Dear Santa: Peter Nievaart makes his wishlist for Christmas

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And from The Netherlands, we have our correspondent Peter Nievaart’s wishlist for this Christmas.

Next up, Peter Nievaart sends in his list is not all watches, but as a photography enthusiasts himself, see his articles on photography on this site, it includes a lens.

Peter Nievaart makes his wishlist for Christmas

My dream watch of 2022: Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf.

Ever since writing about the movement of the A. Lange & Sõhne 1815 Chronograph Boutique Edition, I’ve become a huge fan of chronograph complications. It is a complication often taken for granted. The movement of the 1815 Chronograph is one of – if not the – most beautiful movements made. Developing an accurate, smooth running mechanical chronograph is a feat of haute horlogerie.  Switzerland and Germany are known for producing some of the best chronographs in the world. However, this year my vote goes to a chronograph from the Dutch horological brothers Bart and Tim Grönefeld.

The Grönegraph. Photo from Bart Brönefeld.

Bart and Tim developed an incredible timepiece that won this year’s GPHG award, the 1941 Grõnograaf. The soft reset system is the key reason for choosing the 1941 Grõnograaf. The press release describes this system as follows: “a centrifugal governor, positioned at 4 o’clock slows down the reset function, thereby proving kinder to components while delivering a fascinating spectacle in the process. The governor includes two solid gold weights. Depending on the position of the heart-shaped cams for the counter hands, the relevant minutes and seconds hands rotate clockwise or counter clockwise, heightening the sense of mechanical theatre”. No need to say the watch is a classical chronograph with column-wheel and lateral coupling. Bridges are made of stainless steel, polished by hand, a much more labor-intensive process than polishing softer materials.  The ‘Premiere Edition’ of the 1941 Grönograaf costs €165.000. It will be encased in tantalum and limited to just 25 pieces. Thereafter, Grönefeld will release 188 pieces in stainless steel for a purchase price of €155.000. So a real Christmas miracle would be needed to get it off my wish list. In case you wonder where the 1941 comes from: it is the year Bart and Tim’s father was born.

Editor’s Note: As we have not met up with the Grönefeld brothers since the start of the pandemic, we have not done a full review of the Grönograaf yet. But we are in touch with them, and in the process of making arrangements for Peter Nievaart to drop by their atelier to do the photography for a full review.

My watch-of-the-past choice: The Lord of the Deep

The IWC’s GST Deep One diver watch (reference 3527) is an icon in the history of watchmaking, so it deserves being listed on my wish list. The Deep One combines a depth meter and time instrument in a case. he depth gauge undisputedly is the key feature of this watch. The depth display of the watch is an independent mechanism that works through a mechanical pressure system in the watch case, comparable to those used in traditional (mechanical) depth gauges for scuba divers. The watch was produced from 1999 through 2001. Less than 1000 watches were apparently sold. There seems to be consistency with respect to the reason why it was discontinued: production was expensive and difficult. When the cal. 5000s came into production, IWC shifted watchmakers over to the cal 5000 production. 

IWC Ref. 3287. Image used with permission, couretsy of the IWC Forum.

The Deep One was a product of Richard Habring’s genius. Richard, working at IWC at the time, got the idea during a Christmas holiday dive trip in 1995. A dive-instructor described to him all functions and indications of the “perfect” dive watch. After returning to Schaffhausen, he developed the concept and went to Mr. Blümlein, who got the project started. The Deep One has an exceptional design: it is clearly readable, also underwater, despite its many functions. The alignment of depth meters and minutes helps reading depth more intuitively. The design of the Deep One marked the start of the following Aquatimer line. The GST line also introduced the revolutionary bracelets, used for the Ingenieur line, with spring-loaded bolts to easily extend the bracelet and to change straps as well as the push-button clasp. 

Editor’s Note: We are also planning to re-publish a full length in-depth examination of the IWC Deep One soon. The article is originally written and photographed by Peter Nievaart for an online forum.

A new macro lens for watch photography

Leica was on my wish list for a long time. After reading Peter Chong’s review, I decided to rent an SL2 with the 24-90mm zoom lens and was sold. The rendering of colours, the micro-contrast were amazing. I did not have to post-process a single photo.  So I sold my Nikon gear and purchased the Leica SL2. Everyone knows that switching to Leica is expensive. So when I only had budget for one Leica lens. I opted for the incredible SL 90mm APO Summicron lens, a terrific lens for portraiture, landscape and creative photography. But Santa, now I have a problem. While the Ricoh GRIIIx works well for documentary work and features a macro function, I am missing a higher-end macro lens for watch photography. Fortunately there are good options. My top-5 list consists of the Voigtlander 110mm and 60mm APO Lanthars, the classical Leica100mm lens for R-mount, the Nikon F 200mm micro, and the 1:1 macro Sigma 70mm F2.8 DG MACRO lens.

The Sigma 70mm f2.8 ART lens, shown here mounted on the Leica SL2-S.

Peter Chong recommends the latter due to its stunning resolution and clarity. Another advantage is that the lens is available in L-mount and has autofocus, which is nice for focus stacking. Santa, I will follow Peter’s advice and opt for the Sigma. 


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