Moritz Grossmann Benu Tourbillon

The Moritz Grossmann Benu Tourbillon Ref: 001.G-221-11-1 is equipped with a 3-minute flying tourbillon with an ingenious stop seconds facility. Angus Davies reveals what makes this timepiece a horological tour de force.

This detailed review of the Moritz Grossmann Benu Tourbillon Ref: 001.G-221-11-1 includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Image of Moritz Grossmann Banu Tourbillon

Sometimes in life you are confronted with a product where there is no hint of compromise and mechanical exactitude is most apparent. This timepiece, the Benu Tourbillon, from Moritz Grossmann is one such a product. It is a watch whose virtuous creation is the outcome of the protracted use of human skill and time-served know-how.

The dial

The three-part solid silver dial brims with quality and exhibits an instrument-like appearance. The hours are displayed on a recessed subdial at 3 o’clock, with a thermally treated hand which evinces a ‘brown-violet’ tone. Positioned opposite, a similarly styled subdial displays the small running seconds but employs a supremely slender elongated hand, imparting information with a notable degree of elegance and poise.

Image of Moritz Grossmann Banu Tourbillon

The minutes display occupies the whole of the dial territory. Each 5-minute integer is marked with thin, elongated numerals delivered in the cleanest of fonts. Positioned in between each 5-minute marking is a combination of short and long strokes indicating each minute and 12-second integer. The thermally blued, twin-tipped hand is delightfully lithe, enunciating the minutes with superb clarity. Ingeniously, because the minute track is interrupted by the tourbillon aperture, an additional scale is positioned between the two aforementioned subdials, ensuring values between 25 and 35 can still be readily discerned.

It is very obvious looking that the dial construction is of the highest quality, with its differing dial depths, conferring interest and bestowing a sumptuous feel.

The case

If I were ever to commission a wholly bespoke timepiece it would probably share similar proportions to the Moritz Grossmann Benu Tourbillon. The case is 44.5mm wide and has a case thickness of 13.8mm, proving optimally sized for my large, hirsute wrist and according a delightful marriage with my arm.

Image of Moritz Grossmann Banu Tourbillon

There is something very understated about the Moritz Grossmann Benu Tourbillon, hence an 18-carat white gold case seems befitting of its softly spoken personality. Indeed, this is an über-luxury timepiece which exudes good taste and seemly decorum.

Image of Moritz Grossmann Banu Tourbillon

The case band is curved, proving more difficult to realise than a straight sided case. The slim lugs taper downwards and exhibit a gorgeous arcing profile, beautifully integrating with the case band.

Image of Moritz Grossmann Banu Tourbillon

The crown is an object lesson in intelligent design. When adjusting the time, the crown is pulled out, the movement is stopped and the crown returns home. The wearer is able to adjust the time without any danger of dust entering the case via the crown. Moreover, on some watches, the time can be inadvertently altered. Not with the Moritz Grossmann Benu Tourbillon. Once the time is set, a pusher beneath the crown is pressed and the movement restarts, the crown then switches from the hand setting mode to the winding mode.

This watch contains one of the finest movements you are ever likely to see. It is therefore fitting that the movement is revealed in all its glory via an exhibition case back.

The movement

The calibre 103.0 movement of the Moritz Grossmann Benu Tourbillon features a 3-minute tourbillon with a stop seconds. Despite the rationale for a tourbillon being heightened accuracy, many tourbillons do not have the facility to hack the seconds and synchronise the timepiece precisely with a reference clock. The Benu Tourbillon is equipped with a ‘human-hair’ brush to brake the balance at the periphery of its rim, hack the seconds and facilitate precise setting.

Image of Moritz Grossmann Banu Tourbillon

Moritz Grossmann has looked to its own town for inspiration re the tourbillon, equipping the Benu Tourbillon with a flying tourbillon. The flying tourbillon was invented by Alfred Helwig, a teacher at the German School of Watchmaking, Glashütte from 1913 to 1954. The flying tourbillon does not have an upper bridge but is supported by a cantilevered cock, bestowing unhindered views of the tourbillon cage in motion.

Image of Moritz Grossmann Banu Tourbillon

The pace of the tourbillon cage is wonderfully relaxed. While many tourbillons rotate once every minute, the cage of the Benu Tourbillon moves at a more sedate, dignified pace of one revolution every three minutes. Indeed, this is congruent with the regal character of this magnificent timepiece.

The Benu Tourbillon eschews the usual Swiss lever escapement, favouring an asymmetric-arm lever escapement. ‘Because of the use of a pallet lever with unequal arm lengths on a shared locking circle, all entrance and exit adjustment points are on the same lever arm, and even slight variations can be precisely rectified’. The attention to detail on this watch is superb.

Moritz Grossmann makes its own balances, fitted with a suspended balance spring which is adjustable with poising screws on the rim. The balance spring is made of Nivarox 1 and features a terminal curve to ensure optimal isochronism.

Typical of watches made within this region, gold chatons abound. Interestingly, the brake ring of the fourth-wheel arbour is made of a ‘rock hard’ wood, typical of clockmaking but seldom seen in watchmaking. The oily wood, guaiacum spp. is ‘sustainable and maintenance-free’.

The pillar movement consists of ? plate and frame pillars in untreated German silver which, with time, will acquire a glorious patination. The ? plate and tourbillon cock are beautifully engraved. Indeed, magnifying the cock with a powerful macro lens reveals no trace of human error. Everything is flawless.

Image of Moritz Grossmann Banu Tourbillon

All thermally treated parts eschew the usual blue tone for a characterful brown-violet hue. The ratchet wheel is adorned with ‘3-band snailing’, with ‘broad horizontal Glashütte ribbing’ featuring elsewhere. The finissage is exemplary.

Closing remarks

All too frequently in life we encounter products which are compromised. It is the shortcomings of such products which allows us to discern greatness when it is in our midst. The Moritz Grossmann Benu Tourbillon is beyond great, it is beyond compare and blessed with a face so beautiful.

The dial exudes elegance while lucidly conversing with its fortuitous wearer. The case exhibits graceful lines with its slender bezel, arcing lugs and curvaceous case band. Moreover, I personally found the case and strap accorded a very agreeable fit with the arm.

Moritz Grossmann has imbued the movement with a plethora of joyously innovative details. The thermally treated hands and screws are heated, not to a traditional blue but a beguiling brown-violet hue. The balance can be stopped using an ingenious ‘human-hair’ brush to hack the seconds, making precise setting of the tourbillon viable. The brake ring of the fourth-wheel arbour is made of a ‘rock hard’ wood, further differentiating the Benu Tourbillon from other watches. Ultimately, the flying tourbillon provides a fitting metaphor for this top flight performance from Glashütte.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Moritz Grossmann Benu Tourbillon
  • Ref: 001.G-221-11-1
  • Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 44.5mm; height 13.80mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; flying tourbillon.
  • Movement: calibre 103.0, Hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 vph (2.5Hz); power reserve 72 hours
  • Strap: Black hand stitched leather strap presented on a 18-carat white gold ‘butterfly’ clasp
  • Price: £141,200 (RRP as at 15.12.2016)
  • Limited Edition: 50 pieces

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