Introducing The Moritz Grossmann Benu Contemporary Date Ice Blue Oster Edition LE8

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Reposted from sfwatchlover

I first discovered Moritz Grossmann via a reader’s comment on an early issue of this newsletter. I must confess, I had to look up the brand initially. However, since that time, my admiration for the brand has consistently grown. This small German brand, with an annual production of a couple hundred watches, boasts an extensive collection. The craftsmanship it showcases is unparalleled, solidifying its reputation in the industry.

Even for the revered “Holy Trinity” brands of watches, users often receive a cautionary note: “do not change the date between 8 PM and 3 AM.” Additionally, accurate time-setting may be challenging, as the minute hand tends to move when the crown is pushed in. These are considered commonplace inconveniences for the hobby. However, Moritz Grossmann takes a different stance. Their skilled watchmakers have innovatively tackled these challenges, devising clever solutions that have admirably resolved these perennial issues (details later).

Moritz Grossmann (MG) watches are truly undiscovered treasures. Today, we’re showcasing an exceptional MG model – the Benu Contemporary Date Ice Blue Oster Edition LE8. The ‘Oster Edition’ denotes a collaboration with Oster Jewelers in Denver, Colorado, a longstanding authorized dealer for MG and other independent brands. This watch is a limited edition, with just eight pieces produced. Remarkably, this hidden treasure is not yet sold out, presenting an exciting opportunity for prospective buyers. So, seize your chance while you can!

Moritz Grossmann Benu Contemporary Date Ice Blue Oster Edition LE8
Moritz Grossmann Benu Contemporary Date Ice Blue Oster Edition LE8

A Brief History of the Brand

The company’s story began with its founder, Karl Moritz Grossmann, who was born in 1826 in Dresden, Germany. An accomplished watchmaker, Grossmann was a key player in the development of the German watchmaking industry, which was based primarily in the city of Glashütte, where he established his own company in 1854. His dedication to horology extended beyond his work, as he was one of the co-founders of the German School of Watchmaking in Glashütte.

Known for his innovative designs and high standards of craftsmanship, Grossmann quickly gained recognition for his watches. His technical contributions to the field of watchmaking included various improvements to the design of the watch escapement, which were highly regarded.

After Grossmann’s death in 1885, the company ceased production. It was a great loss to the watchmaking industry and marked the end of the first chapter of Moritz Grossmann’s legacy.

In 2008, over a century later, the brand was revived by Christine Hutter, an experienced watchmaker and a former employee of Glashütte Original and A. Lange & Söhne, two other esteemed Glashütte watchmakers. Hutter reestablished Moritz Grossmann with the aim of honoring the brand’s heritage and continuing its tradition of excellence.

Since its revival, Moritz Grossmann has once again become known for the exceptional quality of its timepieces, which are handcrafted in limited quantities. The company’s modern designs pay tribute to its founder’s innovative spirit, often incorporating elements of classic Grossmann watches.

The Benu Contemporary Date

The Moritz Grossmann collection is categorized into two lines: the Benu and the Tefnut. Both names have their roots in ancient Egyptian culture and mythology. The Benu bird, akin to the Phoenix, symbolized rebirth and immortality in Egyptian mythology. It was thought to have self-generated from the sun’s fire, bringing about a new day. This concept aligns perfectly with the name for the main watch collection, signifying a fresh start for this historic brand.

In contrast, Tefnut is a prominent deity in ancient Egyptian mythology, often depicted as a lioness-headed goddess or a woman with a lioness’s head. Consequently, the Tefnut Line embodies MG’s collection of women’s watches.

The Benu Line is further subdivided into Heritage and Contemporary. The Benu Date, which was introduced in early 2017, marked the brand’s first model with a date function. Due to its various innovative features, it was placed within the Contemporary collection.

Traditional date function designs typically employ either a date window or a pointer date. A date window often disrupts the symmetry of the dial, whereas a date hand can interfere with other hands. The Benu Date incorporates a peripheral date display with a marker, which is positioned on a date ring beneath the dial. This ingenius design ensures optimal legibility while preserving symmetry.

The initial release featured a rose gold model and a white gold model, both sporting an argente dial. Later on, a white gold model with a champagne dial was added to the collection.

Moritz Grossmann Benu Contemporary Date in precious metals
Moritz Grossmann Benu ContemporaryDate in precious metals

In July 2021, a unique bespoke piece of the Benu Date model in rose gold was crafted, in response to a specific client request. The remarkable dial was the result of a collaboration with Kari Voutilainen, produced in his dial manufacturing company, Comblémine, located in Switzerland’s Val-de-Travers. The exquisite guilloché pattern in British racing green and gold is strikingly beautiful, as are the applied rose gold rings for the minute track and small seconds. To gain further insights into the creation of this distinctive piece, refer to the videos by Swiss Watch Gang and Teddy Baldassarre.

A bespoke piece of the Benu Date model in rose gold
A bespoke piece of the Benu Date model in rose gold

Another bespoke piece
Another bespoke piece

Perhaps drawing inspiration from these custom pieces, Moritz Grossmann introduced the Benu Date Turquoise on August 16, 2022, as a limited edition of just 18 pieces. The dial showcases the same guilloché design but in a contemporary turquoise hue. With 62 MG authorized dealers worldwide, the allocation of these 18 pieces must have been a challenge. Only the most fortunate collectors would have the chance to acquire one. It truly represents an exquisite timepiece, showcasing the highest level of watchmaking craft.

Benu Date Turquoise, 18-piece limited edition
Benu Date Turquoise, 18-piece limited edition

Close up of the Benu Date Turquoise, 18-piece limited edition
Close up of the hand-guilloche subdial

The 100.3 Caliber

The intricate art of precision is encapsulated in the design of watch movements. Since its establishment in 2008, the small team of watchmakers at Moritz Grossmann has produced 16 distinct calibers. The Caliber 100.3, crafted specifically for the Benu Date models, facilitates a peripheral date design and incorporates a “jumping” date feature that enables the date to change instantly at midnight. This sophisticated mechanism, characterized by parts of varying complexity, is seamlessly integrated into the movement on the dial side.

Calibre 100.3
Calibre 100.3

Apart from the precisely jumping date, this type of date display has the advantage that the switching finger does not engage with the date switching wheel except for the few milliseconds during which the jump to the next date is taking place. Thus, the date can be corrected in either direction at any time. No more worrying about damaging the movement while changing the date!

Another remarkable innovation is the Grossmann winder with a pusher mechanism. When the winding crown is briefly pulled out, it switches to handsetting mode, pausing the movement. The crown automatically returns to its original position, but can still be manipulated to adjust the hands accurately. The pusher adjacent to the winding crown restarts the movement without disturbing the hands’ positions, while simultaneously reverting the mechanism to winding mode. This ingenious system mitigates two potential issues: the intrusion of particles into the case during handsetting and unintended shifting of hand positions when pushing the crown back into place.

Closeup of Grossmann winder with pusher
The Grossmann winder with a pusher which avoids moving minute/second hands while setting time.

The Ice Blue Oster Edition LE8

As a lover of independent watchmaking, I’m a loyal fan of the Keeping Time podcast. The host Jeremy Oster is the owner of Oster Jewelers, a long time supporter of Independent brands. On March 21 this year, a Benu Date Ice Blue Oster Edition was unveiled.

The dial features a guilloché pattern and solid silver subsidiary seconds, both adorned with a unique coating. This coating interacts with light to create a dynamic play of delicate ice-blue shades, depending on the viewing angle. The lance-shaped hands, meticulously handcrafted and finished in-house, are annealed to a deep purple hue to complement the peripheral date scale. The date marker, shaped like a bracket and finished in a matching purple, is also painstakingly crafted by hand.

Benu Date Ice Blue Oster Edition
Benu Date Ice Blue Oster Edition

Benu Date Ice Blue Oster Edition
Benu Date Ice Blue Oster Edition

Comblémine, owned by Kari Voutilainen, holds a top position in the realm of dial making. A visit to Comblémine’s Instagram account confirms its status as a supplier for prestigious watch brands such as Gronefeld, Petermann Bedat, Armin Strom, Sarpaneva, Sartory Billard and Kikuchi Nakagawa.

Moritz Grossmann Caseback
Moritz Grossmann Calibre 100-3 Closeup

Flipping the watch over, we witness the apex of watchmaking, in terms of timing precision, craftsmanship, and finishing. All engravings are meticulously handcrafted, the result of painstaking, artisanal labor. Both the movement and case back are numbered, while an additional “x/8” engraving highlighting this limited edition.

Key Specifications

  • Movement: manual winding, regulated in five positions
  • Frequency: 18,000 semi-oscillations/hour
  • Case material: stainless steel
  • Case diameter: 41.00mm
  • Case thickness: 11.85mm
  • Power reserve: 42 hours
  • Strap: hand-stitched alligator leather with prong buckle in stainless steel
  • Price: $48,300

In many ways, the Benu Date Ice Blue Oster edition embodies the finest attributes of both German and Swiss watchmaking. The extremely limited production run of just eight pieces adds to its rarity and allure, underscoring that hidden gems can still be discovered today. The high price tag reflects the extensive effort invested in crafting this mechanical masterpiece. For many enthusiasts, it’s a grail piece, a treasure worth consolidating half a collection to acquire. It represents the ultimate achievement in independent watchmaking.

Reposted from sfwatchlover

Moritz Grossmann DATE Turquoise 41mm
Shop the Moritz Grossmann Collection at Oster Jewelers

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