There is reason to celebrate at Moritz Grossmann: with the founding of the manufactory in Glashütte, Saxony,15 years ago, the legacy of the great watchmaker was revived and brought into the modern era. Ever since, the focus has been on creating a unique collection of exceptional watches and impressive movements. To mark the manufactory’s birthday, this tradition continues with the release of the BACKPAGE Green in a limited edition of two designs as well as the unique TREMBLAGE XV Birthday Edition.
It was not just watchmaking in Glashütte that Moritz Grossman influenced in his day; the impact of his work also spread far beyond Saxony. Ever since the opening of the Moritz Grossmann manufactory in Glashütte, this intangible legacy has been upheld and improved in line with the highest standards of craftsmanship and engineering. For the last 15 years, the watches and movements created by the manufactory have set new standards in terms of aesthetics and mechanics. The handed-down traditions are reinterpreted and perfected by the manufactory, which has resulted in various areas of expertise being built up in the in-house workshops, from the design of new calibres and manufacturing to the elaborate finishing and double assembly of the movements. Cutting-edge manufacturing technologies combine with classic craftsmanship in several work stages. The same care is given to the assembly of the watches: the hands, for example, also originate in the same in-house workshops, where they are shaped and finished by hand. Historical finishing techniques are given a modern-day twist on selected modern dials.
BACKPAGE Green in rose gold & platinum
The personality behind the revival of the manufactory is the trained watchmaker Christine Hutter, who gave the legacy of Moritz Grossmann renewed vigour after 130 years. Looking back on the re-founding of the manufactory in 2008, she says:
‘When I stumbled across Moritz Grossmann, I quickly realised just how significant this special watchmaker from the 19th century was. His story, personality and work, both in the art of watchmaking and in imparting knowledge, not to mention his social and political engagement, fascinated me right from the start. He is of historical importance, not just for Glashütte, but also for the art of watchmaking across the world. We have adopted Grossmann’s standard of simple but perfect mechanics in our watches and expanded it to include modern design approaches and technical innovations.’
The proof of this lies in the small but beautiful collection of watches in a classic but modern design that is now being expanded with additional exceptional timepieces to mark the 15th anniversary of the manufactory: the BACKPAGE Green in rose gold or platinum, each limited to 25 pieces, and the unique TREMBLAGE XV Birthday Edition.
TREMBLAGE XV Birthday Edition in rose gold
A splash of colour for the anniversary: BACKPAGE Green
The BACKPAGE model accentuates the aesthetics of the mechanical movement. Thanks to the large dial cutouts, the most beautiful details of the manufactory’s skill in watchmaking are rendered visible. Reading the time also gives a view of partial sections of the highly finished calibre 107.0: from the dial side, its defining stylistic elements are revealed, such as the Grossmann balance, the balance cock that has been hand-engraved with floral motifs and the three-band snailing on the ratchet wheel.
Normally these components would be found on the back of a watch. However, the mirrored construction of the movement gives it a whole new look. Thanks to the extravagant mounting of the seconds hand shaft in a gold chaton, the small seconds display is also located in a prominent position. The winder with pusher and stop seconds, which was developed in-house, can be seen on the back of the watch.
The limited edition BACKPAGE can be identified by the green colour on the remaining elements of the dial, which is key to the effect of the watch thanks to its rich, warm nuances. The green gives rise to an exciting contrast to the gold-plated gear wheels, the gold chatons and the carefully bevelled and polished screw heads, all of which are further aesthetic characteristics of the high-quality finish found on Grossmann movements. The sophisticated interplay of light and colour serves to highlight the masterfully finished mechanism directly on the wrist. The handcrafted hands circle above it, annealed in a brown-violet hue.
The manufactory calibre 107.0:
reimagining the traditional Glashütte art of watchmaking
The calibre 107.0 was designed with the aim of achieving the expressive look on the front of the dial. Although it appears to be a mirror image of the calibre 100.1, it required a completely new technical approach. Only in this way could the time be displayed on the other side of the movement.
An additional gear wheel had to be integrated between the crown wheel and the ratchet wheel that also reverses the entire drive train with respect to the rotation of the mainspring barrel. The escapement and oscillator was also mirrored, including the winding direction of the spiral spring. This required the balance and escape-wheel cock to be adjusted.
The particularly high-quality High Artistic Finish of both components fascinates with the masterful hand engraving, chamfering and bevelling.
The perfect frame: a rose gold or platinum case
To mark the 15th anniversary of the manufactory, the BACKPAGE Green is released in two versions – with either a case in rose gold or platinum. The appliqués on the dial also match in either rose gold or white gold.
The rose gold model is worn on a brown alligator leather strap, while the platinum model is combined with a black alligator leather strap. Both versions are limited to 25 pieces each.
A unique piece for the manufactory’s anniversary:
the TREMBLAGE XV Birthday Edition
To mark the 15th birthday of the manufactory, Moritz Grossmann once again pays homage to a historic engraving technique:
the dial of the unique TREMBLAGE XV Birthday Edition has been finished using the tremblage engraving technique. This is a handed-down technique where the engraver runs a burin over the metal using tiny back-and-forth movements. And this is what gave the technique its name: the French word ‘tremblant’ simply means ‘to tremble’.
However, it requires, as described in an antique book about the art of engraving dated 1921, ‘a good deal of practise to be able to do it evenly’.
Only absolute evenness can create the look that makes the dial of this anniversary watch so expressive: with a rough, matt surface that catches the light, giving rise to a soft shimmer. The use of German silver also adds to this with its warm shade.
A signature full of effects for the anniversary
The three-dimensionality of the dial provides additional effects: the hour numerals and the small seconds circle plus the historic logo ‘M. Grossmann’ hover above the surface. Surprisingly, these details are not applied, but rather the background of the dial was carefully removed by hand to make the markings and lettering stand out more. It requires a great deal of care and experience to create clean edges when doing so.
The inscriptions ‘2008-2023’ and the number ‘15’ on the dial refer to the manufactory’s anniversary. They have been given a different surface structure by hand to make them sometimes more and sometimes less visible depending on the incident light, leading to fascinating effects.
Hands annealed to a brown-violet hue circle above the dial, which is made by hand and is also evidence of all the skills the manufactory has acquired in the past 15 years.
The calibre 100.1: the finest mechanics the manufactory has to offer
The hand-wound calibre 100.1 can be viewed through the glass case back on the TREMBLAGE XV Birthday Edition anniversary model. In addition to the carefully considered construction of the pillar movement, which was made from untreated German silver just like the dial, the elaborate finishing by hand on all components is simply fascinating. The barrel bridge made from German silver, for example, has been intricately grained to create an even surface. The surrounding edges are bevelled by hand and ensure special shimmering accents with their polished surfaces. The historic Moritz Grossmann signature is engraved in cursive script, a nod to the master’s old pocket watches. The individual movement number is also engraved in cursive script here. The floral pattern on the balance and escape wheel cock is also applied by hand. The other surfaces are finished using traditional polishing techniques.
Unique piece in rose gold
The anniversary watch TREMBLAGE XV Birthday Edition has a case in rose gold and will only be available as a one-off. This unique piece is worn on a brown alligator leather strap.