The Grönefeld brothers celebrate their decade of the brand with a new limited edition tourbillon – here is our hands on review of the Decennium Tourbillon.
Grönefeld 1941 Decennium Tourbillon
The design and aesthetics of the Grönefeld watches have improved leaps and bounds since their early days, only a decade ago. Gone is the slightly awkward aesthetic, and replaced with fluent, sleek designs with visual impact. The new Deccennium Tourbillon is a case in point.
The case, dial and hands
The celebratory watch is a limited edition of 10, only in platinum. The case is the well known 1941 case, and each of the series is marked “One of Ten” instead of a serial limited edition number. The case is a nicely sized 39.5mm in diameter with a height of 10.5mm. Aesthetically, it is both elegant, discreet and rather sleek.
The dial is a muted slate grey with polished indices. The index markers are faceted and polished to a very high shine, reminiscent to what we usually see in the high end Grand Seikos. Outside the circumference made by the indices is the minute track which is transfer printed in what seems like a very dark blue paint. The same is used for the Grönefeld logo and the words “Decennium Tourbillon”. This provides a nice legible print, which is not overly contrasty, but subtly so.
A central medallion is sunken with its own mirror polished and chamfered sides. A perfect circular opening reveals the tourbillon. The sides of this opening is also chamfered and polished. The hands, of which there are only two, are in blued steel and shaped like javelins. The hand blued steel hands complements the print very nicely.
The tourbillon itself takes center stage at 6, and is flying. The carriage itself comprise only of a bottom base structure which is in the form of a wheel. And the balance seems to be floating in space, safe for a conical arm extending from the base. This arm is beautifully polished and holds the endstone and shock absorption system for the tourbillon pivot.
The overall aesthetic of the polished accents act to create a very classical feel of great beauty.
The Decennium Tourbillon is an automatic winding movement with a large rotor in 18k red gold, emblazoned with the Grönefeld logo which is raised and polished against a sand blasted granular pebble like finish. The edges feature a border which are raised and straight granied, and the edges themselves are anglaged and polished. The rotor resembles the look of the bridges of the movement, and indeed all Grönefeld movements. The rotor runs on ceramic bearings to ensure maintenance free operations (no lubrication is needed) and long life.
The movement bridges themselves are made in Switzerland by Renaud et Papi and sent to Holland for the brothers and their team to hand finish. The bridges are in stainless steel, a feature of the Grönefeld watches.
Also typical in Grönefeld movements are the gold chatons pressed into countersunk openings in the cocks and bridges. All the screws are also feature high polishing and are beveled to sit flat in their countersunk openings.
Movement finishing is very nicely done. We are fond of the beautiful juxtapositon of the rough sand blasted finish of the insides contrasting with the raised borders which are straight grained and the hand polished anglage of the edge itself. The finnisage is entirely executed by hand, and features a very high level of virtuoso work.
At € 145,000 excluding taxes, the Grönefeld 1941 Decennium Tourbillon is not inexpensive. Especially in these days when independent manufactured tourbillons are beginning to appear below the € 100k mark. This is especially so for a tourbillon watch with no other features or complications.
However, none offer stainless steel bridges, except their own Parallax Tourbillon (The only currently available version is in a stainless steel case at € 134,250). Slightly less expensive, as it is offered in a steel case. But the Parallax is a more complicated movement featuring a stop tourbillon mechanism, as well as power reserve indicator and function selector. The movement is handwound. The Parallax Tourbillon was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève for the best watch in the Tourbillon Categorie in 2014.
Another independent in the landscape might be the Asaoka Project T Tourbillon (approx US$80,000). While we are not sure if the Asaoka tourbillon is still being offered, the project is a very interesting one. It is the derivative from the obsessive perfection of Hajime Asaoka. Read our In Conversations article to discover more.
In conclusion, we are very happy with the aesthetics of the Grönefeld 1941 Decennium Tourbillon. The ensemble looks very beautiful, classical. And is a product of fine breeding and class. The watch exudes a quiet confidence that can only come from success – that of the owner and of the maker. The Grönefeld brothers have come a long way in 10 years. And have refined and honed their craft to be able to offer a highly polished product like this.
Grönefeld 1941 Decennium Tourbillon Technical Specifications
Diameter: 32,0 mm Thickness: 5,5 mm * Number of parts 259 parts * Power reserve 56 hours * Number of jewels 30 jewels, partially set in solid gold chatons * Automatic system Uni-directional winding mechanism
Oscillating mass 22-karat solid gold entirely decorated by hand. Pivoted on a high precision ceramic ball bearing to avoid excessive wear and the need of lubrication * One-minute flying tourbillon cage pivoted on ceramic ball bearing. * Single arm upper cage bridge. Lower Cage and upper cage are both fabricated in stainless steel * Balance wheel Variable-inertia balance wheel with timing screws (diameter 10 mm) * Frequency 21.600 vibrations/hour * Balance spring Free sprung with Phillips terminal over coil curve with Geneva style stud * Escapement Jewelled lateral Swiss lever escapement * Main Plate Spotted and ruthenium electroplated brass main-plate * Bridges Stainless steel, bevels polished by hand, micro-blasted centre, circular grain on the top to highlight the bridges shapes and relief engravings * Displays Central hours and minutes
Case and dial specifications
Number of components 49 parts * Case material Platinum Pt950 (limited edition of 10 pieces) * Diameter: 39,5 mm Thickness: 10,5 mm * Water resistance 3 atmospheres – 30 meters – 100 feet * Crown White Gold Au750/Pd210 * Dial Base material: Solid Sterling Silver 925 * Hands Extended Lancette hour and minute hands. Flame-blued steel and mirror polished centres. * Strap Matte black alligator with alligator lining * Buckle Pin buckle sculpted in platinum Pt950 A vast variety of leathers and colours are available * Crystals Front and back sapphire crystals have anti-reflective coatings on both sides * Total Weight 118 Grams