This chiming wristwatch, the most complicated wristwatch ever created in The Netherland’s history, is a so-called tourbillon with a minute repeater mechanism, able to sound the exact time on tiny gongs held within its case. In the world of horology this type of wristwatch represents the watchmaker’s Mount Everest in terms of the difficulties it contains, requiring more than 6 months of careful construction, assembly and regulation before completion.
The GTM-06 is the first in a line of wristwatches planned by the Oldenzaal based watchmakers Bart and Tim Grönefeld, who have spent 4 years of hard work before the realization of this new timepiece would become a reality.
With a contemporary and masculine look, the GTM-06 Tourbillon Minute Repeater wristwatch is available in a strictly limited edition of 10 pieces in 18 carat 4N gold and 10 in 950 platinum, priced at Euro 325,000 and 385,000 accordingly.
With its musical nature, utilizing miniature hammers and cathedral gongs to chime the hours, quarters and minutes as requested by the user, in combination with a tourbillon regulating device, the Grönefeld tourbillon minute repeater makes mechanical demands on watchmakers that go far beyond the majority of watches on offer today. Only a handful of watchmakers in the world, either inside or outside of Switzerland, are able to deal with horological creations comprising this type of extreme complexity.
The watch differs from other repeater wristwatches in a number of details. This is first and foremost a man’s repeater wristwatch, as one can see in its full bodied and forceful lines. But there is also an acoustic reason behind this design aspect, as the case volume allows the gongs to develop a full and pure sound. The lugs, which also convey the full outlines of the case to the special galuchat strap, appear to be straightforward but they are not.
Using specially developed micro-machining techniques invisible from the exterior, the lugs are specially channeled in order to allow the resonance of the case not to be dampened by their mass. This is the result of experiments and vast experience that both Tim and Bart developed in the course of years of work on minute repeater mechanisms, as well as careful listening and tuning of the sounds the minute gongs produce. The GTM-06 also utilizes a Cathedral type gong that has a longer winding within the confines of the case, thus providing the fullest possible tone achievable.
The dial is formed by the beautifully finished movement itself, decorated with Geneva stripes, perlage, anglage and perfectly polished screws, hands, indexes and springs. Black polish, the most impossibly demanding and difficult ‘dark art’ of fine finishing found only in the most expensive watches, is used extensively throughout the movement.
Even those areas never to be seen by the user are given exquisite finishing on a level that has become increasing rare in the world of haute horlogerie today. The modern styled chapter ring of black onyx is adorned with highly polished hour indexes that catch the light at every angle to provide a subtle and discrete view of the time. Only the fine finishing of the parts before assembly starts takes more than 2 months of intensive work in several stages to complete.
The watches will first be available with 18 carat rose gold cases, and shortly after with a minimal number available in 950 platinum during the first year. There are plans to develop a limited series stealth model in black DLC coated titanium during the course of 2009, and there are many short, medium and long-term plans to follow as the brand develops and grows.
The Grönefeld GTM-06 is delivered in an ultra high-end presentation box of unparalleled quality and design. The hand finished, black piano lacquer box contains two shelves, the uppermost a leather-lined tray with the watch, a comprehensive leather-bound instruction book, guarantee certificate and space for cuff links or other accoutrements. Below is a special, ventilated wooden tray for cigars.
Another level lower, one pushes on the engraved aircraft aluminum inlay with Grönefeld logo, and a secret drawer appears containing a Davidoff (Dupont) black lacquer gas lighter and two cigar cutters.
Find more details about Grönefeld watch brand and its history.