Saturday, September 19

Review: Peren Hintz

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Peren offers Swiss-made watches with a Transylvanian soul, an intriguing amalgamation of precise manufacturing and Transylvanian mystery and wisdom! In this article we share our opinion about the newest creation of Peren Watches, the Peren Hintz, which will be launched shortly at Kickstarter. The Peren Hintz with a unique disk at the 6 o’clock position representing the Andesite Sun. We also provide some background about the company and its founder Andy Bica-Popi.

Peren Hintz

Meet Peren Watches and Andy Bica-Popi

I have a weak spot for people who passionately chase their dreams. I also have a weak spot for the small innovative companies competing with the big conglomerates. So when Peter Chong asked me if I was interested in reviewing the Peren Hintz, I immediately said “yes”.

Peren Watches Founder and CEO Andy Bica-Popi aims to embed the ancient wisdom of Transylvanian philosophy into the design of Peren Watches. The word “Peren” is derived from “Perennial Philosophy” or “Perennial Wisdom”. It refers to a single truth or origin that binds all spiritual traditions. It focuses on harmony instead of differences, something the world needs now more than ever. It also means a lasting state without a beginning or an end. Andy says the following about its importance in the Transylvanian culture: “The pattern started in prehistoric Transylvania with the Cucuteni culture and their belief in a perennial life, which they visualised in artistic depictions. The desire to represent perennial beliefs in artful representations was transferred to subsequent cultures. For example, the Dacian culture honoured continuity by creating the most precise ancient calendar of its time as a reminder of the cycles of the perennial life. The greatest reproduction of perenniality can be found in Constantin Brancusi’s Infinity column built in the 30’s. It is my intention to continue this heritage and reflect it in the Peren Watches collection”.

Andy Peren. Photo: file pic from Peren Watches

Andy grew up in Fagaras, Transylvania near the Carpathian mountains. He inherited his passion for mechanical timepieces from his father, who allowed Andy to disassemble one of his watches when Andy was 10 years old. Andy worked at various watch companies in Biel and completed a couple of internships. He considers himself to be a self-taught person, who learned the art of watchmaking, graphic design, website development, and other activities necessary to launch a watch brand. Being a perfectionist, he keeps tight control of all activities.

The Peren Hintz is the fourth model in the collection. Peren’s first watch, the Peren classic chronograph, was launched in 2014 via a Kickstarter campaign, followed by the Peren SOD chronograph and its first mechanical watch the Peren Nera, which is currently a steal at a price of CHF 488.

About Transylvania:

Transylvania is a region in central Romania. It is surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains South and East. The historical Transylvania extended to the Apuseni mountains in the west.The area has a rich history which goes way beyond what the tourist industry associates the area with: Dracula, vampires, werewolves and mysteries. It offers a stunning landscape for nature lovers as well.

Transylvania once was the core of the Dacia Kingdom (82 BC – 106 AD) and subsequently was ruled by Romans, various tribes, Habsburgs, Ottomans and Hungarians. There is also a Saxon influence. Unity with Romania was established on December 1, 1918 which still is the national holiday of Romania. From 1947 to 1989, Romania was under a communist regime. Transylvania is rich in mineral resources and offers breathtaking views for tourists.

Perhaps one of the best known mystical places to experience the ancient history is Sarmizegetusa Regia, the capital and most important military, religious and political center of the Dacian empire. Sarmizegetusa, together with five other Dacian fortresses as part of a defence system, is now UNESCO World Heritage sites. The place has a sacred zone, including the Andesite Sun. , which is believed to be used as a measurement tool for the solar cycle as well as an altar for religious ceremonies and rituals. At the time the sun played a decisive role in the life of people. Unfortunately it suffered massive destruction after the Roman invasion in 106 AD.

The design and quality of the Peren Hintz

The Peren Hintz is a tribute to one of Transylvania’s first watchmakers, Eugen Hintz (1869 – 1962). After returning from the United States, Eugen Hintz opened his own boutique in Fagaras, Transylvania to build and sell his own watches. He commissioned watch parts from Tellus, Wyler and Junghans. Wyler was especially known for its invention of the Incaflex balance wheel protection. Andy Bica-Popi says the following about Eugen Hintz: “Eugen Hintz is the pioneer of modern watchmaking in Transylvania and I want to honour his legacy with a Swiss watch with a Transylvanian soul”.

The Peren Hintz watch has an elegant design. Design principles from neo-classicism (simplicity of form and uncluttered appearance) and art-deco (geometrical shape and a clean design) have been used to create a clean, balanced look. The balanced colour combination contributes to the art-deco feeling. Hands and numerals are dark purple and orange. Indices are black with an orange outline. The dial has a delicate beige colour which leaves the impression of an aged offwhite dial.

Perhaps the most striking feature illustrating the perennial philosophy is the rotating disk at 6 o’clock. It is positioned slightly above the dial to create a 3D look. The disk is the exact representation of the Andesite Sun from the Dacian Calendar. For convenience purposes, meters have been converted to millimeters.

The lack of a starting point refers to the continuity of perennial life and has no beginning nor an end. When you pull the crown, the disc keeps running as the Unitas 6498-1 movement does not feature a hacking seconds mechanism. A brilliant choice to implement the Andesite Sun Dial in a watch!

The dial with embossed indices and arabic numerals, diamond cut hands and an aluminium rotating disk for small seconds is easily readable. Super-luminova® hands ensure visibility when it is dark. The sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating and display case-back contribute to the elegance of the watch.

The two-tone case of the Peren Hintz is made of 316L stainless steel and hand-polished. It has a diameter of 42,50mm and a thickness of 11.20mm. I really like Peren’s decision to opt for a case size that matches the movement size.

Note: The crown is not the final one. The final crown will include the Peren logo.

The ETA Unitas 6498-1 manually wound movement beats at a rate of 18,800 bph and has a power reserve of 50 hours is visible through the display case-back. It is part of ETA’s Mecaline Specialties line of movements and is among the most common mechanical movements in the market. It is essentially a pocket watch movement adapted for a wrist watch. Another reference to Eugen Hintz’ legacy. Winding is smooth and sounds like a pocket watch movement, which it is derived from. If you ever seek for a method to “Be In The Moment”, close your eyes and listen to the sound of the winding. Engraving such as the production number and the Peren name might be included in the final production version.

As you can see below, the construction and finishing is not at the level of the 6498-1 movement in the Montblanc 1858 small seconds, which is not surprising. After all, finishing is another major price differentiator. Whether that justifies the almost 10-times higher price of the Montblanc is a personal preference.

The watch will be made available with a vintage-looking leather strap as well as a Milanese stainless steel bracelet. The strap matches very well with the case and the colours of the dial. I have not seen the bracelet yet, but I am sure it matches very well too. I haven’t tried to change straps but that should work like it always works.

The watch fits comfortably on the wrist. Design and dimensions make this a perfect watch for both men and women.

Oh, before I forget: there is a link to Dracula too. The logo represents Dracula’s fangs.

Production, distribution and servicing

It is Andy’s dream to deliver perennial, high-quality Swiss-made timepieces at an affordable price. Peren does so by selling watches directly to the end-consumer who wears the watch. Quantities are limited to preserve the planet. When you buy a Peren watch, you can be certain it is a rare watch. Production is usually limited to 200 or 300 pieces, The Peren Hintz will be limited to 300 pieces.

A watch can only be named “Swiss made” when 60% of all parts are from Switzerland. Peren told us that everything is custom made for them. They partner with Fashiontime, also located in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. Assembly and testing is done in-house by certified watch makers. Peren works with a highly skilled watchmaker in the old town of Biel/Bienne, who is a certified watchmaker for well-known brands such as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Omega, Rolex and others.

A watchmaker assembles the watch, does a visual inspection and tests accuracy and magnetism using the OneOf Accuracy2 device. Water resistance is checked with a Sigma device.

Each watch is sent directly in a good-looking, good-quality box to the customer by Andy himself. To remind you about the soul of the watch, a saying is imprinted on the inside as well as the outside.

The packaging.

You may wonder how warranty and services are organised. Peren offers a 2 year warranty on the watch. You will have to send the watch directly to Peren Watches in Switzerland when you experience problems with the watch.

Local servicing should not be a real issue with this type of movement but if you want, the watch can be send directly Peren for servicing.

Pricing and availability

The Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to go live at the end of June. The limited super early bird price for the Peren Hintz will be 396 CHF with leather strap and 456 CHF with bracelet.

The Watches will be shipped to their respective owners by October if the Kickstarter campaign is a success 

Technical Data Peren Hintz

Diameter: 42.50mm
Height: 11.20mm
Case: Two-tone 316L Stainless Steel, hand polished
Case-back: Display back
Movement: Swiss Made ETA Unitas 6498-1 – diameter 36.6mm, height 4.5mm – 18,800 bph – functions: Hour/Minute/ small second disk – power reserve: 50 Hours
Crystal: Anti-reflective coated Sapphire
Dial: Metal dial, embossed indexes
Disk: Aluminium rotating disk
Hands: Brass, diamond cut
Strap: 22mm Genuine Leather, steel buckle
Water resistance: 100M/10ATM
Edition: 300 pieces
Price: 396 CHF (with leather strap) and 456 CHF (with Milanese stainless-steel bracelet) *

*Kickstarter pre-order limited early bird price. Expected Kickstarter campaign launch date is 23 June 2020, but this may change. We will keep you posted.

Concluding Thoughts

Peren Watches has managed to differentiate itself from other brands with a very appealing design and a unique feature, the rotating disk, which is quite an achievement in a world where new watches seem to be launched every day. The Peren Hintz is an excellent value proposition. I would not hesitate to recommend it to friends who want to buy this watch. In fact, I will probably be among the first to order one via Kickstarter.

Pros:

  • Value for money: you get a classic, reliable watch with traditional Swiss movement for less than 400 euros / 450 USD if you are an early bird in the upcoming Kickstarter campaign.
  • Beautiful, balanced design with a wonderful color combination.
  • The watch can be worn by men and women.

Cons:

  • The screws look somewhat cheap and are not positioned correctly in the prototype version. Please note this might be solved in the final production version.
  • Lack of a dealer structure for servicing. One could argue this is an advantage rather than disadvantage. Given the production volume, I don’t think it will be a problem for Peren to get the watches serviced.

Please note that photos included are taken of a prototype model. Some minor changes could be implemented by Peren.

For more information see:

  • Peren Watches: https://perenwatches.com
  • Transylvania: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transylvania
  • Sarmizegetusa Regia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarmizegetusa_Regia
  • Andesite Sun:  http://www.romaniadevis.ro/dacia/zona-geto-daca/reconstituiri-3d/item/soarele-de-andezit-sarmizegetusa-regia-reconstituire-3d 
  • Brancusi’s Endless Column: https://www.wmf.org/project/brancusi’s-endless-column-ensemble
  • Eugen Hintz and the Wyler Pocket Watch: https://perenwatches.com/journal/2019/7/11/hintz
  • Wyler and the Incaflex Balance wheel protection: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyler_(company)
  • The ETA Unitas 6498-1 movement: https://calibercorner.com/eta-caliber-6498-1/
  • ONE-OF Accuracy-2: https://one-of.com/accuracy-2/
  • Peren’s partner for assembly and servicing:  https://www.drhorloger.ch/

Photography by Peter Nievaart, except where noted.

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Review: Peren Hintz | Wristwatch News

  2. Dean M. Davis on

    For the most part I really appreciate the dial layout. I especially like the Nomosesque pop of color. The subdial, however, which is the focal point of the watch falls short. It’s too small or plain. I understand there must be limitations considering the movement ordinarily powers only a small second hand at that position. Perhaps the indent in the dial surrounding it could be utilized for the sundial layout, and the actual second hand could be made in such a shape as to represent the sun moving over the dial? Or at very least some color added to indent and/or rotating disc to give it the substance on the dial it deserves?