Moritz Grossmann ATUM Pure M
The Moritz Grossmann ATUM Pure M is a fascinating watch, sporting a contemporary dial with a mesh centre. Presented in steel and incorporating the Manufacture calibre 201.1, this timepiece brims with modernity. Angus Davies looks closely at this contemporary timepiece.
This detailed review of the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Pure M includes live images, specification and pricing.
Parents will often declare that they ‘have no favourites’ when discussing their children. When I am asked which is my favourite watch brand, I also proclaim that I ‘have no favourites’. In reality, there are many watch companies which produce desirable products all deserving of praise. Nevertheless, I do admit there are a small number of maisons creating timepieces which have a special place in my heart. One such company is Moritz Grossmann.
Moritz Grossmann is located in Glashütte, the watchmaking enclave of Saxony. Its ultra-modern atelier clings to a hillside, looking down on neighbouring buildings, a metaphor for its elevated standing in the sphere of horology. Despite the latter-day buildings, mechanisation has not supplanted many of the traditional watchmaking techniques. For example, flawless finishing is still practised using time-served hands.
In the hushed, sterile workshops of Moritz Grossmann, artisans adroitly craft matchless movements and patiently assemble fine watches. Recently, whilst touring the company’s headquarters, I witnessed first-hand high-end watchmaking and nodded with appreciation at the impressive work being undertaken.
In recent years, I have waxed lyrical about Moritz Grossmann watches. I adore the classical designs of its watches, appreciating the lucidity of its dials and gleaming golden cases, but concede that they may prove too traditional for some would-be buyers. Like many watch brands, Moritz Grossmann has endeavoured to broaden the appeal of its timepieces by releasing contemporary models and, in so doing, targeting a younger audience.
At Baselworld 2017, the German watch company unveiled the ATUM Pure M and its stablemate, the ATUM Pure L. The dials of these watches incorporate a mesh, or grid, providing a partial glimpse of the movement and, as such, indulging the whims of the mechanically curious. My preferred model is the orange version of the ATUM Pure M.
The gauze-like metal is the focal point of the dial. The wearer is able to see the bottom plate, the hour wheel, the minute wheel, the balance and the winding shaft. When I studied the dial, I was aware of other movement components but found I was unable to discern what they were. The ATUM Pure L reveals more of the movement and for some prospective purchasers this may suit them better. Personally, I prefer the ATUM Pure M because it does not reveal everything.
The handcrafted lancet-shaped hour and minute hands are stainless steel and lined with vibrant orange ‘HyCeram’ filling. The centre is polished to a brilliant gleam and the faceted edges of the hands stand testament to their protracted manufacture.
This is a highly complex dial. The brand’s nomenclature is proclaimed on a bridge which sits above the mesh but below the hour track. The hour track is circular brushed and sparingly uses numerals at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. A small seconds display sits atop the hour track and combines a lancet-style hand with a chemin de fer to impart information.
The minute track sits on high, above all the other dial components. It features two railway tracks, the first marked with one-second integers and the second marked with ⅓ of a second integers.
Orange triangular indexes emanate from the minute track, sitting upon the hour track and cleverly playing with depths to eye-catching effect. Indeed, the masterful use of differing heights creates a gorgeous dial vista.
Many Moritz Grossmann watches are housed in precious metal, including 18-carat white gold, 18-carat rose gold or platinum. However, the German watch company does offer stainless steel watches which offer a more affordable means of ownership. In this instance, the ATUM Pure M is presented in a three-part, 41mm stainless steel case.
Despite the ATUM Pure M being one of the brand’s more egalitarian offerings, there are no obvious signs of cost cutting, save for the case material. The company’s unusual crown and pusher system is retained. This allows the user to pull the crown, hacking the seconds. After the hands have been adjusted, the wearer presses the pusher below the crown and the movement immediately restarts.
The bezel is slender, according the case with a visual lightness. The lugs are highly polished and gracefully arc downwards. This watch may be contemporary but it does not eschew the elegance synonymous with other Moritz Grossmann watches.
A reoccurring aspect of this particular ATUM Pure M is the judicious use of orange, imbuing the watch with notable zest. Consistent with this aesthetic trait, the alligator leather strap also features a smattering of orange, courtesy of its orange stitches. Moritz Grossmann offer a choice of four colourways. Personally, I favour the orange hue as it appeals to my flamboyant side. However, those would-be buyers seeking a reserved appearance may find the white variant proves more acceptable.
The Manufacture calibre 201.1 is hand-wound and adjusted in five positions. It is visible via an exhibition case-back.
A ⅔ plate dominates the dorsal view of the watch. It sits on pillars, hiding the gear train below. I especially like the neat appearance of the movement. The plate is made of untreated German silver and eschews Glashütte ribbing. This approach is consistent with the contemporary character of the watch. I particularly like the free disclosure of the transmission wheel, ratchet wheel and click. Furthermore, I also appreciate the view of the balance wheel and the cantilevered balance cock.
Sat atop the balance cock is a Grossmann micrometer screw, used for adjusting the effective length of the balance spring and, by default, the rate of the watch. Finally, the jewels which are visible on the ⅔ plate are not the ubiquitous red rubies widely used in the watch industry, but white sapphires, granting the movement a unique appearance.
The contemporary character of the movement sets aside the engraved balance cock, raised gold chatons and the 3-band snailing of the ratchet wheel, typically found on Moritz Grossmann’s traditional watches. However, purchasers should not feel shortchanged, this is a sublime movement.
The Moritz Grossmann ATUM Pure M augments the German brand’s collection of models and, in so doing, potentially ensnares a broader cross-section of the watch-buying public with its neoteric appearance.
The mesh dial, or the grid-type alternative found on the ATUM Pure L, provides a partial glimpse of the movement parts below. Cleverly, the design of both dials does not hinder ease of read-off. Indeed, a strength of the design language employed is that the dials remain uncluttered, yet interesting.
Similar to a painting by an Old Master, the dial successfully exploits differing depths and textures to glorious effect.
Priced at a comparatively modest €12,900 (RRP in July 2017), the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Pure M is significantly cheaper than the company’s BENU models. However, while the case is made of steel and the Manufacture calibre 201.1 dispenses with some of the brand’s exquisite movement features, there remain many specification details to whet the appetite of any self-respecting horophile.
When faced with a watch were I see no discernible virtue, I set it aside and employ time writing about something else. The opportunity cost is too great. I have been remiss in not writing about the Moritz Grossmann ATUM Pure M beforehand, its magnificence is manifest. This is a fabulous timepiece which successfully blends aesthetic sublimity, mechanical probity and excellent value for money. While I would I would never describe it as my favourite watch, as you may recall ‘I have no favourites’, it is a watch that I would dearly love to own.
- Model: Moritz Grossmann ATUM Pure M
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 41mm; height 11.35mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds
- Movement: Manufacture calibre 201.1; hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 VpH (2.5Hz); 20 jewels; power reserve 42 hours
- Strap: Hand-stitched alligator strap with prong buckle in stainless steel
- Price: €12,900 – European price including taxes (RRP as at July 2017)