Hands-on: entry-level, Horological Brothers style – the Grönefeld 1941 Principia

The "affordable" Grönefeld piece and the first automatic watch from the Dutch brothers

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Grönefeld 1941 Principia in Red Gold Au750 5N
Grönefeld 1941 Principia in Red Gold Au750 5N

Since last year’s October, I wished to get my hands on the new 1941 Principa from the prominent Horological Brothers. The Grönefeld 1941 Principia press release was the first to introduce me to the new timepiece. But I had to have my hands-on on it. Why? It was the first automatic watch from the Grönefelds and the entry-level piece from their collection. I will leave the video and the pictures do the talking.

The Grönefeld 1941 Principia

For those of you, familiar with the work of the brothers, you know there is no room for something less than magnificent. When it comes to finishes, the Grönefeld team does a very good job. For those of you less familiar, check this article I wrote a while ago: 1941 Remontoire – learning a complication with the Grönefeld brothers.

The 1941 case

Grönefeld 1941 Principia in White Gold Au750/Pd210
Grönefeld 1941 Principia in White Gold Au750/Pd210
The typical 1941 case, recognisable from the Remontoire 1941 collection
Grönefeld 1941 Principia in White Gold Au750/Pd210
Principia can be ordered in red gold, white gold (this example) and steel
Grönefeld 1941 Principia
Note the voluptuous lines of the 1941 case. The case measures a diameter of 39,5 mm and a thickness of 10,5 mm
Grönefeld 1941 Principia
As a signature element, the crown, in the same material as the case, has the Grönefeld logo engraved, plus the specific shape.
Grönefeld 1941 Principia crown side
The elegant lines of the 1941 case are a beautiful evolution from the previous collection. And not with the idea that the old ones have something wrong, but the new ones are more appealing to a certain type of gentleman. In this picture, you can easily observe the case mirror polish tendency as a fingerprint magnet.

Strap and buckle

The solid sterling silver dial

Grönefeld 1941 Principia dial
There are five dial types to choose from: the cream lacquer dial above, a salmon dial, a turquoise, a light blue and a rhodium dial.
Grönefeld 1941 Principia dial
There are two main variations of the dial: with printed Roman numerals and with applied indexes.

Lancette hands

One of the striking details of the Grönefeld watches is the beautiful hands. The lancette hands are flame-blued steel after a mirror polished centres. By daily life, it means a playful set of reflections and lights games.

Grönefeld 1941 Principia dial

Grönefeld 1941 Principia dial

 

Grönefeld 1941 Principia dial

Small seconds sub-dial

The sunken sub-dial placed at 6 o’clock is a mix of Roman numerals and indexes. The poised seconds’ hand is also blued through a thermal process done by hand.

Grönefeld 1941 Principia dial

Grönefeld 1941 Principia dial

Grönefeld 1941 Principia dial

The back, the movement, the wonder

The back of the 1941 Principia reveals the architectural construction of the brothers’ creation. The movement is realised in the same Grönefeld typical design. The finishes are gorgeous. The 226 parts form a horological dream with 56 hours of power reserve.

Grönefeld 1941 Principia crown side

Grönefeld 1941 Principia crown side

Grönefeld 1941 Principia crown side

The rotor weight is manufactured in solid gold. The oscillating mass is mounted on high precision ceramic ball bearing for reduced stress (less wear on the ceramic systems). Ceramic ball bearing removed the need for lubrication, so the needed service interval can be longer.

high precision ceramic ball bearing
The rotor weight is decorated with Grönefeld logo and name on a frosted background. The uni-directional winding mechanism. For a 24 hours autonomy are required 633 rotations of the oscillating mass.

One of the important details in a Grönefeld movement is the material. The Dutch brothers use steel for bridges. That brings a spectacular end finish but implies much more difficult processes. The finishes, done by hand, are spectacular: polished bevels, micro-blasted centre, circular grain on the top to highlight the bridges shapes and relief engravings. The brass mainplate is spotted and ruthenium electroplated (visible under balance wheel).

Grönefeld 1941 Principia

Grönefeld 1941 Principia

Grönefeld 1941 Principia

There is no difference in movements from one case material to the other.

Grönefeld 1941 Principia

The end of the article contains a gallery with all the above pictures plus extra. If you want one of the pictures in higher resolution, drop me a message.

Grönefeld 1941 Principia in my mind

This timepiece might be the cheapest from the Grönefelds’ collection but is not cheap. More precise, is not a watch at the price of a decent Swiss piece, but a timepiece at a decent price, considering the tremendous work involved.

Grönefeld 1941 Principia
Grönefeld 1941 Principia in Red Gold Au750 5N

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. Winston Churchill

Grönefeld 1941 Principia WG
Grönefeld 1941 Principia in White Gold Au750/Pd210 (non-rhodium plated)

The new Grönefeld 1941 Principia is a cool watch, regardless of the case material. The movement is a typical Grönefeld high-end finished calibre. Is something you expect from a watch coming from the hands of Tim and Bart. It feels good on the wrist, in hands. It is cool also to see it on other wrists. Is recognisable, lovable, special…

Grönefeld 1941 Principia Technical Specifications

Movement

Movement dimensions Diameter: 32,0 mmThickness: 5,5 mm
Number of parts 226 parts
Power reserve 56 hours
Number of jewels 31 jewels, partially set in solid gold chatons
Automatic system Uni-directional winding mechanismFor 24 hours of autonomy 633 rotations of the Oscillating mass are required
Oscillating mass Entirely decorated by hand. 22-karat solid gold. Pivoted on a high precision ceramic ball bearing to avoid excessive wear and the need of lubrication
Balance wheel Variable-inertia balance wheel with four white gold timing screws (diameter 10 mm)
Frequency 21.600 vibrations/hour
Balance spring Free sprung with Phillips terminal over coil curve with triangle hairspring stud
Escapement Jewelled Swiss lever
Main Plate Spotted and ruthenium electroplated brass main plate
Bridges Stainless steel, bevels polished by hand, micro-blasted centre, circular grain on the top to highlight the bridges shapes and relief engravings
Displays Central hours and minutessmall seconds at 6 o’clock

Case and dial

Number of components 54 parts
Case dimensions Diameter: 39,5 mmThickness: 10,5 mm
Water resistance 3 atmospheres – 30 meters – 100 feet
Crown Red Gold Au750 5N, White Gold Au750/Pd210 (non-rhodium plated) or Stainless Steel 916L engraved with logo
Dial Base material: Solid Sterling Silver 925
Hands Extended Lancette hands. Flame-blued steel and mirror polished centres. A small poised seconds hand
Strap A vast variety of leathers and colours are available
Buckle Pin buckle made in Red Gold Au750 5N, White Gold Au750/Pd210 (non-rhodium plated) or Stainless Steel 916L engraved with Grönefeld

For more information, please visit the Grönefeld Watches Website.

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