In today’s watch industry landscape, dial finishing can take on a seemingly infinite variety of forms, ranging from simple matte coats and sunbursts to intricately textured recreations of snowdrifts or tree bark. Although there may be more variety in dial finishes than ever before, many of the classical hand-finishing techniques used in watchmaking for centuries are gradually becoming lost art forms, kept alive by a handful of skilled artisans. The complex process of tremblage – the art of allowing a burin to wobble back and forth to create a uniform pattern – is one of these rare traditional techniques, and to celebrate the 13th anniversary of its current iteration German brand Moritz Grossmann has created a pair of designs showcasing this delicate engraving style. The new Moritz Grossmann Tremblage series is a stunningly refined showcase of the classical German horological aesthetic, combining intricate finishing for both the dial and movement with a balanced and restrained form.
Moritz Grossmann offers the Tremblage with 41mm cases in either 18K rose gold or stainless steel. Slim and traditional in form with long tapering lugs and a nearly-nonexistent narrow rounded bezel, the Tremblage’s case keeps as much visual focus as possible on the dial and its finishing. Outside of the dressy fully polished finish, the only real embellishment to this case design in images is the bullet-shaped small pusher at 4 o’clock flanking the sloping crown. This pusher allows the wearer to manually re-engage the movement after hacking the watch to set the time, ensuring the hands do not slip minutely out of alignment when moving the crown back to its neutral position. However, given the elegant simplicity of the rest of the case design, a case could be made for this pusher as a disruptive design element. As with the front crystal, Moritz Grossmann devotes as much caseback real estate as possible to the sapphire display window, allowing an unimpeded view of the manufacture movement in initial images. Although the brand does not list a water resistance rating for the Tremblage, it’s safe to assume this is not a watch intended for strenuous underwater use.
Naturally, the star attraction of the Moritz Grossmann Tremblage series is its namesake dial design. The tremblage hand-engraving pattern on both versions of the German silver dial leaves a heavily grained, almost stucco-like matte texture across the main dial surface, with a treasure trove of dynamic visual highlights in images. Just as impressively, despite initial appearances neither version of the dial uses any applied hardware. Every element of the dial design, from the signed M. Grossman logo to the Breguet numerals, along with the railroad scales for both the outer minutes track and the 6 o’clock running seconds subdial, is made from the dial surface itself. All these brightly polished raised elements are simply left in their natural states, while the labor-intensive multi-day tremblage process gradually chisels away the rest of the dial surface. The result is nothing short of spectacular in initial images, with the numerals and scales appearing like islands rising from a grainy matte sea. Moritz Grossmann completes this classical package with its signature ultra-slim tapering lozenge hands, presenting an impossibly light and delicate profile in images. For the rose gold-cased model, these distinctive hands are rendered in Moritz Grossmann’s unique heat-annealed purple finish, while the stainless steel model uses a more familiar heat-blued handset.
Both versions of the Moritz Grossmann Tremblage series are equipped with the brand’s manufacture Calibre 100.1 handwound movement. The Calibre 100.1 is every bit as lavishly decorated as the Tremblage’s dial, with a frosted finish on the traditional German silver 2/3 plate, contrasted by three-band snailing for the ratchet wheel and ornate hand-engraved filigree across the balance cock. Additional aesthetic touches like the tapering elongated balance adjustment needle and the heat-purpled screws give the movement a truly distinctive look in images, one which favors quality of finishing over the sheer mechanical intricacy often highlighted in high-end Swiss movements. This emphasis on classical design extends to the Calibre 100.1’s performance, which uses an oversized Nivarox balance turning at a leisurely 18,000 bph to produce a 42 hour power reserve.
Moritz Grossmann fits both versions of the Tremblage with dressy and traditional hand-stitched alligator leather straps, keeping the overall classical aesthetic intact. For the stainless steel model, this strap is rendered in rich navy blue to match the handset, while the rose gold variant accents its unusual purple handset with a contrasting strap in warm mahogany brown.
With a theatrical hand-engraved dial concept and a dedication to the brand’s traditional design principles, the Moritz Grossmann Tremblage line is one of its most stunningly well-crafted offerings to date. The Moritz Grossmann Tremblage series is available now through authorized dealers, with MSRPs of €31,000 for the stainless steel model and €42,300 for the rose gold variant, both excluding VAT. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.