Sablier Grand Cru Watch Review

Sablier Grand Cru Watch Review

Sablier Grand Cru Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Sablier is the story of a man who had an idea for a watch, and decided to make it. The watch industry is full of personal success stories such as this whereby through pain, effort, and determination a person can fulfill the fantasy of wearing (and selling) a timepiece that they designed. There are few other spheres of life where producing your own machine is even remotely accessible for most people without enormous budgets. To produce a car, bike, or boat as a pet project is almost impossible, though a timepiece is something that can be done, and when possible we like to herald those instances on aBlogtoWatch. This is our review of the Sablier Grand Cru.

While it is not obvious at first, Kun-Chi Wu, who designed the Grand Cru, was inspired by wine. The design and theme of the timepiece are all about it. "Grand Cru" is actually "great growth" in French and is also a regional wine classification- so that is where the watch name comes from. The shape of the case when looking at it from the side is inspired by wine glasses, and the seconds hand is inspired by the look of a corkscrew. Having said that, the most interesting design feature of the Grand Cru is something entirely different.

Sablier Grand Cru Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

What apparently started Mr. Wu's quest to design a watch was a failed search for a particular feature that he felt would improve the durability or longevity of a timepiece. The issue related to protecting the watch crystal, a relatively delicate part of a watch case. It is true that sapphire crystals are highly scratch resistant, but if subjected to shock they can break. So what Sablier does is offer a sapphire crystal that is curved inward rather than flat or domed.

Sablier even has a US patent on the application of a concave curved sapphire crystal in a watch- a patent they happen to be really proud of. Thus, the case has a bowl-style look to it with a uniquely shaped sapphire crystal. This offers a combined look of something traditional with something new. There is something slightly Bauhaus about the design as well, which adds an interesting twist to the overall aesthetic.

Sablier Grand Cru Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Sablier Grand Cru Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

A fun little detail that I enjoy is the crown, which is placed at 2 o'clock so as to not jab into your wrist. No, that isn't the detail I am referring to. Rather that the concave look of the crystal is mimicked in the crown, which I find charming. The case overall is in polished steel and 44mm wide. This makes it a large watch, but not huge. It is certainly not trying to be a petite dress watch, but it doesn't have the look or feel of a large sport watch. Instead the Sablier Grand Cru is more of a lifestyle statement watch, which is a bit more mainstream than the "art watch."

The brand offers a few dial styles and I happened to like this one due to the modern Bauhaus look as I mentioned before. Having said that, it is not overly minimalistic, but is well-proportioned. I honestly didn't think of the seconds hand as being related to a corkscrew until I was told about it. That makes sense, but I enjoyed looking at it like part of an electronic circuit schematic. While the dial is pleasantly interesting and easy to read, it does fail in not having any luminant (though the contrast is good enough to see in low light).

51 comments
omniwatchrepair
omniwatchrepair

I really enjoy wearing the Sablier Grand Cru. I bought one for me and one for my wife two months ago. We both love how versitile the Grand Cru can be when dressing up  or dressing down. The key to this versitility is found in the simplicity of the case and dial which makes the watch look different with every strap change. Plain leather dresses the watch down and exotic leathers (croc, stingray) make you look like a high roller. The Grand Cru is one of those rare big watches that looks great on almost every style of strap even a leather Zulu strap. Great job Sablier!

I would like to wish KC and Sam the best of luck on this wonderful journey they are taking. I was nice meeting you both at Cooper Jewelers' event  and a pleasure doing business with you. Both of you made me feel very safe purchasing my two Grand Cru  and I have not regreted it one bit. I love the watches and I love how creative I can be with them. Keep up your passion for creating great American watches. I can't wait to see the next line. 

KC W
KC W

Thank you for voicing your concern regarding our patented concave crystal feature. I believe it is import to explain how the crystal is created: Our sapphire crystal is custom made starting with a thick circle sapphire disk.  We then grind it down to the shape of the concave curvature you see today. This is the same method used in making the eyeglass lens which ensures there is no distortion. After the desired concave shape is achieved, we add the AR coating on both sides of the crystal. Additionally, the curved dial of the watch follows the same curvature of the crystal. Allthree hands are also curved at the same concave curve to ensure the normal function of time keeping. Imagine the hands revolving in the shape of a shallow bowl; each hand passes within fractions of a millimeter of one another. This design requires additional steps to the manufacturing process when compared to the traditional flat dial.

As for the case design: in order to stay true the wineglass case we had to take a different approach. Rather than a traditional three piece case design (top bezel, mid case body and case bottom) we chose the bezel-free design. The bezel-free design creates congruent curves to form a wineglass shape.  This complication drove us to innovate as we had to design a different method to hold the concave crystal and dial internally which makes our case manufacturing process that much more complicated. These detailed specifications add additional time and cost to each watch. Those are just a few examples to illustrate how we care about our design, and why we engineered it from the inside out.  Here in lies our passion and excitement for the Grand Cru: These complications actually create a clean-looking, elegant and timeless watch.  

To specifically answer your question:
All points of the concave crystal sit just below the top of the case.  This renders scratching, cracking or breaking the crystal nearly impossible unless the lens is "stabbed" by a corner or edge of an object.  There is a perfect illustration of this on our Facebook page. You will find a picture of a Swiss Army knife with the blade place on the face of the watch.  Notice that at no point can the blade touch the crystal!
To come full circle: life happens... and in the event that something were to happen to the crystal, we will work with you to remedy the situation. This Grand Cru comes with a two-year warranty.  Our goal at Sablier is to build lasting relationships and treat our clients the way that we would like to be treated.  Please contact us directly or my partner, Sam, for any and all questions.  He will be always available at samkonigsberg@sablierwatches.com 


marbstiu
marbstiu

Design really reminds me of the LOUIS VUITTON TAMBOUR

arieladamsisgay
arieladamsisgay

Leave it to douchebag Ariel Adams to endorse anything that is thrown his way. How about sounding like less of a douche in your videos? This idiot loves watches that are 44 mm + way to dick ride the large watch movement fatass!

Fraser Petrick
Fraser Petrick

Concave crystal? The major drawback for me is that it would collect all the little bits of left-over micro-wave popcorn when I'm watching the Leafs on TV.

Just kidding. A beautiful watch. (I even kinda like the squiggly second hand.)

Frauss
Frauss

Either I missed something or there is no mention of where the watch is made, obviously not Switzerland. From the retailer list, it looks like New Jersey, or Joisie according to the cognoscenti. 

msirinsky
msirinsky

Over 2k does seem a bit high for this timepiece, though I do like many things about it. As far as the crystal is concerned, if it breaks, would the only replacement option be one from the manufacturer? I suspect so, and though I'm careful with my watches, I'd hate to spend a small fortune on a replacement "patented" crystal, should the unthinkable happen.

CG
CG

Nice and novel... I'd consider it and I love wine good hook for me

spiceballs
spiceballs

"Charming", to me is the correct word. But I also believe that it cries out for luminant or tritium, and it certainly "looks" taller than 7mm in the pix.  Like most watches needs to be seen "in the metal, nevertheless well done, IMO.

stereoblue
stereoblue

This is a great looking watch. I love the well thought out minimalism that has just enough funk to make it extremely engaging. The pics have me onboard… can't wait to see it for real.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

It's a very likeable piece.  The squat barrel shaped case looks reassuringly substantial (touching on my love for Oris divers) and the crown and crystal details are a sign of a watch designer that is genuinely trying to be different.  I get the theme is wine but i'd want different hands and dial.  Perhaps a concave dial like on one of those cool Seikos by Power Design Project.  The movement looks really nice in gold.  Even thinly applied "cheap" gold-plating isn't at risk of abrading away when behind a case-back so I don't know why this isn't more common.  Anyway, it's a special and distinctive watch but at a silly price.  Can't blame him for trying though, knowing the prices people will pay for horrendously ugly timepieces - why shouldn't they pay $2100 for a nice one?

samko
samko

My name is Sam Konigsberg and I am a relationship builder at Sablier.  I would like to first thank Ariel for his review and wonderful pictures of the Grand Cru.  We welcome all feedback from the blog2watch community as we continue to pursue our dream of the perfect watch.  A few points to consider:


The Grand Cru was proudly designed and assembled in Princeton, NJ USA
The Grand Cru is the culmination of 10 years of design, re-design, prototypes, patent filings and finally....creation!
The Grand Cru comes with a hand-signed copy of the patent (US Utility 8,009,521) by Mr. Wu. 
We currently have about 210 watches left from our first generation (all individually numbered)
The patent covers the concave crystal, dial and hands through the year 2029.
 
To the wine lover...
 
We created the Grand Cru to celebrate the lifestyle and philosophy that wine provides.  To Sablier, wine represents: slowing down to enjoy wine in good company, to celebrate life's victories and to share with loved ones.  We express through our wine-glass-shaped case that perfect wine REQUIRES perfect timing.  This watch is meant to be appreciated by the mature eye; by those who understand quite strength and values learned through the wine maturation process.  We promise to never be garish in our design and always promote a fine lifestyle.
 
Thank you for all your comments and feedback!
We welcome all those that would dream with us to create the perfect watch.
 
Please visit sablierwatches.com for more pictures and our philosophy.
 
Please e-mail me directly if you would like more of our story or would like to purchase the Grand Cru!
 
With Gratitude,
 
Sam
samkonigsberg@sablierwatches.com

mcv1973a
mcv1973a

Ordinarily, I shun timepieces that are "gimmick-y"... but truth be told, I really like this one. Its' looks are not over the top as one might expect. The crystal adds a distinctive touch... and the red seconds hand adds just enough color to keep the face from being completely boring.

I'd buy it.

nealdives
nealdives

Being a wine and watch lover this is perfect. Great looking watch and that concave design works for me.

Patrick Kansa
Patrick Kansa

Very interesting with the concave crystal.  I was just wondering to myself the other week why no one had developed on before, and just assumed it was due to the reliability/integrity of such a shape.  Lo and behold, great watch minds were several steps ahead of me.

ZL
ZL

When I first saw it, I thought it was the face that was concave, and I liked that, but the concave crystal is even more interesting. The height of it is beyond what I usually find acceptable, but something about the well-executed wine glass case shape made it all alright. Attractive, refined, and all-round nice design. 


One thing though, is the hands. They definitely feel more "indy" to me than any other part of the design. Personal taste, perhaps, but I never liked a squiggly seconds hand like that. Looks like it was pulled off a colorful pair of confetti-themed Hammer pants. That with the square hands kind of have the feel of an afterthought and give the watch a fashiony look, which I don't care for so much.


Congratulations to the company though, as it is definitely a creation to be proud of.

bnabod
bnabod

2K hum yeah no thanks, but the watch is decent looking. just way too much competition at this price point.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

You had me up till the $2100 pricepoint. Not outlandish or unobtainable by any stretch, but expensive for what it is. I guess we're paying for that crystal patent?


Other than that, the watch is handsome, although curiously tall. I prefer the heavy looking lugs, I'm not a fan of the lugless look. 


And, since you asked, I would probably consider staying with a strap in black, but as this is not a proper dress watch by any means, I would sport it up with some red accents. I'd pick something with a heavy and pronounce texture/grain, and with round shapes instrad of the square alligator scales on the stock strap. First at mind would be croc belly, chicken foot, stingray, or maybe bullfrog. All are very nice hides/materials that make for beauty straps. Stitch it in red, and probably give it a red liner as well. 


Ask that question more often Ariel. I've always got an opinion in that regard. 

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

Very nice watch.

The thin bezel makes for a lot of 'face' with the dial. Speaking of which, I would highly recommend tritium on the 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 & 11 markers as well as the minute ans second sticks. 

The concave crystal is a nice treat - innovative without, as you phrase it, "screaming for attention. Well played follow-up on the crown. Nice attention to detail there.

I respect this piece, its design and thoughtful execution. Of course, I also think this is a bit "optimistically" priced. But, I do think this will remain with the buyer for many years. I do not expect these to float-up on the 'pre-owned' market. No, I think these will be appreciated by a more...shall we say...mature aficionado.


"Mature watch lover keen on supporting independent brands who happens to enjoy wine."...well, seems 'bespoke' for myself with that line.

TimelyOne
TimelyOne

He should have incorporated a "Merlot" colored dial. Very nice variatal timepiece.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

The movement is no doubt gold plated as the ETA 2824-2 is available that way (I have one in a watch). So not brass per se, but actually gold over the largely brass movement parts. This is a more costly execution than a Standard grade 2824-2 (but below an Elabore or Top grade in terms of decoration and accuracy).

The concave crystal is novel. I would imagine it does not help water resistance as it pulls away from the case under pressure (the opposite of what a domed crystal does). It should decrease the number of reflections. But the ones it does 'capture' will be magnified.

Nice to see a Bauhaus type design that still has visual interest and attention to designer details.

Agree that price is aggressive given its specs.

AR is a funny thing and the correct amount is a thickness related to the wavelength of the light to be refracted. So more is not better. The best way to get 'more' anti-reflective effect is to have it on both the top and bottom of the crystal. But AR on the top is subjected to getting scratched off. 

The case shape reminds me of a Seiko Tuna diver. How thick is the case anyway? Looks chunky.

I wish them success.

emenezes
emenezes

@KC W  I'd love to use this watch as wine-tasting spoon.  Will the AR coating withstand the acidity of either white or red wines or even champagne? :-)

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@marbstiu You're right - I was trying to remember what else has that 'kettle' case shape.

aBlogtoWatch
aBlogtoWatch moderator

@arieladamsisgay Well at least I know I have fans with people like this. My philosophy in the interest of open speech is to offer you a voice even in my own backyard. So by all means. "Endorse" is a pretty strong term which suggests I advise people to purchase or like something. I don't endorse too much, but I do find it interesting to review a diverse set of watches that are both from the larger brands and smaller independent ones. This is a blog to educate and empower which means I share things of interest and ask people to make their own opinions. If you don't like something that we discuss by all means share why and what you do like. That is the beauty of open discussion. We aren't trying to uniformly decree what people should or should not purchase. That is a very personal decision, and not one that I feel is our job to dictate. There are plenty of other media outlets in existence whose sole agenda is to promote a specific idea or way of thinking. Also, no need for a fanciful pseudonym, no one here is critical of those with opinions.

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

@arieladamsisgay LOL...the sad mewlings of unrequited love.


Earthquake in West L.A. shake you up a bit tootsie?


Bite your pillow in silence.

samko
samko

@Frauss  That is correct.  It was designed and assembled in Princeton, NJ


samko
samko

@msirinsky  Thank you for voicing your concern.  Being a micro brand timepiece with a patented design, we realize that if the crystal were to break it could not be replaced with a standard issue crystal from your local jeweler. With that fact in mind we set out to create a watch that was both beautiful and functional.  


I believe it is import to explain how the crystal is created: Our sapphire crystal is custom made starting with a thick circle sapphire disk.  We then grind it down to the shape of the concave curvature you see today. This is the same method used in making the eyeglass lens which ensures there is no distortion. After the desired concave shape is achieved, we add the AR coating on both sides of the crystal. Additionally, the curved dial of the watch follows the same curvature of the crystal. All three hands are also curved at the same concave angle to ensure the normal function of time keeping. Imagine the hands revolving in the shape of a shallow bowl; each hand passes within fractions of a millimeter of one another. This design requires additional steps to the manufacturing process when compared to the traditional flat dial.

As for the case design: in order to stay true the wineglass case we had to take a different approach. Rather than a traditional three piece case design (top bezel, mid case body and case bottom) we chose the bezel-free design. The bezel-free design creates congruent curves to form a wineglass shape.  This complication drove us to innovate as we had to design a different method to hold the concave crystal and dial internally which makes our case manufacturing process that much more complicated. These detailed specifications add additional time and cost to each watch.Those are just a few examples to illustrate how we care about our design, and why we engineered it from the inside out.  Here in lies our passion and excitement for the Grand Cru: These complications actually create a clean-looking, elegant and timeless watch.  

To specifically answer your question:
All points of the concave crystal sit just below the top of the case.  This renders scratching, cracking or breaking the crystal nearly impossible unless the lens is "stabbed" by a corner or edge of an object.  There is a perfect illustration of this on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sablier-Watches/253552791353579?ref=br_tf
Here you will find a picture of a Swiss Army knife with the blade place on the face of the watch.  Notice that at no point can the blade touch the crystal!

To come full circle: life happens... and in the event that something were to happen to the crystal, we will work with you to remedy the situation. This Grand Cru comes with a two-year warranty.  Our goal at Sablier is to build lasting relationships and treat our clients the way that we would like to be treated.  I am always available at samkonigsberg@sablierwatches.com 

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@msirinsky Maybe you could get a domed crystal and have it installed upside down. Just spitballing here...

emenezes
emenezes

@nealdives  Could this watch and its concave glass be used as a wine tasting spoon? :-)

samko
samko

@nealdives  your comment is exactly why we created the Grand Cru.  Cheers! SK



emenezes
emenezes

@Patrick Kansa  Perhaps because of the poor legibility due to excessive reflections without coating in the days of yore?

stefanv
stefanv

@Patrick Kansa  I think no one else has developed it before because it's not really that good of an idea. Although it will be a bit less prone to scratches (simply because it is recessed), it is the most breakable of the three options convex, flat, or concave. It also means that the watch has to be much thicker so that the crystal is still clear of the hands.

KC W
KC W

@ZL  Thank you for your kind comment. Originally the corkscrew second hand is intended to design in 3D form. The limited space between the dial and concave crystal will not allow it to happen. If we do so the height of watch will increase and the aspect ratio will not look good on the wrist based on the 44mm in diameter. However the taller watch case will make it look more like a wine glass. The current case design is the best balance for form and function. As to the second hand we also have a straight needle design but only available on a white dial model. Please refer to our collection page.

http://www.sablierwatches.com/collection 

KC W
KC W

@emenezes @KC W  This is an very interesting idea. I don't know the answer but I will check with the supplier who provides the AR coating. At the mean time I will try it myself and let you know if it works although it is not intended to be used this way. However this watch is designed to be enjoyed by its owner just like we enjoy wine.  I will get myself a pair of rubber straps in doing so.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@aBlogtoWatch @arieladamsisgay I wouldn't even have dignified him with a response.  I suspect this is the same guy who has been posting similar messages over the last few months using various user-names.  I flagged it for abuse and I suggest others do the same. 

msirinsky
msirinsky

That would be my hope, but I suspect there's more to it than that in order for the fit to be correct, etc.

nealdives
nealdives

What a great idea. Would love to try that with this watch. Great way to enjoy the watch and wine at the same time.

samko
samko

@emenezes @nealdives  Would love to see the attempt!  We have a picture on the website of a single drop of water standing upright at the center of the crystal

ZL
ZL

@KC W @ZL  Thank you for your comment. As Mark said, it is really cool to have participation from the brand itself. I sense that my criticism is really just a matter of nitpicky taste (though I do not retract it), as this watch got a huge response and an overwhelming very positive one. And these are watch people. I love to see a young independent company, especially an American one, hit a homerun like this. A narrow, restrained, 3D corkscrew seconds hand also sounds cool if you can pull it off. Looking forward to more of your designs in the future too.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@KC W @ZLAlways nice to have the watch brand read the comments here and take the time to reply to questions. Best of luck with your brand Mr. Wu.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@msirinsky Actually I was kidding a bit as I also assume the lip of the crystal has a machined edge to it in order to seat onto the case. But a flat crystal might also fit. Or heaven forbid, a domed crystal mounted the conventional (convex) way. Cheers.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@samko 12.5mm tall - that makes more sense. Thanks for the info.

samko
samko

@MarkCarson @samko  correction... the case is 44mm at its widest point (center) and it tapers up (and down) to a face of 39mm.  The Grand Cru sits12.5mm tall


MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@samko from the bottom of the case back to the top of the bezel is 7mm? I find that hard to believe based on the photos. Or Ariel's left wrist has shrunk considerably, ha ha.

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