Moritz Grossmann ATUM Date

Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Date

This detailed review of the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Date includes live pictures, specification and pricing.

Moritz Grossman ATUM date - timepiece equipped with engraved balance cock

Nestling on a verdant hillside, overlooking the watchmaking haven of Glashütte, sits the imposing building of Moritz Grossmann. This state-of-the-art Manufacture hugs the aforementioned hillside and features long corridors and narrow rooms. It is in this preserve of watchmaking excellence that incredible timepieces are brought to life.

Recently, I had the pleasure of touring the brand’s extensive facility, looking at the timepieces being created from start to finish. On the 1st floor, CNC machines sit adjacent spark erosion machines gestating tiny parts with mind-blowing accuracy. Thereafter, human hands supplant machines and everything is the subject of deft use of tool and adroit use of hand.

It was whilst touring the extensive facility that I encountered an array of mouthwatering paragons of fine watchmaking. One such timepiece which garnered my attention was the ATUM Date. The 41mm diameter watch flies in the face of conspicuous consumption, exuding an air of understated elegance which is most becoming. A few stolen moments of wrist-worn evaluation took place and I vowed to impart to ESCAPEMENT readers the delights of this most elegant of timepieces.

The dial

The lancet-shaped hour and minute hands are exquisitely formed. Their creation is the protracted outcome of patience. The upper surfaces of the hands feature an arced profile and the tip of each hand is slightly curved. Unlike many hands found on high-end watches, the ATUM Date eschews thermally blued hands in favour of hands annealed to a rich brown hue. This latter characteristic proves more challenging as the brown hue can only be achieved between 275° – 285°C, a much narrower temperature band than used for bluing screws.

Moritz Grossman ATUM date - timepiece equipped with engraved balance cock

Each hour is denoted with a solid gold marker. The markers are faceted and taper slightly as they point to the fulcrum of the dial. Positioned in-between each marker, subtle strokes indicate each one-minute integer. Everything is crisp and clear.

Moritz Grossman - annealed screws

A small seconds display, sitting above 6 o’clock, resides slightly beneath the main dial epidermis. It is lightly snailed and framed with a chemin de fer. The hour and minute hands, as well as the second hand, feature a brilliant mirror-polished collet, conferring a glorious contrast with the brown hue of the hands.

Moritz Grossman ATUM date - timepiece equipped with engraved balance cock

A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original, close neighbours of Moritz Grossmann, have wholeheartedly embraced the large date display on many of their timepieces. However, Moritz Grossmann has not followed the same path, choosing to equip the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Date with a circular pointer date display framing the periphery of the dial. I would not say the chosen method is better or worse, merely different.

The date is indicated with a U-shaped pointer which virtually frames the prevailing date. The resultant indication is both highly legible and beautifully formed. Again, the U-shaped pointer has been annealed, this time to a wonderful brown-violet shade. 

Moritz Grossman ATUM date - annealed date pointer

Each date value is presented in a pale shade of blue, providing a smattering of colour to enliven the dial vista without marring the understated mien which makes this watch so special.

The case

The case is free of sharp edges and ubiquitously smooth. The 18-carat rose gold case exudes an air of luxury courtesy of its significant mass.

Moritz Grossman ATUM date - timepiece equipped with engraved balance cock

The Moritz Grossmann ATUM Date dispenses with a conventional crown, employing a highly ingenious system instead. The winding crown at 3 o’clock is pulled out to adjust the time, halting the balance and putting the movement in handsetting mode. Thereafter, the crown returns to its home position while allowing the hands to be adjusted. Once the desired time has been chosen, the push-piece at 4 o’clock is pressed and the watch reverts to winding mode.

By adopting this system, Moritz Grossmann, mitigates the risk of dust or water ingress. Furthermore, when the crown is in its home position no unintentional adjustment of the hands can take place.

Located at 10 o’clock is a date setting crown which proffers ease of adjustment when altering the prevailing date.

The watch is supplied on a high quality alligator leather strap paired with an 18-carat rose gold pin buckle.

The movement

While the hand-wound calibre 100.3 is housed within a modern case it resembles a pocket watch movement of yesteryear. A large plate, formed of untreated German silver, dominates the dorsal view of the watch. The movement sits on pillars, beautifully manipulating depths and providing clearance for the adjustment of wheels, etc.

Moritz Grossman ATUM date - timepiece equipped with engraved balance cock

The movement contains 26 jewels, with 3 set in gold chatons. Moritz Grossmann uses raised gold chatons which add a three dimensionality to the appearance of the movement. The bearing jewels are white sapphires and bestow an individual aesthetic, quite different to the customary ruby coloured jewels.

There is a small part of me which will forever be a horological voyeur. I am, therefore, left a little frustrated that the exposed wheels of the gear train cannot be seen. However, I am pleased to report that the balance is freely disclosed in all its glory. 

Moritz Grossman ATUM date - timepiece equipped with engraved balance cock

The German brand has fitted the balance with 4 inertia and 2 poising screws. These are set in-board to mitigate turbulence and hence heighten precision. The balance spring is fitted with a Breguet Overcoil, reaffirming the no-compromise creation of this incredible timepiece. Indeed, even the spokes of the balance wheel are polished and, in the case of the balance arms, adorned with perlage.

Moritz Grossman ATUM date - screwed balance wheel

A cantilevered balance cock draws the eye to its felicitous form. It is exquisitely engraved and affixed to the base-plate with a brown annealed screw. An index adjuster changes the effective length of the balance spring and as a result alters the rate of the watch. Upholding tradition, the balance cock features a Grossmann micrometer screw.

It is the exacting creation of a Moritz Grossmann watch which differentiates it from lesser brands. For example, the ratchet wheel is decorated with 3-band snailing. This stepped, circular motif, once again, plays masterfully with three-dimensionality to comely effect.

Closing remarks

Moritz Grossmann lacks the brand awareness of horological grandees such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet. However, this is not as a result of any technical inferiority on the part of the German brand. Indeed, I would argue that Moritz Grossmann can hold its head high, impressively competing with these aforementioned Swiss paragons of watchmaking.

The finissage of the movement components is exceptional and illustrates a high degree of technical proficiency on the part of the Moritz Grossmann. The ingenious crown winding system mitigates the risk of harm to the winding stem and proves simple to operate.

However, perhaps the biggest single attraction of the ATUM date is the dial. ‘Restrained elegance’ is an apt description for the beauteous face of this glorious timepiece. Nothing boasts or craves attention, everything is understated and graceful.

Those would-be wearers seeking outré tokens of extreme wealth should look elsewhere. The Moritz Grossmann ATUM Date is an exemplar of erudite selection and a perfect illustration of the savoir-faire practised by this impressive German Manufacture. Indeed, I look forward to reviewing more timepieces from this impressive company.

Further information

Technical specification

  • Model: Moritz Grossmann ATUM Date
  • Case: 18-carat rose gold; diameter 41 mm; height 11.85mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date.
  • Movement: Caliber 100.3; Hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 VpH (2.5Hz); 26 jewels; power reserve 42 hours when fully wound
  • Strap: Alligator strap with 18-carat rose gold pin buckle
  • Price: €36,100 – European price inclusive of taxes (RRP as at 23.10.2017)

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