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Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On

Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On Hands-On

One of the newer yet very classically conceived German watch makers is Moritz Grossmann, another fine timepiece maker to hail from the small watchmaking town of Glashütte. With a focus on traditional German timepiece design as well as functionality, a keen attention to detail and conservative decorative elements help mark the products from the Moritz Grossmann brand. The current crown jewel of their collection is the Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon, which I was happy to check out hands-on when I caught up with the brand at Dubai Watch Week recently.

Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On Hands-On

Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On Hands-On

Numerous small details mark the Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon as being distinct in the market, but at first glance, you would not be blamed for mistaking it for something from neighboring brand A. Lange & Sohne, also based in Glashütte. The truth is that Glashütte is so full of watch companies now, it is difficult to imagine how they have enough trained people (either there or willing to move there). With that said, independent of human resource concerns, the work from most Glashütte-based watch makers is not only among the best in the world in terms of quality, but also in a strict adherence (for the most part) to the idea that timepieces (no matter their level of luxury) should be, first and foremost, utilitarian items.

Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On Hands-On

Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On Hands-On

Knowing this should assist in appreciating some of the finer nuances of the Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon, such as the fact the Moritz Grossmann produces the finely flame-colored hands in-house and that their unique tourbillon mechanism has a stop-seconds system which literally uses a small brush that connects with the escapement to pause it. This is not entirely unlike A. Lange & Sohne’s system they designed years back to offer a stop-seconds function to their tourbillons, but Moritz Grossmann does it a little bit differently.

Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On Hands-On

The patent-pending system to pause the operation of the balance wheel in this Moritz Grossmann tourbillon is known as the “Stopp Second” system and uses a fine “elastic brush with human hair” to stop the balance wheel. Why, again, do you want to temporarily pause the balance wheel? This allows the wearer to more precisely set the time, as without a stop-seconds function, when you pull the crown out, the seconds hand keeps going. While not entirely uncommon in more traditional watch movements, the vast majority of tourbillon watches do not have a stop-seconds system. The addition of a stop-seconds system to a tourbillon-based movement simply allows the user to set the time more precisely.

Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On Hands-On

In the Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon, when the crown is pulled out, the tiny, soft brush pulls against the oscillating balance wheel and stops it until the brush is removed when the crown goes back in. Actually, you need to press a small pusher under the crown to start the time-running mode and disengage the brush. If I recall correctly, I was actually asked not to take pictures of this small element (and you won’t find anything really telling on their website, either) due to fears that others would try to copy it.

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Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On Hands-On

The system works well, and you can see the small hair brush when you look closely at the watch. My real question is “whose hair is actually being used in these limited edition watches?” If Moritz Grossmann wanted, I bet they could team up with Swiss DeWitt to put some of Napoleon Bonaparte’s hair in some of these timepieces. Make up your own humorous marketing slogans for how that would go…

Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On Hands-On

Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon Watch With Human Hair Hands-On Hands-On

The in-house-made Moritz Grossmann caliber 103.0 manually wound movement has a lot of little tricks up its sleeve, most of which are pulled from various eras in watchmaking history intended to make the movement more accurate, more reliable, and more durable. All great features, I’ll let the most serious of our horologically inclined readers peruse these additional details on Moritz Grossmann’s website here. There, you can read about (in addition to other cool details) how Moritz Grossmann uses Guaiacum wood (as in tree wood) for the pinion break component as opposed to metal, which is something they learned about from the work of pioneering English watchmaker John Harrison.

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  • I_G

    So what’s next, the Grossmann Pubic Hair Edition?

    • john coleman

      Next edition could be the ”no hair this time but for God’s sake don’t ask us what that thing is”!

      • somethingnottaken

        The shaved edition?

  • Marius

    I really like the architecture and finish of the movement, which reminds me oft FP Journe.
    What I don`t like is the dial, which I find too crowded, and a bit cheap looking.
    The price is, in my opinion, just absurd. Grossmann is neither a prestigious brand such as Lange, JLC, or Patek, nor is it a well-established independent such as MB&F, Ferrier, or DeBethune. My impression is that many of the newer brands charge exorbitant prices just because Lange or Urwerk also have high prices. The main problem with Grossmann and co. is that they have an uncertain future, as well as a poor track record. I mean, nobody knows if they will still exist in 10 years, and the quality and reliability of their watches is also a question mark.

    • I agree – if you took a quick glance and did not know better you might think the dial was from a Chinese cheapie. And even knowing what it is and how its made, the price is pretty wild considering what else you can get for $170K USD. I find the 25 – 35 minute display odd looking rather than clever (which it seems straining to be). A smaller tourbillon would have allowed a complete chapter ring and a higher frequency to boot.

  • iamcalledryan

    I like everything but the human hair gimmick. If you want to keep it an industry secret you don’t headline it for marketing, or you patent it as they say they are. And that is not to mention the fact that no-one is going to copy that tech in a hurry. But preventing you from getting images of it smells wrong and puts the whole thing into a weird light.

    Aside from that it looks great. Interesting that they have purpled the steel and use clear jewels too. The overall look is great, and I particularly like the way they handle the cut-off minutes.

  • BNABOD

    anyone heard of a patent, patent your hair extension deal Mortiz and let folks take a picture. that is rather silly to hide this. see how it would go for a customer, “i really want to see the hair”..”yes sir it is here but no picture please”..”hum ok you want me to 1st spend 168K before I take a pic, got it”. in all honesty I am also tired of tourbillons to me it clutters the dial and the tech is not the grail it used to be and every day it seems there some new toubillonium device coming out. I do like the back of this one rather than the front but another completely unobtainable time piece for me.

  • john coleman

    Seems to hark back to the days before hair springs when they used to control the balance with a pig bristle.

  • Johnny Tank (Forever Autumn)

    Human hair in a watch??? That’s gross mann!

    • A Esparza

      What you rather use Horse hair?

    • Jeviar Dfirst

      I know what you did there buddy~~~ ?
      Up you go!

    • somethingnottaken

      I wonder if it is an attempt to get the same function as horse hair, pig bristle, etc. while appealling to buyers who object to using animal products?

  • Lurch

    This is a nice looking watch but for this kind of money, I would rather buy one of the ALS’s you recently reviewed. As for the hair thing, do you get to choose blonde, red, or brunette? I have copious amounts of back hair they can use if this watch sells like crazy.

  • DanW94

    It’s quite a departure from their usually conservative styled watches. I like that they made it a regulator. It has some interesting elements to it like the cut-off minute placement. It’s different, but a good kind of different. The movement is really attractive. It’s also priced like they belong in the same neighborhood as their esteemed Glashutte neighbors….

  • Now this is a German watch!

    The human hair brush seems to be a bit of a misfire. Boar’s hair would be fine. Perhaps human hair appeals to a group of archaic collectors, but it’s a bit too personal for me. Human hair is what I furtively remove from my plate at dinner, hoping to avoid upsetting anyone’s stomach. Human hair is not mammoth ivory!

    Anyways, I like the technical and symmetric dial. It is a very German dial, without warmth and whimsy, but it is legible and attractive. The lack of applied markers makes it easy to say, “The dial looks cheap.” The raised components are interesting and one photograph manages to hint at a finely-textured finish. Subtle fine finishing is difficult to photograph well. The regulator’s fine hands are well-chosen and executed. I haven’t caught the tourbillon disease, but meh.

    As a German watch company, funded by German watch enthusiasts, Moritz Grossmann is making German watches for German tastes. In my opinion, the watches are more German than Lange and Glashutte. The brand will succeed by appealing to hardcore German watch collectors. Like Lang & Heyne, but on a larger stage.

    The pricing is high, but not off by more than a factor of two. For a Veblen good, priced at 195% is the sweet spot.

    Moritz Grossmann was founded by Christine Hutter. Her background suggests that she knows what she’s doing:

    Christine Hutter was born in the Bavarian town of Eichstätt in 1964. After having earned a Bachelor’s degree, she enrolled in a watchmaking apprenticeship and was soon seduced by traditional craftsmanship and the beauty of mechanical timepieces.

    At Wempe, Germany’s largest luxury watch retailer, she initially worked in the service workshop and later switched to sales. Her next stations were Maurice Lacroix, Glashütte Original, and A. Lange & Söhne, where she gained in-depth experience in global marketing and developed new distribution channels. As the managing director of Haute Horlogerie Schindler in Zermatt, she forged many contacts with discerning collectors. Her vision to revive the historic Moritz Grossmann brand and to craft exquisite wristwatches began to take shape.

    Private watch enthusiasts helped make her dream come true – on 11.11.2008, she established Grossmann Uhren GmbH in Glashütte.

    (Source: Global Female Leaders 2016)

    • Shinytoys

      excellent addition to the article.

  • ZL

    “In order to retain pure legibility, Moritz Grossmann designed the counterweight end of the minute hand to be read along the small supplemental minute track so as not to interfere with you being able to precisely read the time.”

    I really like that part.

    • I_G

      Clever, huh?

  • Shinytoys

    Another fine German work of art. What a gorgeous watch!

  • Ulysses31

    Never heard of the brand, but they obviously make a fine watch. Not sure about the hair feature. I feel they could’ve achieved the same result via other means.