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Atelier De Chronométrie Number 1 Watch

Atelier De Chronométrie Number 1 Watch Watch Releases

Vintage chronometers are very popular and have an appeal that is pretty broad amongst “watch people.” To anyone who is a fan of these vintage “competition chronometers,” particularly from the 1950s, the very mention of the Omega cal. 266 (or any Omega 30mm movement) definitely paints a clear image in your mind. The simple mechanics, clean aesthetics, and plain accuracy of the watches from this era are something I personally respond to, and newcomer Atelier de Chronométrie from Barcelona are presenting an interesting customized take not only on these vintage chronometers, but the Omega cal. 266 movement. The Atelier de Chronométrie Number 1 is the brand’s debut piece and while its appeal is for a very specific kind of buyer, those who like it will likely be enamored.

Atelier De Chronométrie Number 1 Watch Watch Releases

The watch is entirely handmade in Spain between Barcelona and Meyrin, using only the tools of the trade that were available between the ’30s and ’50s. In fact, even the box the watch comes in gets this treatment. Each Atelier de Chronométrie Number 1 watch is made to order, so you can fine tune the design to fit your specific tastes. The movement plates are silver, and are frosted without the use of bead blasting. The edges are hand beveled, and black-polishing is used on the crown, ratchet wheel, and other elements throughout. The movement uses a KIF shock absorption system by default (like many Rolex and Tudor watches), although the client can choose to have Incabloc, or forego shock protection altogether if you really want to flex your “old-timey” muscle at the next watch club meet-up.

Atelier De Chronométrie Number 1 Watch Watch Releases

Interestingly, Atelier de Chronométrie use the Omega cal. 266 as a blueprint for the movement, though they have definitely made aesthetic and functional changes to the design. Either way, the straightforward durability of this movement is a good place to start if you want to make a watch that can be handed down generation-to-generation, which is something I wholeheartedly appreciate in an effort to preserve mechanical timekeeping. The calibre beats at 18,000 vph, which allows you to hear every tick as it marches on through time, and although this calibre has yet to be certified, they plan on having that done very soon at l’Observatoire de Besançon, in France.

Atelier De Chronométrie Number 1 Watch Watch Releases

Atelier De Chronométrie Number 1 Watch Watch Releases

Shots from the workshop: Shaping of the sub seconds hand

The Atelier de Chronométrie Number 1 watch sports a super-sleek-and-sexy sector dial with blued steel hands, and I can imagine that they have chosen to go with a free spring balance to maintain their clean and minimalist look through to the back of the watch. I’ve also read that the ratchet click system they have created makes a nice crisp sound, more akin to a pocket watch than a wristwatch, just for the simple sonic pleasure. Since each watch is bespoke, the case size can be made anywhere between 35mm and 38.5mm, either polished or brushed in 18K white, yellow, or rose gold. Stainless steel is also an option, and the watch comes with both a display and solid caseback so you can decide whether or not you want to flaunt the inner workings.

Atelier De Chronométrie Number 1 Watch Watch Releases

Atelier De Chronométrie Number 1 Watch Watch Releases

Link by link, the bracelet comes to life

Since I haven’t handled this watch in person, there is quite a bit left to know, but I would really like to find out more. Personally, I think this watch is an absolute stunner, and it pretty much left me slack in the jaw when I first saw it. Like I mentioned before, it’s not a style and ethos that’s for everyone, but that only adds to the appeal for me.

Atelier De Chronométrie Number 1 Watch Watch Releases

Lastly, I have intentionally avoided using the word “brand” throughout this article, as I feel that Atelier de Chronométerie is after something else. The idea of a brand as “a symbol of an attitude or lifestyle that creates market differentiation” has been set aside to a degree here, as this watch is a bespoke object of desire. It’s a slice of a forgotten era, and a pure representation of the crafting philosophies from that time. If you would like to own one of these beautiful examples yourself, you will need at least €36,000 depending on the finish and materials you select. The brand’s site is still being worked on as of publishing, but check out their facebook here. atelierdechronometrie.com

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Comments

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  • smoothsweeper

    At first I thought this was another kickstarter piece. Then I saw the price.

    • Dcf

      Exactly.

    • Sevenmack

      I’ve seen Kickstarter pieces that are better-finished than this s—e

  • iamcalledryan

    Interesting, but I expected the “Barcelona” bit to translate to retail value or the “chronometrie” bit to translate to COSC (although I note that is the plan). It’s extremely handsome, don’t get me wrong.

    It’s a reflection of the modern business environment no doubt, but I would be more enamored by a finished product, from an up-and-running company. With a well-finished Unitas-like prototype and a lot of promises, it’s really only one degree removed from nothingness – or am I being grumpy?

    • Matt Smith-Johnson

      Thanks for the comment!

      Well, it is finished, but they are only made to order. I do wish that their full web domain was up and running, but these guys are just out of the gate and I have been told they are working on first orders already.

      The movement, although simple, has some really super-nerdy attributes, like the winding and setting sounds that may not be as equally appreciated by everyone. However, I know Roger Smith paid much attention to the sounds his Series 1 made, and I quite appreciate that level of obsession in something made in such a hands on fashion.

      Long response I know, but I think what these folks stand for is interesting enough to be much more of a “something” than a nothing.

      • iamcalledryan

        I hope so too. And the click does indeed look to be bespoke. I happen to love the look of it, I guess I was disappointed to see what I thought to be something aimed at me but that was actually aimed at the collector/nerd looking to speculate $30k.

      • Berndt Norten

        Made to order? With payment up front? Sounds risky.

        • Matt Smith-Johnson

          It is made to order, yes—although I’m not actually sure if it’s full payment up front… I would imagine not, but that is a detail I am unsure about… Didn’t think of it but Good question! I will make sure to ask if/when we get to do a hands-on article with this.

    • DanW94

      You’re grumpier than that Internet cat! But 36k is a big leap of faith given the unknowns, so yeah, you have reason to be : )

    • Berndt Norten

      No you’re not being a grumpy old man. But let me play that part. This is sheer folly. I say good luck to them and hopefully Spanish bankruptcy law is as kind to the company owners as US law has been to a certain populist buffoon masquerading as a politician.

  • SuperStrapper

    I find absolutely nothing interesting about this watch. The article is great, I don’t know how you found this much to write about with so little substance, Matt.

    • Matt Smith-Johnson

      It’s a niche watch for sure, and it’s quite the stylistic departure from many of the watches we cover on ABTW—I personally like a lot of minimalistic looking vintage stuff, and I really found this watch to be quite stunning. Also, I think it’s the process of how they make these watches that really caught my attention, which I highly recommend checking out.

      • Boogur T. Wang

        Very good write-up on this piece.
        Bravo, well done.

      • Berndt Norten

        Checking it out in person? Where? Sorry but this smells fishy…

        • Matt Smith-Johnson

          I meant to go to their social media pages and view the process shots they post for manufacturing the watches. Instagram has the most with some video as well. Also, I do plan on viewing these in person, although I’m not sure exactly when that will be due to geography.

    • Berndt Norten

      And that should trouble us, shouldn’t it?!!!

      • SuperStrapper

        ??

        • Berndt Norten

          Here is what I mean: we have a largely favorable write-up of a watch that no one has seen in the flesh from a brand new company with no physical evidence that it exists. I review products of a different sort in my spare time and my publication would never dream of talking at such length about a brand new product, sight unseen. Especially given the price tag. The very act of giving it such lengthy airtime confers a certain legitimacy that in some people’s mind is not appropriate.

          • Boris

            I have seen and held the watches in my hands during SalonQP 2016 in London. They exist, that I can tell for sure. I am not talking about the price as that is up to a potential buyer. They look nice in real. They have a watchmaker who does most of the work on the case and movement. I think he lives in Switzerland. On another note, husband and wife behind this idea are known vintage watch traders based in Barcelona. Nice folks and I wish them well for their new venture.

  • Minimalist yes, but it sure oozes quality.

    In my dollars, the price of entry works out to about 55,000 CAD. Too steep or about right? Too steep for me, for sure. But the market will bear what the market will bear. This watch is comparable to the Laurent Ferrier (same price) and the Lang & Heyne (roughly half the price).

    • Matt Smith-Johnson

      Yeah, the exchange rate is in the dumps right now, I’m with you on that.

      Considering the more ‘mass produced’ Patek 5196G is around $28K CAD, it isn’t complete madness that a bespoke watch in precious metal with this level of craftsmanship is selling for what it is.

    • Berndt Norten

      I don’t know. 55 loonies for this… or a nice BMW? Hmmmm…..

  • Raymond Wilkie

    ” The edges are hand beveled, “………….oooooh, talk to me dirty : )

  • Berndt Norten

    Where is Susan Powter when you need her? Stop the insanity! The market will indeed bear what the market will bear. And Clara Peller’s echoes can still be heard. Where’s the beef?

  • CortexUK

    Shame it looks like a $100 fashion watch.

  • Beefalope

    Anyone who spends 36,000 Euros on this watch must have smoked 36,000 Euros worth of crack first.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    That’s the price, if you’ve got it, spend it, if you aint, move on.

  • Antjay

    Not sure whether to describe the look as minimalist or as unfinished . MASSIVELY overpriced for something that would not look out of place in a Parnis catalogue.

  • I won’t get into the price, enough has been said already 🙂 The dial needs a stronger element at 12 (thicker line, numeral, logo, just something) as the dial looks unbalanced (bottom heavy) plus every watch is a face of sorts and there needs to be a focal point that is a visual top element. Otherwise I like the clean dial design even though as others have mentioned, it looks like a Kickstarter metro-sexual minimalist dial.

    • Boogur T. Wang

      I admire this marque for wanting to enter near the top of the list (price-wise). Some very nice design and attention to detail are shown.
      I do think your observations are correct and helpful.
      I also like the ‘clean/minimalist’ dial look a la Bauhaus. But there is a distinct need for a “focal point.”

      Upon first seeing this offering, I did have the thought of “Oh no, another Kickstarter.”
      “…looks like a Kickstarter metro-sexual minimalist dial.” – Great line.

  • Josh Graves

    It is a beauty, but good lord is it pricy. Love the movement, but for that price they could have worked in a more decorative finish.

  • Sevenmack

    That watch is not worth the price. Plain and simple. A microbrand such as Melbourne Watch offers better finishing at lower price points than these folks.

    • Matt Smith-Johnson

      It’s pricey, but every part of this watch (asides from the springs) is handmade. Melbourne watch is after something entirely different in terms of what they are offering. I think they even have a tag line about delivering a good watch at a fair price, which I do appreciate… but Atelier de Chronometrie is more after people who are between bidding for a rare Patek at auction or saving a few bucks by going bespoke… Haha. Either way, it isn’t for everyone but it does have the man-hours behind the price tag.

      • Sevenmack

        Yeah. But it doesn’t have the quality behind it. I know some folks equate handmade with high quality. But as our ancestors knew a century ago, that isn’t true. There is a lot of handmade junk — and this Atelier is one of them. We’d laugh even louder at this offering if it came from Stuhrling Original and not from some gnomes in Switzerland.

        • Matt Smith-Johnson

          I guess it depends what metric you are basing quality on—if a handmade watch is able to get certified as a chronometer (which they are in the process of) then I’m not sure saying there is no quality behind it would be fair to them. I can totally understand any point on what the watch would be worth based on how desirable it is or is not to each individual, but it does seem to be a well assembled piece.

          • Sevenmack

            I’m basing quality on actual finish of the watch. The watch looks incredibly unfinished, in fact, looks like something Stuhrling wouldn’t even let out of the Chinese factory for fear of mockery on Watchuseek. [Not that it cares.] The lack of jeweling on the movement. A rotor that is plain and wouldn’t meet Hamilton standards. Given that watches are as much jewelry as tools for telling time, Atelier is offering a watch that is hardly worth the price it is charging.

            At the end, of course, if someone wants to buy it, that’s fine. Their wallet, their wrist, their choice. But in my opinion, that’s money better spent on better-finished watches at lower prices.

          • MEddie90

            The movement is jeweled on the base plate and bridges given a hand applied frosting and beveling. It doesn’t even have a rotor so i’m not sure how you’ve assessed that its plain. I’ll give you that the price is extremely ambitious, the case lacks the finish I would expect and a little more attention on the dial wouldn’t go amiss but all in all the back is promising (if a little plane Jane and derivative).

      • Sprinter

        “It’s pricey, but every part of this watch (asides from the springs) is handmade.”

        No it isn’t. Do you really believe the escapement (escape wheel, pallet fork and balance wheel) are handmade? Just looks pretty standard stuff to me, from Nivarox. What about the wheels and pinions in the gear train? The winding and setting mechanism? Come on.

        Making new bridges and a click is not “entirely handmade”.

        • Matt Smith-Johnson

          To be more accurate, based on the material I have, 32 of the components in the movement are made by them, leaving out shock absorption and springs.

          As I understand there are 39 components excluding jewels/screws in a caliber 266, so 7 parts are not made by them, and they focus their info only on the parts they do make. Also, their press kit had some images of wheels being manufactured but not much else outside of what is on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

          I do believe they need an active webpage which describes their manufacturing down to the detail (with images) to make it all very clear. Unless they are being dishonest, this is what I was able to determine in writing this watch release.

          • Sprinter

            Understood.

            I am myself a watchmaker, and quite experienced one with a lot of experience in prototyping and restoration – which involves shitloads of part making – so I know the hard work when it comes to part making and hand finishing. It’s hard. It takes time. I just find it incredible and unbelievable they claim to make everything except springs and shock absorbers, using traditional manual operated machines. Not even Roger Smith does that.

          • Matt Smith-Johnson

            Yeah I’d like to know more in detail myself, and it would explain the price point if they are putting in that amount of effort.

            I also know that the watches are made between two major locations and not just one, so perhaps one side makes plates, cases dials and hands and the other side makes the finer components. I’d really like to know how they do it, as I find that stuff interesting—like how Chr. Ward had used a dental tool maker to manufacture some of the parts used to modify a Unitas 6497 into a monopusher chronograph… Not 1930’s technology there, but it was a creative work around for sure.

  • ??????

    No way it looks sophisticated enough for 36,000 EUR tag.

  • speedy

    – the case is plain and looks cheap
    – the dial is dull
    – the finishing is very good, but not the best of the best
    – the concept is interesting, but it is similar to that of Pascal Coyon, and Pascal Coyon does it better for a far lesser price (although based on a Unitas, which is not as interesting, I admit, but the customization makes it actually more interesting)

  • Pierre Savard

    I really like it. I lost hope on the price tag when I read: “The watch is entirely handmade in Spain between Barcelona and Meyrin, using only the tools of the trade that were available between the ’30s and ’50s.”.

  • Or you could just buy an actual vintage Omega with small seconds and have it completely overhauled for about $2000. Or, at the 36,000 Euro price point, almost the entire line of brand new Omega DeVille Prestiges. Or a Lange and Sohne.

    And I’m sorry, but “Atelier de Chronométrie” means “Time-measuring Workshop”. That’s like buying a luxury car from a company called “Driving Assembly Line” or eating at a five star restaurant called “Eating Kitchen”.

    • hatster

      …all of this!

    • Berndt Norten

      And don’t forget, it’s a Barcelona ‘atelier’ (has anyone seen it, been there?) using a French name. Non, non, non, c’est pas comme ca (as Mitsou would say)

  • hatster

    If you want minimalist, I would suggest one of the Junghans Max Bill watches and save yourself abut 35K plus blushes. Or take Valannin’s advice below and buy a vintage Omega. I understand all of the craftsmanship blurb but I nearly coughed up a lung when I saw the price. Sometimes I think these watches should simply be aimed at folks with an engineering degree as that often feels like their target/niche market.

    An admirable write-up, Matt, considering they didn’t let you wear the watch.If you do get to hold one, I would love to hear any second opinion.

    • Berndt Norten

      A write up or review of something not in hand is…. of what value?

      • Matt Smith-Johnson

        The value of putting out articles on new watch releases is to let the community discover new brands or concepts and start a discussion surrounding any new watch that may be available. We like to introduce things that our audience may not find elsewhere, and although some opinions are inevitably shed by any writer covering a particular piece, we try to publish as much information as possible so people can decide for themselves.

  • Mark Baran

    Neat watch! Price is something else. I would love to see a photo of one, on one of those hand made bracelets.

  • word-merchant

    €36,000… Staggering. Let’s hope bankruptcy beckons to stop this sort of nonsense continuing for much longer.

  • patrick bremer

    totally agree with word-merchant and others….. 36,000??!?!?!! WTF??

  • Marius

    For me, this watch is similar to the kit cars replicating very expensive rare vintage cars. For instance, if you can’t afford to spend €200,000 on a Lancia Stratos, you could buy a replica made of fiberglass and equipped with an Alfa Romeo engine, for about €15-20,000

    Similarly, this watch has a design very similar to the rare vintage Pateks, while the movement is good, but not quite as good as the original. The only difference between this watch and the replica car is that the price of this timepiece is extremely high. For €36,000 for the basis version you could actually buy a really high caliber watch from just about anyone, from A.Lange&Sohne to Laurent Ferrier to Patek and Vacheron.

    • Berndt Norten

      Bingo!

  • pkansa

    I like that dial, and REALLY like those blued hands – they are a great shape (and perfect for the dial) and an amazing hue.

    • Berndt Norten

      Do you like it 35 large? Or like it $35. A bit of healthy skepticism is in order, methinks.

  • Sarthak Sharma

    I agree with the few comments saying it needs a stronger element at the 12:00 position to balance it out. Otherwise, I would definitely buy this watch if offered at about a $35k discount.

  • Jim H

    35k new with a 2nd hand value of around 500. You would have to have your head checked if you even considered buying this watch.

  • Ulysses31

    Brand names don’t matter to me that much, but they do matter a little. 36K for a watch that looks like an unfinished prototype from an unknown brand is just not going to happen. It still needs tweaking, although I appreciate the efforts that have gone in to making it. It appears to be yet another case of a new watch brand being too ambitious when just starting out. You earn your reputation over time, you can’t expect people to assume you already have one just because you ask a huge price for your product, even though that is a proven psychological trick in marketing.

    • Berndt Norten

      Exactly. And this is a charitable way of putting it, to say the least.

  • MEddie90

    I’m going to sit in the minority here and say I quite like the watch. I’m not head over heels and I think there needs to be a significant bit of additional refinement (improved case and movement finishing, more interesting bridge layout, wolfs-tooth winding wheels, a less ugly balance cock, a more detailed dial etc) as well as a drop in price until they’ve really proven themselves but the bare bones of what they’re attempting reminds me of a vintage steel calatrava as far as styling goes.

  • Michael Kinney

    Wow. Beautiful.

  • funNactive

    Simple looking watch with a large price tag.

  • Ruettiger

    There are watches, and I think Rolex is the best example, that convey a message to a wide range of people over a considerable distance. When a person wears a Rolex they are saying something about their success even if that is not their intension. This is a perfectly acceptable outcome; you should be proud of your accomplishments. Often a person will give a Rolex as a gift because they want the recipient, and those who observe them, to know that they are valued. This system works because even a person with little watch knowledge can spot a Rolex from the other side of the room, and make assessments about the wearer.

    In the Case of Atelier de Chronométrie the message is much more subtle. It is like wearing the lair of a mad scientist behind a simple facade on your wrist. The majority of the time the person wearing the watch is sending a message exclusively to themselves. It requires a more intimate relationship with the watch and its wearer to begin a conversation. If you know the secret handshake, the door will open and you will be granted access to the intricate world behind the facade.

    I have had many conversations with Rolex wearers, and they are occasionally interesting. I would love to talk to someone wearing an Atelier de Chronométrie; I am sure they would be extremely interesting. Admittedly, one of the first questions I ask will be; “why choose this watch over others at a similar price?” I assume the answer will relate to the practice of mad science.

  • Boris

    I saw these watches live at SalonQP last week. They are very eyepleasing. The movements are beautifully finished. I really cannot say anything about the price as this is not my league.