Due to the cost, complexity, and sheer visual spectacle of a tourbillon escapement, many tourbillon-equipped watches use this element as a visual centerpiece at the expense of a design’s overall balance, proportions, or legibility. Showcasing a tourbillon without upsetting the utility or visual weight distribution of a watch can be a delicate task, and German boutique brand Moritz Grossmann has developed a distinctive and effective solution to the dilemma since the introduction of its original BENU Tourbillon watch in 2014. For 2021, Moritz Grossmann reinterprets the BENU Tourbillon with a clean and masculine new colorway incorporating luxurious rose gold touches. The new limited edition Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon in rose gold offers a refined, intricate, and classically German take on the tourbillon design conundrum, with a distinctive regulator layout and brilliant finishing throughout.
At 44.5mm-wide and 13.9mm-thick, the 18k rose gold case of the new Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon is undoubtedly on the large side for such a classical and dressy design. The overall form, however, is elemental, with simple downturned lugs, an elegantly slim rounded bezel, and a bright fully polished finish. A small pusher at 3:30 operates the BENU Tourbillon’s unique stop-seconds mechanism for more accurate time-setting. Moritz Grossmann finishes the case with a sapphire display caseback.
The glossy black painted solid silver dial of the new Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon gives this iteration a more sporting and contemporary character than previous silver dial variants at a glance. This new variant also eschews the brand’s signature “flame purple” rhombus handset in favor of hands in hand-formed and polished 18K rose gold. Outside of these color changes, the dial layout is more or less unchanged from previous versions, with clear, airy printed scales supplemented by slender serif Arabic numerals. Like previous models, this new BENU Tourbillon separates out timekeeping functions into a regulator layout, with a central minutes hand, a seconds subdial off-axis at 9 o’clock, and a matching off-axis hours subdial at 3 o’clock. This serves two purposes. First of all, it distributes visual weight evenly across the dial, rather than letting the tourbillon naturally drag a viewer’s focus too far towards 6 o’clock. Secondly, due to the oversized tourbillon and the aperture it leaves in the dial, this regulator arrangement keeps all functions legible at all times. This is especially clever with the central minutes display, where the tourbillon window cuts out a wide swath of the minutes scale between 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock. Rather than leaving the wearer to guess the exact time for 10 minutes out of each hour, the double-ended design of the minute hand works in concert with a small raised inner scale at the center of the dial, allowing the counterweight to precisely point out the time between 25 and 35 minutes past the hour. It’s this commitment to functionality above theatrics that helps to set the BENU Tourbillon apart from many of its rivals. This line of thinking extends to the 6 o’clock flying tourbillon itself. Where many tourbillon-equipped watches use this rotating escapement in lieu of a seconds hand, Moritz Grossmann’s flying tourbillon instead rotates counter-clockwise on its axis once every three minutes. Due to the seconds subdial, this does not impact usability, and this slower rotation should allow for a more detailed look into the heart of this complex mechanism. The tourbillon cage is a clean and flowing V-shaped design, nicely complementing the refined simplicity of other dial elements in initial images.
The manufacture Calibre 103.0 handwound flying tourbillon regulator movement inside the new Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon offers both intricate finishing and several unique engineering solutions. Through the caseback, the Calibre 103.0 is adorned with broad Glashütte striping across the German silver 2/3 plate, radial striping on the rachet wheel, and a complex hand-engraved filigree bridge. Moritz Grossmann’s signature “flame purple” finishing makes an appearance as well for the movement screws. To ensure precision when setting the watch, the Calibre 103.0 uses an unorthodox stop-seconds mechanism. Rather than disengaging the gear train entirely, Moritz Grossmann’s system engages a miniscule elastic brush with bristles made from human hair when the crown is pulled out. This brush creates drag on the balance wheel, gradually braking it to a complete stop. After the crown is pushed back into position, the pusher at 3:30 is used to disengage the brush and allow the balance to restart. Performance for this complex and decorated movement is solid, with regulation in five positions for accuracy and a 72-hour power reserve at a steady 18,000 bph beat rate. Moritz Grossmann completes the new BENU Tourbillon with a hand-stitched alligator leather strap in classic piano black.
With a luxe new personality to complement the intricate and functional regulator tourbillon design, the new Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon in rose gold presents one of the brand’s most visually striking offerings to date. Only eight examples of the Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon in rose gold will be made, available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of €147,900. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.