Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique
As its name implies the Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique bears the seal of Geneva on its movement. This high-end watch is housed in an 18-carat gold case, features a sublime dial and case ensemble and a hand-wound calibre endowed with peerless finishing.
This detailed review of the Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique includes live images, specification details and pricing.
In 1886, a law was passed relating to the ‘optional control of watch manufacturing in the Canton of Geneva’. This led to the formation of the Geneva Office of Watch Control. It is the role of this body to scrutinise watches submitted by Geneva-based manufacturers. Should said watches meet the stringent quality controls of the certification body, they are stamped with the official State mark or Poinçon de Genève.
Those firms making watches endowed with the Poinçon de Genève must conform to rigorous standards relating to the materials used, the design of components, the finishing of parts and reliability. The certification body frequently inspects manufacturing sites, ensuring they are upholding the defined standards.
The Poinçon de Genève is one of the most onerous standards in existence. However, in December 2008, the law relating to the Geneva Laboratory of Horology and Microengineering ‘was updated to raise the bar of horological excellence even higher’. In the rarefied world of haute horlogerie, the Poinçon de Genève is a guarantee of excellence.
Ateliers deMonaco is no stranger to the Poinçon de Genève. The high-end maison, based in Plan-les-Ouates, a suburb of Geneva, earned the Geneva seal in 2015. Today, the prestigious firm is revered for its matchless watches.
At Baselworld 2019, the brand unveiled a new timepiece, the Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique. As its name implies, the watch is stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva, providing independent reassurance to would-be wearers that the timepiece satisfies the most stringent criteria.
The Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique is offered in two variants, 18-carat rose gold and 18-carat white gold. This latter watch is my preferred model and is the focal point of this review.
While the Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique is made in Geneva, it sports the ‘Monaco Prince’s Palace Logo’. Originally, the Maison crafted watches in the über-luxurious principality of Monaco, however, it subsequently relocated to Geneva. The company continues to maintain ties with the principality and it is allowed to adorn its watches with various Monégasque insignia.
The white gold version is paired with a grey coloured dial. Large, applied Roman numerals, plated in black PVD, are used to designate the hours. The sheer scale of the numerals prevents any misunderstandings. The hour track features a sunray motif, heightening the allure of the dial.
At the centre of the dial, a wave-like guilloché motif flirts with light and looks most attractive. A chemin-de-fer, encircling the periphery of the dial, facilitates the read-off of minutes and seconds.
The dauphine hour and minute hands are faceted and enunciate the prevailing time wonderfully. Moreover, their classical design helps imbue the dial with lasting eye-appeal. Indeed, the alluring appearance of this watch will not wane with the onset of years. A lithe central seconds hand completes the model’s inventory of functions.
Measuring 40mm in diameter, the case of the Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique is a paragon of tasteful restraint. The 3-part case measures 9.2mm in height, allowing the watch to nuzzle beneath the cuff of a bespoke shirt.
Appraising the case with both eye and hand, one can readily discern its superlative execution. The case is fully polished and assembled by hand. The straight flanks of the lugs melt into the curvaceous lines of the caseband. Everything is silky smooth and free from imperfection.
Six screws secure the caseback in position. At the heart of the caseback, a pane of sapphire crystal provides glorious views of the hand-wound dMc-708 caliber.
The watch is presented on a sumptuous hand-stitched alligator leather strap, paired with an 18-carat white gold pin buckle.
Three large bridges dominate the dorsal view of this watch. The Maison freely discloses the types of hand decoration employed on the bridges. The declared inventory includes chamfering, drawn flanks, circular graining and Côtes de Genève.
Other movement parts are enriched with bevelling, drawn flanks, ‘drafted marks’ and peerless mirror polishing. Consistent with the requirements of the Poinçon de Genève, the jewel sinks are polished and the wheels of the going train are chamfered (above and below). Thermally blued screws abound, the bridges are engraved with golden text and the balance wheel sits above a sea of perlage. Every element of the dMc-708 caliber is refined to the highest order.
In terms of the adjustment system, the ‘Poinçon de Genève specifies that the balance spring fixing must be elegant, and prohibits the use of glue’. Often movements are equipped with a simple index adjuster. The hairspring is held between two pins on the adjustment index. Turning the adjustment index alters the effective length of the hairspring and, by default, the rate of the watch.
In this instance, the movement is equipped with the brand’s ‘Freebeat’ adjustment system. Ateliers deMonaco point out that by allowing the hairspring to bounce against the aforementioned pins, along with the undue influence of gravitational forces, impairs the movement’s precision. By using the ‘hairspring’s length with an adjustable crémaillère (a straight bar with teeth on one edge, allowing it to be fixed at different lengths)’ obviates the requirement for pins and avoids any interference. While I am unable to determine whether this system proffers superior or comparable isochonism to a variable inertia balance, I can state unequivocally that it certainly looks very attractive. Moreover, the system clearly satisfies the requirements of the Geneva Laboratory of Horology and Microengineering, manifest with the golden seal depicted on the movement.
The manual dMc-708 caliber contains 18 jewels and the balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz). The movement is capable of 38 hours of autonomous operation.
When holding the Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique, I was unable to find any wayward elements. The movement conforms to the highest standards of finishing. However, the virtues of this watch are not confined to the movement alone.
The dial conveys meaning clearly with no trace of ambiguity. Furthermore, beyond its functionality, the dial features classical elements such as faceted dauphine hour and minutes hands, a chemin-de-fer and a glorious guilloché motif centre stage.
Employing discriminating eyes and hands, one can readily discern the quality of the hand polished case. There is a beautiful combination of straight flanks, found with the lugs, and curvaceous lines gracing the caseband. Every tactile encounter reveals a further dose of excellence.
While the dial and case are clearly classical, the movement blends both traditional and modern thinking. The finissage is top drawer, utilising the skills of a time-served artisan. The rigorous scrutiny of the Geneva Laboratory of Horology and Microengineering precludes anything less than perfection. Indeed, even the specification of jewels is clearly defined by the certification body.
Pim Koeslag, the company’s highly talented Master Watchmaker and Co-Founder, has fostered a culture of innovation. Since unveiling its inaugural watch in 2008, the Geneva-based firm has registered four patents, including the company’s ‘Freebeat’ regulation system. Clearly, the system meets the requirements of the Geneva seal while conferring technological advancement.
I am sure those firms making watches with the Poinçon de Genève will attest, the standard increases the time it takes to produce a certified timepiece. However, excellence is never achieved through haste. Sadly, the creation of a watch bearing the Geneva Seal attracts a commensurately high price. It is therefore surprising that despite its elevated level of refinement, the Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique is offered at CHF 19,900 including taxes (RRP as at 17.4.2019). While this is no inconsequential sum, it does represent excellent value for money given its high specification.
With an impressive array of qualities, including matchless finishing, timeless styling and mechanical virtuosity, the Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique stands out from the crowd and certainly receives my seal of approval.
- Model: Ateliers deMonaco Poinçon de Genève Classique
- Reference: dMc-PDG-GGC-WG (white gold); dMc-PDG-SBC-RG (rose gold)
- Case: 18-carat gold; diameter 40mm; height 9.2mm; water resistance 3 ATM (30 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and caseback
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds
- Movement: dMc-708 caliber; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 18 jewels; power reserve = 38 hours
- Strap: Black hand-stitched alligator leather strap with 18-carat gold pin buckle
- Price – CHF 19,900 including taxes (RRP as at 17.4.2019)