Moritz Grossmann is marking its 12th anniversary with the release of the XII Birthday Edition, a new model whose highlight is the silver-plated by friction dial, a traditional finishing technique from the 19th century, which was also used by the Saxon watchmaker Moritz Grossmann for his pendulum watches.
Today dials are mostly produced through process-controlled electroplating performed in electrochemical baths or by using special coating processes. But in the 19th century these techniques were not yet available. A technique that was often used at the time for high-quality dials was silver plating by friction. Today, only a handful of skilled craftsmen still master this sophisticated art.
A whitish powder consisting of silver granules, salt and tartar is rubbed onto a perfectly cleaned brass sheet using a little water and a brush. All the engravings on the dial are filled with lacquer before being silver-plated and then fired in a kiln to avoid excessive silver build-up.
The surface is sanded to roughen it, which also removes any excess lacquer so that only a deep black inlay remains in the engraved areas. As the silver powder does not stick to the lacquer, the engravings and numerals are completely left out of the silver plating process so maintaining their intense black.
The dial is then finished with a protective coating to protect it from oxidation. The final result is a fine-grained, velvet-like surface that reflects most of the incident light without glares.
The original ‘M. Grossmann’ logo from 1875 and the delicate, handcrafted, poiré-shaped hands annealed to a blue hue emphasise the vintage look of the piece.
Housed in a 41 mm x 11.35 mm case crafted from rose gold or stainless steel, the manufacture calibre 100.1 slowly beats at 18,000 vibrations per hour with a power reserve of 42 hours. Its beautiful finishes can be appreciated through the ample, non-reflective sapphire-crystal display back.
The characteristic 2/3 plate in untreated German silver is decorated with wide horizontal ribbing with a hand-engraved signature. The circular cut-out of the plate reveals the Grossmann balance. It is carried by the cantilevered, hand-engraved balance cock with the typical micrometer screw. Its design improves the adjustability of inertia and achieves high kinetic energy combined with minimised air resistance and the smallest possible mass.
Another distinctive feature of Moritz Grossmann movements, the Grossmann winder with pusher features a refined hand setting mechanism that eliminates two possible error sources: altering the hands unintentionally when pushing the crown back into place and avoiding the ingress of foreign particles like dust during the adjustment process.
The Moritz Grossmann XII Birthday Edition comes in a limited production of only twelve handcrafted pieces, six in rose gold (ref. MG-002802) and six in polished steel (ref. MG-002907) with indicative prices of Euro 27,600 and Euro 19,100 respectively (prices before local sales taxes). grossmann-uhren.com