De GRISOGONO Otturatore Watch Is Four-Faced

De GRISOGONO Otturatore Watch Is Four-Faced

After some years of development De GRISOGONO released a fantastic new caliber in a polarizing new timepiece with a name I can barely pronounce. Try saying "Otturatore" a few times really fast. I am sure that means something sexually satisfying in Italian, but this is a Swiss brand through and through. De GRISOGONO is a rare band in the US, but one that has a lot of cool and complex pieces. While a lot of brands like to call themselves "avant garde, " I have to say that De GRISOGONO actually is.

What makes me sad is how expensive this watch is. It is about 69,100 - 71,100 Swiss Francs depending on the style. It doesn't need to be that expensive, even though the brand did put a lot of work in to the movement development. Offer a steel-cased version for $20,000 and then at least you have my attention more. Much of that 85,000 Swiss Franc amount is going to be justified in the chunky 18k rose or white gold case - that surely uses a lot of metal. The quizzical case is about 45mm wide and about 50mm tall. That is a lot for a square watch. At 16mm thick, this is gonna be a lot like wearing a rod of gold bouillon on you wrist. I'd still lug it around though.

Some of you are surely going to take one look at this watch and think "WTF, I would not wear that." Others will be enchanted by the interesting mixture of classic watch style meets angular furniture design concept of the Otturatore. I would give it a chance and feel that the design would grow on me. What keeps my attention after the initial wow factor of the moving dial is De GRISOGONO's focus on comfort and legibility.

The watch is quite legible, and that was sort of the point of the complication system. If you don't get it yet, there are pushers on the side of the case (similar to chronograph pushers), but they are used move the dial window around. Under the dial are four complications, but you can only view one at a time. De GRISOGONO makes a big deal out of how long it took for the development of this moving dial system to work properly. I get it... it was complicated. 70,000 Swiss Francs complicated. But you made it work boys, so pats on the back all around.

The reason De GRISOGONO spent so much time on the dial is because it isn't just "push button and dial window moves." No, they wanted to give the illusion that the entire dial changes in the flash of an eye. There is actually a mechanism that moves the dial window that is not powered by the push of your hand directly. The top pusher merely activates a special system that cycles the dial window. Confused? Good. Get this - the watch has a second mainspring barrel aside from the one for the time. Yup. It is wound by "pumping" the lower pusher a number of times. When you then press the top pusher it activates the system that draws power from the second mainspring barrel to moved the dial window over a new complication. Fun right?

Aside from the time the novel De GRISOGONO caliber DR 19-89 is an automatic (yay) and features a subsidiary seconds dial, power reserve indicator, moonphase indicator, as well as date. If you look at the movement you won't think it is an automatic. In fact I didn't know it was an automatic until I read the small print. There isn't a rotor to be seen. No, instead De GRISOGONO hides the automatic rotor (somewhere). How's that for stealth winding for ya?

I figure most people will keep the window over the subsidiary seconds dial when wearing the watch casually. The dial itself is textured and features nicely proportioned (but stubby) dauphine style hands that are in gold to match the case. As you can tell, the dial is available in a few colors as well including silver, ruthenium, black, and brown. Each of these colors is available with the rose of white gold case.

Wearing this watch with the massive pushers and crown must be interesting. For some it will be fine, for others it will likely dig into their wrist. Though interestingly enough the watch is symmetrical and not lop-sided given the positioning of the strap. I do overall really like this piece and find the over-engineered mechanism amusingly delightful as well as sardonically out of my price range, which is again between about $85,000 - $87,000 (69,100 - 71,100 Swiss Francs). Enjoy it for what it does my friends. Fellow watch lover out of France Francois-Xavier has some fun hands-on images of the De GRISOGONO Otturatore here.

Tech Specs from De GRISOGONO:

Silver, ruthenium, black or brown rotating dial featuring moon phases, date, seconds & power reserve indicator, self-winding Caliber DR 19-89
Movement thickness 9.80 mm
Movement dimensions 31.4 x 32.7 mm
Number of components 574
Jewelling 28 for the movement
Vibrations 28,800 A/H, 4 Hz
Power reserve 42 hours
hours, minutes, seconds, date,
moon phases and power reserve
18K rose or white gold,
sapphire crystal and case back
Case dimensions Opening : 31.20 mm x 28.80 mm
Height : 50.16 mm
Width : 44.85 mm
Thickness : 15.86 mm
Distance between lugs : 11.00 mm
Water resistance 50 meters (~100 feet)
in three parts, clou de paris cobbled pattern,
applied figures
Hands “dauphine” style in 18K rose or white gold
Strap genuine alligator
Clasp de Grisogono folding clasp in 18K rose or white gold

  • Frank Reitz

    At current market prices gold costs $1620 an oz. compared to ? for surgical steel. The difference doesn’t explain the pricing you suggest. The cost to de GRISOGONO in this offering is the time spent by extremely talented artists and engineers (read expensive), and the creation of tooling needed to manufacture (also expensive) these pieces. If a year was spent developing the calibre one has to wonder how many man-years were consumed getting there. On limited runs the number of pieces have to recoup all these costs plus overhead and profit. All things considered, the Otturatore’s pricing may be very reasonable.

    • Fredrique

      you are an idiot

      • Frank Reitz

        Please explain.

        • Fredrique

          I don’t have anything against the price of the watch. The watch itself isn’t for me but I like that watches like this are somewhere; their price point is what it is. I am not upset that it doesn’t have invicta pricing like someone later says. It is just that, despite your claims of using “capitalistic analysis of supply and demand,” nothing you wrote indicates that you are well acquainted with the various business elements or the relevant economic principles related to the subject you wrote about. And nothing you said was anything that a freshman in business 101 couldn’t come up with in 2 minutes. I called you an idiot because your statement, which is, as you said later, your version of “capitalistic analysis of supply and demand” is a joke of an analysis and is a waste of space. Not only do you sound like a complete toady, but I just don’t understand what makes you feel the urge to write up some grade-school level explanation of why an expensive watch is expensive. Spare me, good day.

          • Frank Reitz

            Well, thanks for that, your personal attacks notwithstanding. If you’ll consider my original post all I was trying to do was make a point that simply changing the case material would not be sufficient to reduce the price 65,000 Swiss francs. I’ll not make that mistake, again.

          • admin

            Frank, you took a lot of heat from everyone and I want to personally thank you for being cool about it and saying what you think. I want everyone to feel safe voicing their opinions here all the time.

  • steve2

    “gold bouillon on you wrist…”

    Love it! I might actually be able to afford gold bouillon…

    • Greg

      Soup-er review eh?! :)

      • Greg

        And with so many options you really get the best of ‘broth’ worlds…..

      • admin

        ha, yea.

  • Ulysses

    Love the ingenious movement; it’s really beautiful to look at, but it’s a shame that it’s inside a case that looks like it was carved by primitives with stone tools. It doesn’t look balanced on the strap either. A more refined exterior and this watch would be a real winner.

    • Chris

      “carved by primitives with stone tools” – best description of this case

  • P. Merle

    Funny first comment!
    Should we pay for the time piece or for how many the years those “extremely talented artists and engineers” have spent to conceive their work? If they were meditated for longer, this watch would have to cost millions of dollars?
    Come on, my friend, come back on earth!

    • Frank Reitz

      Don’t know what to make of your comment. Mine is a capitalistic analysis of supply and demand. What is yours?

      • dshon

        No, it wasn’t. It was speculation on the R&D that went into the watch. And it was only that- speculation.

        • admin

          I understand everyone’s perspective – and it is very easy to get upset about the pricing.

  • P. Merle

    For me your comment sounds like you are someone from within the De Grisogono company and you try to glorify something.
    If you made a capitalistic analysis of supplying this watch with 85,000 Swiss Francs, because of talented artists and engineers, I doubt there will be any demand.

    • Frank Reitz

      Wow! And all I wanted to do is make an economic point about the price. Im not saying it’s too expensive for what you get, just that the cost to make the damn thing is probably high, hence its price. If you don’t think it’s worth the price, don’t buy it. If everyone agrees then the manufacturer is stuck with inventory that can’t be sold and loses its investment bringing it to market. If enough people are of a different mind then the manufacturer might recoup its costs and maybe a little more (profit) to boot. Again, this is a capitalistic analysis (free market, if you prefer). Costs and expenses are what they are, they are not subjective whereas value is. Who in there right mind would knowingly bring a product to market whose cost couldn’t be recouped. That’s philanthropy, not business.

      • Arthur

        There really is alot of argument about this whole economics/capitalism/cost-base analysis/bla bla bla. I think Frank got caught up to much on the quote “Much of that 85,000 Swiss Franc amount is going to be justified in the chunky 18k rose or white gold case – that surely uses a lot of metal.”
        We all know that it cost alot of money to develop these kinds of watches, due to R&D, marketing, etc. Just look at Richard Mille and you get a good understanding of how all of this works. So, we can all stop hating on the guy.
        With that said Frank, there are people that knowingly bring a product to market whose cost couldn’t be recouped. One great example is the Bugatti Veyron 16.4. Even though that car, which started out at a price tag of $1M in 2005 and has jumped to $2.2M+ now, VW still loses money on it. The approx cost of each Veyron, $10M. And Piech, who was in charge of this project, new from the very beginning that it would lose money, alot of money. But, sometimes it isn’t about making money as it is about building new products that will eventually go into other products within the same company.

        • Frank Reitz

          Can’t argue your point. However, I think there’s a huge difference in the resources VW can squander to build a brand and those of a small boutique manufacturer. But, I’m not making a point about exceptions but rather one about general principles: You don’t bring a product to market unless you have reasonable expectations (what’s your risk tolerance?) that it will be successful where one of those expectations is financial viability.

  • Anthony

    I don’t understand the hate on Frank Reitz. What he is saying is totally correct. If they’re only going to make 20 of these things, and it cost a million dollars to develop and refine the movement, they’ve got to price it high to recoup the costs….unless they’re planning to release the movement in 10 other watch versions to spread out the development costs.

    The jokes on people spending 10 thousand dollars on a watch with something like an ETA movement that was developed decades ago, and now costs all of about $100 in parts and freight to put together.

    • kris.c


  • Tarak

    Those who said Frank is an idiot are people that expect this watch to have Invicta pricing and not realising the amount of time and effort being placed to craft the movement and casing.

    I suggest you go to Microsoft website and complains that why a bunch of codes cost $300+, it shouldn’t cost anything since its made out of thin air, isn’t it?

  • P. Merle

    I don’t hate Frank, I just have another opinion. Wanting to recover your investment is not sufficient justification for an aberrant price tag.
    The one who offended him went too far.