side of the sub-dial.
Small second sub-dial
The governor used to regulate the speed of the remontoire is positioned on the dial at 9 o’clock, moves every 8 seconds and puts the speed of the remontoire on a leash. And yes, every 8 seconds it’s going crazy… Highly polished and sitting in a gold chaton, the governor is an interesting and unusual piece to be seen on a dial, usually, it is used in minute repeater mechanism and it’s hidden under the dial.
The governor visible on the left side of the dial
The watch comes with hand-sewn ostrich leather strap with WG Au750/Pd150 or RG Au750 5N buckle engraved with Grönefeld logo. The strap is a quick-release system, means you can change it in a matter of seconds with the strap choice of the moment. The entire appearance is stylish, elegant and at 39.5 mm diameter and 10.5 mm thickness makes a very good impression.
The 1941 Remontoire can be offered in different case materials and dials, but the presented models have a price tag of around 50k euro.
More information can be found on http://www.gronefeld.com/collection/1941-remontoire/, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: +31 6 206 246 73