Grail Watch 9.1: Moritz Grossmann and Kari Voutilainen Benu 37

Temps de lecture : 4 minutes

Here are the broad strokes on Grail’s latest collaboration with Moritz Grossmann. A 20 steel Benu 37mm watches limited edition with a ravishing untreated German silver guilloché à la main’ Kari Voutilainen dial, combined with an untreated German silver caliber 102.1 decorated with a frosted finish and full hand engraved details.

Une sélection de Shaniah Asha Gibson / @TRP, Public Relations Cabinet
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Capitalizing on German silver’s unique ability to transform in color over time, each of these watches will develop a captivating patina and eventually become a pièce unique.

Back in August 2023, we launched our six-piece limited edition Moritz Grossmann watch named “Silver Bullet,” a 37mm in diameter Benu timepiece, featuring the ravishing, hand finished three-fifth plate caliber 102.1, but with a sterling silver guilloché à main Kari Voutilainen dial made using a vintage engine-turning machine, paired with an 18K white gold case and a kudu leather strap in gorgeous anemone. However, the fact was that we had actually planned for this edition named “German Silver” to be launched at the same time.

The idea behind the Benu 37 “German Silver” was to make a watch using untreated maillechort or German silver, as it is known in English, which has been the material of choice for the most famous Saxon watchmaking houses in Glashütte. This durable copper alloy made with nickel and zinc was our choice for both the movement and the dial. However, production delays meant that the 20 dials intended for this project were almost a year late because of overwhelming demand for Voutilainen’s guilloché à main masterpieces.

Further distinguishing the Benu 37 “German Silver” from its predecessor, the “Silver Bullet,” are the cases which are made from steel, and the movements which have a frosted finish featuring handmade bevels and hand engraved details. The result are watches that begin their life all appearing visually uniform, but because of German silver’s unique capacity to patina over time, each watch will eventually become a pièce unique as the dials and movements react with the wearer and the environment to take on the signature light honey color of aged maillechort. We love the idea that the watch truly becomes symbiotic with your life journey and its visual appearance will chronicle the time you’ve spent with it on your wrist. An added bonus, thanks to the choice of steel as the case material, is that this watch is more accessibly priced than its predecessor at USD 35,300.

Now here comes the hard part — while we were able to make 20 examples of the watch, 11 of these have already been spoken for by individuals who were not able to acquire the “Silver Bullet.” This leaves nine watches available for purchase. Nine watches is not a lot, particularly when the watch is a stunning work in nuance. But before getting into the details of the Benu 37 “German Silver,” I want to take this opportunity to explain why we love Moritz Grossmann so much.

Each time we hold a Moritz Grossmann watch in my hand, we are struck by the pure straightforward beauty of the movement — the perfect expression of the brand’s eponymous spiritual father who championed the creation of “simple but mechanically perfect watches.”

Moritz Grossmann & Kari Voutilainen

Moritz Grossmann’s two collaborations with Grail Watch, namely the Benu 37 “Silver Bullet” and, the watch that we are launching now, the Benu 37 Stainless Steel “German Silver,” came about during my trip to Grossmann’s manufacture in Glashütte. There, inside a wonderfully sunlit room, we noticed a few pièce unique watches made for clients featuring dials created by Kari Voutilainen and his dial factory, Comblémine.

I’ve always loved guilloché à main or, as the English call it, engine-turned dials. It is our opinion that the most ravishing in the world are made by Kari at his factory where he has one of the greatest collections of vintage rose engine machines. When asked what our next Benu 37 could look like, we proposed something that was as clean and Zen reductionist as the Grand Feu Enamel Dial watch, but using different dial materials. For the Benu 37 “Silver Bullet,” we would create a dial from a massive piece of sterling silver. But for the second watch, we proposed a very special material that transforms in color over time — German silver. The idea reminded us of a conversation we once had with Aurel Bacs from Phillips Watches who told us, “The beauty of vintage watches is that they all started as a uniform product, but time and the beautiful effect of age results in each timepiece becoming totally unique.”

We loved the idea of time transforming what was created as part of a series into an entity that is utterly singular. But we thought to ourselves, wouldn’t it be even better if the customer could be the person that brings about this aging process himself or herself? It was when we were looking at some older examples of Moritz Grossmann’s watches and marveling at the gorgeous golden patina that German silver adopts with time that the moment of inspiration hit. To us, watches are the most wonderful objects; they require no power to run and serve you flawlessly with the energy you give by winding or wearing them. Because of this unique nature, we feel that watches enter into a symbiotic and mutually beneficent relationship with their wearer that no other object is able to achieve. It is a remarkably intimate and beautiful relationship. Then we thought, well, how great it would be if each passing moment, day, month and year transforms the watch on your wrist into one that only you will have. And so our Moritz Grossmann × Kari Voutilainen Benu 37 Stainless Steel “German Silver” is just that — a watch that is the chronicle of your life.

We are always charmed by the brand’s quirky yet mechanically efficient innovations such as the Hamitic automatic winding mechanisms. We are consistently romanced by the movements’ innately Saxon hallmarks, from the flame-treated purple screws to the gold chatons, to the Glashütte stripes on the German silver two-third plate, the sumptuously engraved balance and escape bridges and the choice of white sapphires over traditional rubies. Our sense of aesthetics is always piqued by the charm of its “tremblage” dials, an ancient hand engraving technique to decorate the German silver dial using different tools.

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