Six watches with a breathtaking movement –

For watch lovers, a stunning movement is something that will easily excite us. That’s why most of the time we obsess over a magnifying glass and look for the stunning details that will undoubtedly leave us amazed.

The finish is certainly highly valued by many of us. We not only appreciate the beauty that comes through, but more importantly, we understand the struggles and skill required by artisans to create such stunning visual effects. A well-finished movement, in particular, takes a watch to a whole new level.

When it comes to movement finishing, there are certainly a variety of aspects that we are looking for. For luxury watches, important details include having Coasts of Geneva, beading, angle (also known as chamfering and blued screws. As we progress into the higher realms, we are also looking for other touches, such as black polishing, hand engraving, graining and more pronounced angle (usually with sharp inward and outward angles, signs of meticulous hand-finishing). Even the tiniest details, such as screws and sinks, are also not spared when it comes to such details. Our friends at Watch Affinity, in particular, had written an article briefly describing the different watch finishing techniquesand we strongly encourage new collectors to take a look.

Now that we’ve highlighted the finer details we’re looking for, we’ll now round up six watches that we think exemplify a movement with a stunning finish. What are the watches we have selected? Let us find out!

A. Lange & Söhne Datagraph

We start the article with a timepiece that changed modern chronographs: A. Lange & Söhne Datograph.

When the Datograph was launched in 1999, it took the entire industry by surprise. Here, as a relatively young brand (since its revival in the 90s), A. Lange & Söhne made its mark by creating an entirely new movement – ​​with the chronograph complication – from scratch. This was at a time when most major manufacturers were using blanks and no new in-house chronograph movements had been produced for a long time.

Typical of all A. Lange & Söhne watches, the movement is one of the strengths of its watches. The finish here is impeccable, with all the beautiful techniques present. Moreover, like all movements from this Glashütte-based manufacture, it comes with a hand-engraved balance cock.

And best of all? The legendary Philippe Dufour claimed that it was the only watch he bought, in retail, with his own money. That’s certainly praise from the highest level, and it comes from a watchmaker who is highly regarded by some as the best in the business.

AkriviA Contemporary Stopwatch

Rexhep Rexhepi probably isn’t a household name for anyone not versed in the independent watch scene, but this gentleman is quite a special talent. Touted as one of the most talented watchmakers in the industry today by Kari Voutilainen, the claims are certainly proven in full transparency with his exemplary creations.

The AkriviA Chronomètre Contemporain is one of the watchmaker’s latest collections, signed in the name of the craftsman himself. The 38mm watch is a neoclassical interpretation of the wristwatch, with a nuanced yet graceful design that features plenty of sensual curves all around. The art deco dial – which is made of great fire enamel – looks pretty nice too, especially with its contrasting scheme against the case material (black/gold on rose gold, or white/blue on platinum).

The movement, however, is where the watch really shines. The timepiece is powered by the in-house caliber RR-01, a hand-wound movement that boasts a power reserve of around 100 hours with a single barrel. We’re particularly intrigued by the symmetrical movement, which makes it a visual treat, especially when the whole package is finished to such a standard. For some, the attention to detail on the Contemporary Chronometer is practically at the top of its game – much like Philippe Dufour or Kari Voutilainen.

As mentioned, the watch is available in rose gold (CHF 55,000, or around S$77,828) or platinum (CHF 58,000, or around S$82,073). It’s one of the best in terms of finish and execution, and Rexhep Rexhepi is definitely a name to watch in the field of independent watchmaking.

Credor Eichi II

For a very long time, the art of watchmaking was dominated by the Swiss. Seiko wants to completely change the narrative, with the introduction of the Credor Eichi II.

On paper, the Credor Eichi II appears to be a simple room. But this is where it gets interesting. The level of detail on the Eichi II is incredible, with pristine touches all around. The flawless dial, for example, is made of porcelain from Noritake – whose clients include the Japanese imperial family. It is then painted by artists from Seiko’s Micro Artisan Studio.

And then we come to movement. Caliber 7R14 is the main dish of this watch, with finishing techniques performed to the highest possible standard. These techniques include convex beveling, etching, flame blued screws, angle, and linear brush finish. The movement may seem simple, but the techniques and the presence of sharp outward and inward angles highlight the dexterity and sublime craftsmanship of the watchmakers.

The 39mm Eichi II is priced at ¥4,300,000 (about S$46,395) for the platinum variant. We love the purity of this piece, with the fine details done to the highest standard. If the Japanese are looking to prove a point, they have certainly succeeded with this coin.

Voutilainen Twenty-8

When it comes to independent watchmaking, master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen has always been touted as one of the most talented people in the business. Le Vingt-8, a mainstay of the Voutilainen repertoire, highlights this point beautifully.

One of the latest variants of the Vingt-8 was launched at SIHH 2019. This particular example comes with a plain grand feu black enamel dial, unlike most other pieces which feature bright colors or guilloche patterns. The 39mm watch also features other signature touches, such as teardrop lugs and a beautifully finished movement.

About the movements, this is one aspect that Voutilainen really shines. Designed and manufactured in the Voutilainen workshop, the movement features Geneva waves, the beading, and snailing, with exterior and interior angulations, polished chamfers, screw heads and rounded balance bridge. It’s not hard to see why the brand is so beloved by many.

The Vingt-8 is priced at CHF 86,500 (about S$122,400). That’s a little steep for a time-only watch, but that’s what you have to pay for such exceptional craftsmanship. Admittedly, this watch is not for everyone. But if one is lucky enough to be able to afford it, we highly recommend this sublime watch every day.

Grönefeld 1941 Winder

The name Gronefeld may not be the first brand that comes to mind in the independent watch scene, but we believe this company – founded by brothers Bart and Tim – will be one of the industry.

One of the glimpses of the brothers’ brilliance can be seen from its award-winning 1941 winder. The watch features the remontoire complication, which allows a constant discharge of energy over the entire power reserve of the watch. This helps maintain watch accuracy, especially for watches with large mainsprings (which are known to discharge energy unevenly as they unwind).

If the complication doesn’t interest you enough, then perhaps the hand-wound Caliber G-05 will. Gronefeld chose a more modern take on her finish, with a frosted finish on her bridges. It also features nicely polished raised lips along the peripheries of the bridges, as well as nice anglesnail and black polish.

Limited to a production of 188 pieces, the 1941 Remontoire is certainly a very exclusive and rare piece. It is priced at €49,500 (about S$72,126).

Philippe Dufour Simplicity

We end today’s column with undoubtedly one of the most beautiful watches from one of the best watchmakers in the world: Philippe Dufour Simplicity.

The simplicity hardly needs any introduction. Introduced by the eponymous watchmaker in 2000, it has been widely touted as one of the best timepieces in the world. This same statement is valid until today, despite the fact that we have seen many incredible watches launched in the past two decades. Philippe Dufour’s talent and passion are unmatched, and it certainly shows in his designs and his dedication to his craft. In fact, we’re hard-pressed to find a movement – ​​which is finished by a single watchmaker – as exceptional and refined as this.

Case in 34mm and 37mm, there are said to be only around 200 simplicity (including the 20th anniversary edition which was specially produced last year). It’s very exclusive, and for good reason too – it’s extremely time-consuming and tedious to produce a single timepiece, considering the amount of work involved in production. The watch is literally in a league of its own, and we think it will hold that title for a long time.

Final Thoughts

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, today’s selection is certainly just the tip of the iceberg. There are certainly plenty of other coins that are worth enough to make the list.

However, what we have here are perhaps some of the watches that are textbook examples of what fine finishing techniques are. And these are made by some of the most accomplished watchmakers and manufacturers in the world, and they are unanimously accepted by most collectors.

Interestingly, most watches today are produced by independent watch manufacturers. Even for the Credor, it is produced by a small team of specialized artisans, in its Micro Artisan Studio. It’s proof that a good finish isn’t a simple process, and it’s a skill that only a few people have. Therefore, these watches are usually only produced in small quantities, due to the time and effort required to do so. This is also why these watches are usually offered at a higher price, at least to the high five-figure sum.

So, what do you think of our selection? Also, what are some of the watches that you think deserve a spot on this list? Let us know in the comments section below!

About Robert L. Thomas

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