Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic

The Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic sets aside the ubiquitous oscillating weight, employing an interesting swinging pendulum to energise the mainspring. Angus Davies appraises this novel form of self-winding movement.

This detailed review of the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic includes numerous images, specification details and pricing.

Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic

I adore Moritz Grossmann watches. The first time I saw the German watch marque’s products, I was immediately smitten. Part of the allure of Moritz Grossmann timepieces is that they are inspired by the past, embracing some classical design elements, but overall, they are imbued with a contemporary mien. These watches possess an amazing capacity to seduce souls.

However, beyond the coquettish charms of the Maison’s products, there is much technical virtue and hand craftsmanship. Indeed, the finishing of Moritz Grossmann watches stands comparison with the best examples of haute horlogerie.

Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic

The German watch company has a penchant for innovation. For example, this is the brand which offers a tourbillon with an ingenious stop seconds mechanism employing human hair. Now, Moritz Grossmann has conceived an interesting means of automatically energising a mainspring. The Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic incorporates a self-winding movement which eschews the ubiquitous oscillating weight or rotor, ingeniously employing an ‘automatic hammer system’. Historically, Moritz Grossmann has only offered hand-wound movements and, therefore, the ATUM Hamatic represents the company’s first foray into the world of self-winding watches.

I viewed the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic at Baselworld 2018 and fell under its bewitching spell. The timepiece was merely a prototype (note that several of the pictures herein are of the prototype), however, the final version of the watch is scheduled for release in December 2018.

The dial

The white dial, formed of solid silver, exudes a high quotient of elegance. The slender poire-shaped hands are painstakingly sculpted by hand and, thereafter, annealed to a becoming ‘brown-violet hue’. These hands exhibit beautiful poise, reminiscent of a prima ballerina at the barre. Beyond the aesthetic allure of the hands, the svelte tips pronounce the time with notable clarity.

Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic

Elongated Roman numerals denote the hours. They exude elegance and confer ease of understanding. A chemin de fer frames the dial epidermis, incorporating markings which collaborate wonderfully with the minute hand, granting ease of read-off.

A small seconds display sits beneath the fulcrum of the dial. It is slightly recessed and includes a tasteful chapter ring. The subdial forgoes snailing, reinforcing the dial’s pure appearance.

At this juncture, everything probably sounds a tad conservative, however, Moritz Grossmann has juxtaposed the traditional appearance of the hands, indices and chaste white dial with avant-garde apertures at the base of the dial. These apertures provide a glimpse of the Manufacture movement and, more specifically, the pendulum, or ‘hammer’, swinging to and fro. Many watch collectors, myself included, derive pleasure from observing a movement industriously at work. However, this horological voyeurism is normally only possible when the watch is removed from the wrist. The Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic is different,  providing dial-side glimpses of the movement at play. I accept this may not be to everyone’s taste, but I adore this aspect of the watch.

The case

Despite housing an unusual and highly complex movement, the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic remains modestly sized. Its case, measuring 41mm with a height of 11.35mm, does not overwhelm the wearer’s wrist. While the height of the watch could never be described as slim, it remains adept at nuzzling beneath the cuff of a sartorialist’s shirt.

Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic

All case surfaces are highly polished, exhibiting a wonderful gleam while always appearing appropriate. There is nothing uncultured about this exquisite horological ensemble. The case is formed of three parts. The vertical flank of the case-band is cambered, casting alluring shadows along its form.

Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic

The faceted lugs do not unduly protrude from the case, contributing to the overall sense of neatness. The lugs arc sharply downwards, luring the strap to encircle the wrist.

Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic

Much of the Moritz Grossmann’s appeal relates to its movement. Thankfully, this watch is equipped with an exhibition case-back, affording views of the sublime Manufacture calibre 106.0.

The movement

The appearance of the Manufacture calibre 106.0 is unlike any other I can recall. While most self-winding watches mask bridges and wheels with a large oscillating weight, the movement housed within the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic freely discloses many of its components. Furthermore, it exhibits a sublime visual lightness.

Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic

The bi-directional hammer system comprise of a hammer body, hammer head and hammer spring. The hammer body and hammer spring are supremely slender and aptly are described by the German company as, ‘a filigreed work of art’.

Wrist motion is harnessed to energise the mainspring. The oscillations of the hammer body are harnessed by two click levers which, in turn, are converted into a rotary motion that ultimately turns the ratchet wheel. However, should the watch be subject to prolonged bouts of wearer inactivity, the ‘manual winder’, mounted on a separate bridge, energises the mainspring. When the hammer system becomes activated with the motion of the wearer’s wrist, the manual winder is then disengaged. The mechanical ingenuity of the system is very impressive.

Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic

Moritz Grossmann has endowed the Manufacture calibre 106.0 with a pillar-type construction, reminiscent of many pocket watch movements made in the 19th century. A ⅔ plate sits atop a series of pillars, formed of untreated German silver. It is this construction method which explains the reason for the height of the watch case. The pillar construction imbues the movement with an amazing three dimensional appearance and, most pertinently, allows improved access to components.

Holding a loupe to one’s right eye reveals a wonderful spectacle. The three-quarter plate and balance cock are hand-engraved. Three raised gold screwed chatons adorn the ⅔ plate. The screws, as stated earlier, are annealed to a brown-violet hue. This particular shade is achieved by heating the screws to a temperature of 275° – 285°C, a much narrower temperature band than used for bluing screws, hence more difficult to achieve. Another unusual characteristic of this movement relates to the brand’s use of white sapphires instead of the customary ruby coloured jewels.

The plate is embellished with Glashütte ribbing and the ratchet wheel is adorned with 2-band snailing. The gleaming bevelled edges of the plate stand testament to the dexterous employees working at Moritz Grossmann’s atelier.

A cantilevered balance cock with micrometer screw provides a means of adjusting the effective length of the balance spring and, as such, the rate. The rim of the balance features six screws set in-board, four screws are used for adjusting the inertia of the balance, while an additional two screws are used for poising. By positioning the screws in-board there is less disruption to the air-flow, aiding precision. The hairspring is equipped with a Breguet terminal curve, a high-end feature which improves the concentricity of the spring , aiding precision.

Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic

The Manufacture calibre 106.0 features a stop seconds which is activated simply by pulling the crown. The frequency of the balance is 21,600 VpH (3Hz) and, assuming the watch is fully wound, the spring barrel is capable of delivering 72 hours autonomy.

Closing remarks

The dial of the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic upholds the company’s reputation for producing refined and sophisticated designs. The poire shaped hands, elongated Roman numerals and unsullied white dial exude a high quotient of elegance. Each of the aforementioned elements bestow this timepiece with a classical appearance, sharing much in common with several other Moritz Grossmann watches. However, the apertures in the southern hemisphere of the dial represent a radical departure for the brand.

By creating apertures, the wearer is indulged with views of the movement and, more specifically, the hammer moving from side to side. This represents a bold step by the German watch company. I would not be surprised if some admirers of Moritz Grossmann’s more conservative offerings are put-off by this detail. Conversely, I suspect that many admirers of the company’s watches will adore this design element and swear words of unwavering allegiance. Personally, I fall into this latter camp.

I admire the courage of Moritz Grossmann in creating this bold timepiece. It’s not a full-blown skeleton watch nor is the dial one solid disc. Instead, this watch deftly walks its own unique path to greatness, imbued with an appearance unlike any other.

The Manufacture calibre 106.0  is a further area where this watch shines. The ingenuity of the ‘Hamatic’ automatic winding mechanism distinguishes this watch as special. Moreover, each constituent part of the movement is executed to a high standard. The finishing is exemplary. Indeed, the brand’s obsession for the minutiae is breathtaking.

The pre-eminent craftsmanship and fabulous mechanical virtuosity of this watch distinguish it as extraordinary. The only problem I do envisage is the near insurmountable task the German company must overcome in order to convey every delightful detail of this timepiece. Its phenomenal composition defies comprehensive description, an aspect I have become all to aware of as I have been writing this review.

Further reading

https://www.grossmann-uhren.com/

Technical specifications

  • Model: Moritz Grossmann ATUM Hamatic
  • Reference: MG-001708
  • Case: 18-carat rose gold; diameter 41mm, height 11.35mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds
  • Movement: Calibre 106.0; Self-winding movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 39 jewels; power reserve 72 hours when fully wound.
  • Strap: Hand-stitched alligator strap with gold pin buckle
  • Price: €45,200 (including VAT for UK market) – RRP as at 29.8.2018
  • Scheduled for release late 2018