Moritz Grossmann ATUM Enamel
‘Restrained Sophistication’ – a hands-on review of the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Enamel by Justin Hast
You know that feeling when you’re sat in the shop listening to the guy telling you about the history of a brand, and you’re nodding away like one of those plastic dogs in the back of a car. Well you’re not the only one. What I’ve found is that it’s only after the information has sunk in, long after you have left, you start to question it. There are plenty of brands around with stories that have either been created by the marketing team or blown way out of proportion. Neither is the case with Moritz Grossmann.
Moritz Grossmann is a brand with roots as pure and influential as any in the watchmaking industry. The man himself was born in Dresden, Germany in 1826. A visionary among Germany’s great watchmakers – in 1854, he established his own mechanical workshop in Glashütte. Aside from building a respected watchmaking business, Grossmann was also committed to political and social causes. He established the German School of Watchmaking in 1878 which I had the pleasure of visiting a few weeks ago. It’s quite incredible to see the brands such as A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte Original, Nomos, Mühle Glashütte and Wempe Chronometerwerke Glashütte i/SA, operating and thriving in Glashütte because of the school.
In 2008, trained watchmaker Christine Hutter discovered the Moritz Grossmann brand and had it re-registered. Since then she has gone on to develop a quite outstanding range of watches with traditional Glashütte design elements across the board. The watch I had the pleasure of wearing for this review was the ATUM Enamel, a timepiece so wonderfully crafted, and understated, that I am sure Mr Grossmann himself would have been proud to wear it.
I must confess, if there is one thing in watchmaking that really gets me hot under the collar, it’s an enamel dial. I get that same feeling any normal hot blooded male would get when seeing that gloriously tanned Norwegian exchange student back at the coffee shop you happen to be working at. I’m not sure if it’s the fact you rarely see them (as they tend to be difficult to manufacture) or it’s the old-school allure of pocket watches from yesteryear. The gloss of an enamel dial just can’t be imitated by any lacquering method. The dial on the ATUM requires hours of work to produce and has a glorious vibrancy to its ivory surface.
The dial features elegant black Roman numerals, with a royal blue numeral at 12 o’clock which matches seamlessly to the blue alligator strap. Encircling the dial is a railway minute track, repeated in miniature on the small seconds at 6 o’clock. The subdial is slightly recessed, adding some shallow depths to the display. The three steel hands are showstopper’s. Elongated into a pear shape, they have been annealed to produce an unusual violet-brown hue like no other. The contrast on the dial is exquisite.
The case seamlessly hugs the wrist. Comfort is often overlooked as a factor when buying a watch – it shouldn’t be – and I can tell you this is a comfortable watch. Crafted by hand in rose gold, it’s a good size modern dress watch at 41 mm x 11.65 mm. I was impressed for a watch of its size and elegance how well it transferred from formal settings to more relaxed environments.
The ATUM Enamel is endowed with an exquisitely beautiful manufacture calibre 100.1 slowly beating at 18,000 vibrations per hour (a mesmerising sound from across the room) with a power reserve of 42 hours. Features include the Grossmann winder with pusher, the Grossmann balance, the modified Glashütte stopwork, the beat adjustment system with an index tail and the Grossmann poising screw with prominent 2/3 plate. Oh, and the finishing – just amazing. Sharp edges, beautiful hand decoration on the balance cock – this ATUM has an array of attributes visible via the case-back.
If you’re in the market for a seriously beautiful watch from an independent brand with pedigree, this may well be the watch for you. Although you are unlikely to see many Moritz Grossmann watches in the wild – you are even less likely to see this one as it’s a limited edition of 25 watches in rose gold (ref. MG02.B-02-A000804) and 25 in white gold (ref. MG02.B-02-A000807) and priced at €34,200.
- Reference: MG-000804
- Case: 750/000 rose gold
- Dial: Enamel
- Hands: Hand-crafted, steel, annealed to a brown hue
- MovementManufacture calibre 100.1, manually wound, adjusted in five positions
- No. of parts = 198
- No. of jewels = 20 jewels, 3 of which in screwed gold chatons
- Escapement – Lever escapement
- Oscillator Shock – absorbed Grossmann balance with 4 inertia and 2 poising screws, Nivarox 1 balance spring with No. 80 Breguet terminal curve, Gerstenberger geometry
- Balance Diameter – 14.2 mm, frequency 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour
- Power reserve – 42 hours when fully wound
- Functions – Hours and minutes, subsidiary seconds with stop seconds, Grossmann winder with pusher
- Special features – Grossmann balance; lateral pusher for disabling the handsetting mode and starting the movement; space saving and modified Glashütte stopwork with backlash; adjustment with Grossmann micrometer screw on a cantilevered balance cock; Pillar movement with 2/3 plate and frame pillars in untreated German silver; 2/3 plate, balance cock, and escape-wheel cock engraved by hand; broad horizontal Glashütte ribbing; 3-band snailing on the ratchet wheel; raised gold chatons with pan-head screws; separately removable clutch winder;
stop seconds for handsetting
- Operating elements – Crown for winding the watch and setting the time, pusher to start movement
- Movement dimensions – Diameter: 36.4 mm, height: 5.0 mm