Notice is an independent sponsor-free blog.

We don’t have any ties with private businesses, neither are we a wholesaler nor a reseller.

If you are a customer, an importer or a distributor and want to contact a maker or source some of the watches or parts presented here, simply follow the link to the maker’s official Website.
That link is usually featured in the first 3 phrases of the article.

Thanks you for following our reviews.

Pancho Sanza, editor

Posted in editorial | 1 Comment

The Rock Keeps on Rolling

How the cornerstone of mechanical watchmaking is finding new relevance

By R. Jay Nudds

Falling in love is never an exact science. In much the same way as thoroughly studying horology will teach you that despite the exactitude of mechanical watches and their components, you will almost certainly encounter a problem whose solution doesn’t quite make perfect technical sense, how you feel about something needn’t necessarily tally with convention.

For example, a watch might exhibit such a devastating drop in amplitude in certain positions that a purely theoretical diagnosis would suggest there is something categorically wrong with the mechanism. However, it may be possible to rectify the problem by switching the end stones – not by exchanging them for new ones, but by simply moving the dial-side jewel to the balance cock and vice versa. Does it make any sense? Not on paper, no. But that’s because, for all that science and theory, a watch is a machine unlike any other. So small are its components, they behave differently from the pieces of a larger machine. They are almost organic in their function. The relationship between the components is crucial. Of course, one should never add a fault to correct a fault, but when dealing with the microscopic tolerances of watchmaking, one must adopt a certain degree of touch and understanding that comes not with academic study, only experience. Accepting that imperfect components can exist in absolute harmony and function at an optimum level is essential to getting to grips with how watches work, and provides a neat parallel to how we as consumers form unreasonable attachments to movements that are not necessarily the ‘best’ on the market.

Most watch aficionados have a favourite calibre. It is almost inevitable that some personal experience will result in an unusual affection for a certain movement, irrespective of its technical merit or admitted obsolescence. Such leanings can come from any root: I know people who extol the virtues of the Valjoux 7750 for its revolutionary cam system, preferring it to the gracile and elegant Zenith El Primero; I have encountered many who would choose an ETA 2824 for its robustness and reliability over the far daintier 2892; and there are plenty who still hold-up the archaic Unitas 6497 for its sheer size and honesty, despite many improvements having been made in mechanical movements since its launch over half a century ago.

Unitas 6497, via Kunci Jam. Reproduced under Fair Use

Unitas 6497, via Kunci Jam. Reproduced under Fair Use.

It is my own relationship with the 6497 I am compelled to analyse, given its recent resurgence in popularity. Let’s get one thing straight: the 6497 (and the 6498 – identical but for the location of the seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock as opposed to 9 o’clock) never went away, but it endured many years in the wilderness, a mainstay unsure of its future as the industry moved away from pocket watches to focus almost exclusively on the wrist-worn variety.

The 6497/8 was designed as a pocket watch movement. It is almost comically large and, for that very reason, often one of the first movements a young watchmaker will encounter. It was the first watch I ever dismantled and reassembled as part of the bench test that ultimately earned me admission to the British School of Watchmaking. At the time, having never seen the innards of a mechanical timepiece up close, it seemed a daunting task. Looking back on it now, knowing how easily it falls together, it is hard to imagine it ever appeared small.

Not only does it go together like Lego, it is very difficult not to get it within the manufacturer’s timekeeping tolerances. As long as the hairspring – which itself is thick and almost unbreakable – is relatively flat, this tireless workhorse will operate within the generous parameters expected of it. Thumping away at a languid 18,000 bph, its structural solidarity and no-frills construction make it a reaffirming practice-piece for budding horologists and an attractive option for brands looking for consistency (however unremarkable its capabilities may be in comparison to movements operating at a higher speed).

The immense dimensions of the 6497/8 were responsible for it spending a lot of time on the outside of modern horology, looking in. Given the industry’s preference for miniaturisation, the 6497/8 was, for many years, viewed as too big for purpose. At a whopping 37.5mm across, the movement needed a case cresting 40mm (minus the crown) to be contained. It was, for a long time, simply unfashionable.

ETA 6497-1

ETA 6497-1

Furthermore, its timekeeping limitations and extremely basic construction did not correlate with the evermore demanding clients of haute horlogerie. Newfangled quirks, avant-garde materials and gimmicky complications rendered the 6497/8 a relative outcast. Recently, though, things have changed.

In light of the ever-rising bar set by increasingly well-informed customers and an explosive renaissance of brands that barely weathered the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s, it seems crazy to suggest that the time is right for the 6497/8 to come back into vogue.

Two things have happened in the industry to make a comeback possible. Firstly, and most importantly, fashion demands a return of the 6497/8. The tendency for oversized timepieces is driving-up interest in this once neglected engine. When the industry first started responding to customer demand for larger wristwatches, many brands acquiesced, but fitted their titanic timepieces with movements that were patently too small for the case. This issue was crudely circumnavigated by affixing the movement with an engorged case ring. However, when trying to cater for the dual-desire for a large case and a sapphire case back, the brands who attempted this uncomfortable fusion met with widespread criticism. One needn’t look far on the internet to find entire forum-threads dedicated to the debasement of this practice. The fact that the chosen calibre appeared lost in a case too large and incongruous for a movement of such delicacy did not sit well with the watch community. Such attempts were a naïve foray into an industry of which fashion is a far more integral part than it has ever been in the past. It was not enough to simply graft a quality movement onto a completely new design ethos. It is now accepted that a watch must be a fully-realised concept, and that all components – case, dial, movement and strap – must exist in perfect accord. A brand, no matter its prestige, can not service one need and neglect another. Quality, in this case, comes second to congruity.

For example, the oversized Panerai Radiomir Black Seal could not get away with a 2824, no matter how much better the timekeeping potential of that movement might be in comparison to the 6497/8. Shocked as I was when I first handled a Panerai Radiomir Black Seal and opened the back to find such a simple base calibre ticking away inside a timepiece costing several thousand pounds, it now makes perfect sense to me.

PAM00292 - PANERAI Radiomir Black Seal

PAM00292 – PANERAI Radiomir Black Seal

The shock I experienced was due in part to the cost of the 6497/8 in comparison to its often preferred successors. It is a cheap movement. Not because it is of poor quality, but simply because it is so simple and relatively easy to manufacture. It is this aspect of the 6497/8 that gives credence to the second reason why it is currently garnering such a lot of interest.

Thanks to the steady growth of the mechanical watch industry over the past 30 years, and the burgeoning widespread interest in the industry’s output, we are witnessing the foundation of many more entry-level independent brands than would have seemed possible prior to the launch of Swatch in 1983. The 6497/8 provides such brands with a go-to calibre. It is cheap, robust, incredibly easy to service (thus requiring less technical knowledge and experience to maintain) and modish like never before. Its age provides an instant heritage and its size a fantastic canvas on which to stamp the mark of a brand. Meridian, based in Norwich, have utilised this space to good effect, creating an instantly identifiable pattern now synonymous with the brand. Like it or not, such personality is crucial to carving out a niche for a start-up company. Better still is the way in which Schofield Watch Company has implemented the 6498 in their Blacklamp watch. With a case designed around the dimensions of the movement, one can forgive the standard Geneva Wave finish applied to the plates in light of the revolutionary material of the housing itself. It works because it feels whole. The movement and the case are one. There is no dead space. The Blacklamp has hit the nail on the head. It stylishly combines all the requirements of a budding brand – it loses nothing for the archaism of the movement, because it has been included so seamlessly in the design.

Schofield Blacklamp, via Gift Finder UK. Reproduced under Fair Use

Schofield Blacklamp, via Gift Finder UK. Reproduced under Fair Use

There are many more examples of the 6497/8’s rebirth, and it is likely there will are many more yet to come.

Countless purists will dismiss these watches on the grounds of the movement’s simplicity, but the industry must now cater for a more diverse range of demographics than in previous times. I for one am glad to see the 6497/8 being proudly displayed through any case back, because it reminds me of my first experience with watchmaking. Like a first love, it will forever occupy a special place in my heart. It may not be perfect, it may not feature in the watches I wear throughout my life, but whenever the thought of the movement and its rustic charms passes through my mind, it will bring a smile to my face.

Not everything in life, love and watchmaking has to make sense. It is how something makes you feel that counts. And I’m fine with it being that way.

Posted in historic designs, legacy, Unitas 649X, vintage movements | Leave a comment

The Future of English Watchmaking

By R. Jay Nudds

Last November I had the pleasure of attending a seminar hosted by Roger W. Smith in which the eminent successor to the late George Daniels put forward his thoughts, and, crucially to this discussion, feelings on the state of watchmaking in England.

Roger W. Smith, via Reploduced under Fair Use

Roger W. Smith, via Reploduced under Fair Use.

It is indisputable that the English have a storied reputation in the field of horological advancement, but quite how influential many of England’s greatest exports were, would surprise the man on the street who might think the Swiss not only wrote the book on watchmaking, but also locked it away in a Zurich safe, hidden from all eyes but their own.

No, this island, so often shunned by the industry, lacks nothing in the way of ingenuity; it is only infrastructure that lets it down. The quartz explosion of the seventies instigated a recentralisation of watchmaking. The tendrils of the industry that had reached out and touched all corners of the Western world retreated to their Swiss roots, taking with them much of the heritage of American and English brands. The ‘lucky’ ones were consumed by Swiss conglomerates; the less fortunate ceased production, their legacies consigned to the ranks of history.

For a long time the future of mechanical watchmaking was in serious doubt. Few could have predicted the resurgence of the industry spearheaded as it was by the indefatigably creative and bold mind of the late Nicolas G. Hayek. Over the past thirty years the industry has prospered, heralding a new dawn of possibility. Tough as it is for start-up brands to compete with long-established maisons, there is at least enough interest and passion in new and diverse products to sustain those who hit the market with adequate preparation, a unique selling point and a bucket-load of luck.

That it is possible for a nascent brand to enjoy success was not the message Smith intended to deliver. Smith’s seminar championed the ‘Daniels Method’ – the ability of one man to master each of the 34 individual trades needed to make a watch from start to finish. Daniels was one of a handful of men capable of such a practise, and most definitely the only Englishman in possession of the requisite knowledge. It is Smith’s belief – a belief I believe to be correct, however depressing the acceptance of the fact may be – that the future success of English watchmaking lies not in an almost certainly futile attempt to match the Swiss in terms of production quantity, rather to out-punch our Helvetian allies in the field of quality.

Roger W. Smith, No.1 Unique commision Grand Date flying tourbillon. Reproduced under Fair Use

Roger W. Smith, No.1 Unique commision Grand Date flying tourbillon. Reproduced under Fair Use.

And it is a specific kind of quality on which Smith believes the English should focus. There is so much knowledge, wisdom and experience in the horological hotbed of Switzerland, not to mention a fervent desire to keep these attributes ‘in-house’ that trying to compete in terms of modernism and material diversification would probably end in failure. Smith supports pure watchmaking. He is very much of an old school that the Swiss manufacturers seem more and more likely to neglect in favour of new techniques, radical escapement solutions and gimmicky complications that might tempt their high-rolling aficionados to add to their collections.

Smith wants English watchmakers to actually make watches. It is that simple. He freely admits the logistical nightmare that would accompany any attempt to grow the industry in such a painstaking fashion, and grudgingly concedes that help from our Swiss counterparts might be necessary, if only the offer of assistance were forthcoming.

At the end of his impassioned talk, Smith gamely fielded questions from the audience. One particularly persistent inquisitor wanted to find out Smith’s thoughts on the dial, case and hands, as his seminar had paid those components little in the way of lip service. Although acknowledging that they were indeed essential components, his disdain for those who focus on the superficial over the heart of the watch shone through. Some people, in light of the elegant beauty of Smith’s more superficial components, might think this a smokescreen, but the Isle of Man-based ingénue was adamant – watchmakers should concern themselves with the movement above all else. In his mind, beauty is more than skin deep.

But this opinion highlights a significant problem for English start-up brands. Given that the cost of tooling and the acquisition of necessary know-how to make a watch using the Daniels Method is beyond the reach of most anyone with a bank balance below seven digits or a similarly flush backer, the creation of a timepiece worthy of England’s heritage, according to Smith’s criteria, is nigh on impossible.

I do not disagree with Roger Smith. At the very top watchmaking should be all about the movement and its complications. However, I believe there to be a great deal of merit in the superficial aspects of watch construction. A recognisable case silhouette is almost enough alone to secure the longevity of a brand. A creative re-working of the visible components of a watch, with due diligence applied to perfecting that which is within the means of smaller brands with less financial clout than their storied competitors is a laudable and worthwhile pursuit.

It would be wonderful to have the ability to enter the market at the highest echelon, but it is, for most aspiring watchmakers and designers, a step too far too soon. As Smith made clear, the English must operate within a niche market; they must serve a client base that is interested in their wares, whatever the focus. Getting a foot in the door is important, and should be achieved any way possible.

It is unlikely that anyone regards a Swatch original as the greatest watch ever made, but the success of the company, based entirely on an ingenious re-imagining of a time-honoured instrument saved the industry for all of us, Smith and Daniels included. There is a place for resourcefulness in the lower strata of watchmaking, and we should not discourage small English brands from setting off with nothing but a cleverly wrought case and an eye-catching dial. Such brands cater for those with an interest in watches who may not be able to afford one of Smith’s ten-a-year timepieces. They may not be buying a handmade masterpiece, but an entry-level brand, offering an imaginatively executed product enables them to buy into the industry. If the immediate future of English watchmaking is in the hands of the designer then there is reason for optimism. Now is the time for the next generation of Smiths and Daniels, of Mudges and Harrisons to show the world what they have to offer, on whatever rung their resources might force them to start.

Only time will tell if Smith’s admirable vision of English watchmaking materialises, but until then anyone making enough noise to be heard above the storm of Swiss superiority should be leant an ear and given a helping hand.

Posted in arty, brand of origin, Isle of Man, legacy, Limited edition, made-to-order, Nobility, original designs | Leave a comment

Lessons to learn for Tiffany and the Swatch Group

In the world of luxury goods, diversification can sometimes lead to successful and lucrative license deals. But when luxury retailer Tiffany & Co. and watchmaking leader Swatch Group AG entered a partnership with the wrong expectations, it could only have led to a dead end. looks at the fine prints of the 2007 joint venture to try and understand how the two companies ended up countersuing each other, leading to a sentence in favour of the Swiss watchmaker in December 2013, and what we can learn from this whole story.

Read more in our essay Lessons to learn for Tiffany and the Swatch Group.

Posted in editorial | Leave a comment

Salon QP 2013

One man’s thoughts on a fantastic fair

Salon QP, 7-9 November 2013, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK

By R. Jay Nudds

Having had the honour of attending the recent Salon QP exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, it would be unforgivable not to comment on the many inspiring things, intriguing trends and wealth of optimism I witnessed there.

With all three floors packed-out with stalls showcasing the latest pieces from brands across the spectrum, sifting through the deluge of quality to settle on the big winners of the event seemed a daunting task. But the cream always rises to the top, and there were a few brands that impressed me the most – some for their mastery of traditional techniques, others for their daring forays into the avant-garde, a handful who had warmly embraced the bizarre and one or two for their vision and ostensible work ethic that should see their futures in a highly competitive industry secured.

There are many great things about Salon QP. As a whole, the spectacle is truly mind-blowing and presented in such an accessible manner as to stoke the imagination of the uninitiated as well as catering for the old master whom little can surprise.

As this was my first visit to the fair, I was duly awed by not only the setting – the remarkably well-appointed Saatchi Gallery – but also the organisation and hospitality of the event. The cocktail reception on Friday night was a wonderful way to relax in the company of great brands and individuals alike. Even after a long day of promoting their wares, each and every brand ambassador was fresh and enthusiastic about the products they had on display. A palpable energy filled the place. The bustle of interest imbued the atmosphere with a sense of excitement that was utterly infectious.

Although each and every brand was well-equipped to impress and inspire, there were a selection of standouts that deserve a special mention:

De Bethune

De Bethune DB28 Skybridge

It would be impossible for me not to mention De Bethune. Despite the brand being represented by retailer William & Sons at the fair, the presence of their timepieces was enough to speak volumes of the brand in the absence of an in-house expert.
One of my all-time favourite watches was on display: the DB28 Skybridge. Prior to seeing it in person, I had not realised that the lustrous blue dial, set with whatever constellation the customer chooses, was in fact fashioned from blued titanium. For anyone familiar with the material it would be difficult not to be impressed with the quality of the finish and the uniform colour achieved through the heat-treating process. I was staggered at the perfection of the dial, which although the main focal point of the watch, is not the only point of note in its construction. A beautifully executed moonphase indicator, in the form of a rotating sphere set just above 6 o’clock, and a pair of uniquely styled hands round off what has to be one of the very best examples of design on show at Salon QP.


Girard-Perregaux constant escapement

When I first heard of the constant escapement, pioneered by the La Chaux-de-Fonds-based brand, I rushed online to watch a video of its production and operation. Given the lack of modification to the Swiss Lever Escapement for centuries, the emergence of these evermore complex and inventive solutions on such a relatively regular basis is an immense privilege to behold.

In contrast to the easily mass-produced Co-axial designed by the late George Daniels and fitted in most of Omega’s new calibres, the Constant Escapement from Girard-Perregaux is a mind-melting fusion of fluked inspiration (reputedly inspired by the designer’s flexing of a train ticket), ultramodern materials and a manufacturing process so painstakingly precise and awkward as to strike the fear of God into the hearts of the irresolute.

In spite of many parts not making the grade and a production method that relies on creating the perfect atmospheric conditions in which to manipulate the silicon ‘bow’ that generates a constant force delivered to the pallet fork, Girard-Perregaux persisted and have been rewarded with a truly exceptional complication. It is notable not only for its high-level of functionality, but also its inherent beauty. Furthermore it seems to have expertly straddled the divide between modern material usage and the traditional ethos that places emphasis on the difficulty of creation. Many purists baulk at the employment of silicon due to it normally being used as a labour-efficient alternative to steel. In this case, however, Girard-Perregaux has stretched the limits of silicon, creating a unique component that is barely possible despite the molecular properties of this revolutionary material.

the Constant Escapement

It can not be said to be a shortcut. It is majestic. If this brand continues to push boundaries in this manner, the pressure their boldness will exert on their competitors will be as constant as the escapement’s delivery.


It is only in the last five years or so that Hermès has started to capitalise on its long involvement with watchmaking. Originally a leather-goods manufacturer, the company’s first foray into watchmaking occurred in the early part of the twentieth century with the production of watch straps. There exists a charming photograph of the owner’s daughter wearing a pocket watch on her wrist, by way of a specially made strap. It is believed to be one of the first examples of a woman’s wristwatch and suggests a heritage the Parisian house has only recently backed up with a serious investment in manufacture.

Hermès Le Temps Suspendu

And how they have succeeded. Hermès now boasts some serious horological clout. The release of the irreverent and philosophically attuned Le Temps Suspendu wowed the watchmaking world with its quirkiness and as a statement of intent from a brand that will always have style on its side.

I for one am excited about the future of this esteemed company, and cannot wait to see where they go next.

Konstantin Chaykin

If gimmicks are your thing, Konstantin Chaykin’s Cinema watch is the one for you. Drawing inspiration from early zoescopes, the Cinema watch sports a window at six o’clock, through which one can see the image of a horse and its rider. The complication is powered by a second barrel that must be fully wound before use. By pressing a simple button on the side of the case, the image begins to move.

Konstantin Chaykin Cinema

Konstantin himself explained to me that the image has a great deal of significance in the history of cinema that can, in fact, be traced back to a wager placed by the 8th Governor of California Leland Stanford. Stanford believed that, during its gallop, all four feet of a horse left the ground simultaneously. As the human eye alone could not be trusted in such a serious matter (made more serious still by the fact Stanford placed a bet of $25,000 against his claim) that the Governor employed photographer Eadweard Muybridge to prove him right. Muybridge succeeded by shooting the horse in motion using a row of twelve cameras set up to be triggered by the horse as it raced by. True enough, one of the photographs showed the horse ‘in flight’, and although Stanford’s detractors reputedly never made good on the bet, he won a moral victory that has now been immortalised in this most curious timepiece.

Konstantin Chaykin Cinema

Muybridge has been immortalised in this watch – his name surrounds the base of the mini zoescope he helped develop. This is not just a piece for the cinema historian; it is the first wristwatch to feature an animation of this kind and would warrant a place in any watch collector’s hoard.

Ludovic Ballouard

Ballouard were responsible for the standout piece of the show. No one watch caught my eye, engaged my mind and tickled my fancy more than the remarkable Upside Down. A truly mind-blowing watch that i elegantly restrained and mechanically dazzling. At first glance the watch appears simple, but the complexity of the custom made movement, which can be observed through a generous sapphire case back, is simply staggering. As the single hand ticks away the minutes, the hour is marked by the only digit the right way up. The second the minute hand passes twelve o’clock, the previous hours swivels upside down and the next one along flips over to signify the progress of time.

Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down

Having the chance to hold and operate this watch, to study the complication in action, was an honour. Its function, given the ludicrous level of modification needed to make it possible, is flawless. In addition, the mother of pearl dial, available alongside a plain variety, has 60 components, each set by hand with the utmost care. I came away from the fair with Ballouard’s name (and the memory of his immense physique) buzzing in my memory.

When asked what I learned over the weekend, the name of this company will be the first past my lips.


Elegance: one word is all that is needed to sum-up the latest offerings from the evermore respected German company. How Nomos manage to produce such refined in-house movements, coupled with a minimalistic style that is clearly the work of a design genius and market their wares in such a reasonable price bracket is as unbelievable as their output is beguiling.

Nomos Zürich Weltzeit

Of the watches on display, the Zürich Weltzeit model caught my eye. Disappointed as I was to find out there was a waiting list for this elegant piece, a second of it on the wrist was enough to know why. Nomos watches just work. There is no superfluous aspect to the design, nothing to clutter the piece or the wrist. Expertly machine cases, tantalisingly humble in design, make these watches comfortable and versatile. Such a watch is equally at home on a lazy Sunday as it is on the streets of Monaco. At once robust and sleek, Nomos is a brand whose name will continue to grow this side of the channel if their production continues in this vein.


The enigma that is Stepan Sarpaneva did not fail to impress me. His languid manner and cool dress sense (a tailored jacket and trainers) set him apart from some of his more eager contemporaries. But there is no need for this revered artisan to chat or coddle his fans – his watches speak for him.

It is hard by now for followers of this Finnish brand to be disappointed with its output. If you like one of the models, you will almost certainly like them all. The recurring moon face (reputedly based on Sarpaneva’s own) may well be Marmite, but for those who adore its bold simplicity, its presence cannot fail to please.

Sarpaneva Korona Harvest Moon

Sarpaneva produces clean watches, extolling the virtues of Nordic minimalism. The dials are uncluttered, often geometric canvases on which Sarpaneva’s personal playfulness abounds. The heavenly design of the case is a silhouette I imagine his competitors are kicking themselves for not conceiving first. It is simple but unique. It is everything a case should be. It does not immediately distract from the watch as a whole, but compliments the dial it frames. Basically a scalloped circle, how this case design remained unrealised until Sarpaneva produced it is beyond me. Now it is in existence it is hard to imagine any attempt at emulation not appearing a cheap imitation. The case alone is probably enough to warrant Sarpaneva the accolades he receives, but when fused with his trademark dial designs the combination in near unbeatable for its divinity.


It is fitting that the final brand to be reviewed here is home grown. Although not owning the last word on watchmaking, the still nascent brand might well have the next in the direction of English involvement in an increasingly international scene. Schofield has, in just two years, emerged from nothing to a level of visibility that is quite frankly inspiring. It is a testament to the robust and masculine design ethics, and the cleverly thought-out individualities of their products that the company has garnered so much positive press.


In the absence of a Hollywood ambassador, so often employed by mid-level companies like Omega and Tag Heuer to imbue their watches with character, it helps to have such an identifiable leader in the form of Giles Ellis and his mighty beard.

Ellis embodies the spirit of Schofield. He is not a faceless businessman or a reclusive designer – he is the type of man for whom the Schofield watches are made. It is refreshing and aspirational to see so much of a personality reflected in the final product, and for that product to be daring in its honesty and goals.

In conclusion, the event was one for the ages. A brief and illuminating conversation with QP’s editor James Gurney informed me of the progress the fair has made since its launch five years ago. There is a great deal of hope that the fair will continue to grow in size and visibility, with brands battling for exhibition space as the reputation of this wonderful event snowballs. The Saatchi gallery seems to understand exactly what they are hosting – this is not a sales event, or a pure marketing drive. No, this is an exhibition of art and the highest level of craftsmanship hosted by real life artisans. Over the days of Salon QP, there might not be another such gallery that can boast so much class under one roof. I urge you to visit next year. You will not be disappointed.

Posted in novelty, original designs, press | 2 Comments

introducing: Walther Chronometerwerke, a stepstone into the world of hand-made watches for the aspiring collector

Upon visiting the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven, Juergen Walther remained impressed by the antique nationally-produced marine clocks on exhibition. On his way home, Walther contacted his friend AHCI master-watchmaker Rainer Nienaber, to commission a one-off wrist watch inspired by the marine clocks.

The collections are presented on their official website at

WALTHER chronometerwerke, credit photo paelzzer on PhotoBucket. Reproduced under Fair Use.

WALTHER chronometerwerke, credit photo paelzzer on PhotoBucket.
Reproduced under Fair Use.

The hand-made timepiece received positive comments, and requests from potential buyers encouraged the two friends to produce it in a small series. The WALTHER Chronometerwerke was then adapted in two sizes (37.2 mm and 42 mm) and literally hand-made by Nienaber in his workshop. The master-watchmaker, who is specialized in repurposing vintage movements, took advantage of his skills to build the exclusive watch with refurbished vintage Unitas 6325 calibres.

Released by ARSA in the mide 1960’s, the 6325 was sized at 13 French lines in diameter (± 30.0 mm). It was released in two versions, respectively paced at 18,000 Alternances per hour and 21,600 A/h. The construction looks like a scaled-down version of its older brother, the Unitas 6498 which dates from the 1950’s. The reader can find more information about the 6325 at and

The Unitas 6325 in proportion with its older brother, the Unitas 6498. Left photo: credit, reproduced under Fair Use.

The Unitas 6325 in proportion with its older brother, the Unitas 6498.
Left photo: credit, reproduced under Fair Use.

For the Walther timepiece, Nienaber used the 17-jewelled, 21’600 A/h version. The movement is completely taken apart to have the plate and bridges gilt in pink gold.

The Unitas 6325 as refinished by watchmaker Rainer Nienaber. Photo credit brunemto on, reproduced under Fair Use.

The Unitas 6325 as refinished by watchmaker Rainer Nienaber.
Photo credit brunemto on, reproduced under Fair Use.

Apart from the case frame, all other components are produced or refinished in Nienaber’s workshop. The case bezel, case back and movement fitting ring are machine-turned, the dial decal is printed locally and the screws and hands are gun-blued by Rainer Nienaber’s expert hand.

walther_chronometerwerke-1_movement_plating walther_chronometerwerke-2_wheels_surface_brushing walther_chronometerwerke-3_screws_gun_blueing
gilting the movement plate, bridges and fitting ring refinishing the winding wheel flame-blueing the screws
walther_chronometerwerke-4_bezel_machine-turning walther_chronometerwerke-5_bezel_fitting walther_chronometerwerke-6_case_back_polishing
machine-lathing the bezel fitting the bezel on the frame polishing the case backs
walther_chronometerwerke-7_hands_cutting walther_chronometerwerke-8_hands_blueing_process walther_chronometerwerke-9_blued_hands
cutting the hands flame-blueing the hands gun-blue hands
walther_chronometerwerke-10_dial_decal walther_chronometerwerke-11_printed_dial walther_chronometerwerke-12_dial_fitting
acid-etched template for the dial decal printing the dial decal fitting the dial and hands
walther_chronometerwerke-13_fitting_ring walther_chronometerwerke-14_assembly walther_chronometerwerke-15_fine-tuning
adding the fitting ring assembly of the module fine-tuning
walther_chronometerwerke-16_case_back walther_chronometerwerke-17_terminage_2 walther_chronometerwerke-18_terminage_3
see-through case back final quality control strap fitting

In the writer’s opinion: the Unitas 6325 was never used in high-end watches, but it benefits from a sturdy and reliable architecture. The watch’s inspiration from German marine clocks makes the Walther look very similar to the Chronoswiss Orea. The absence of Geneva stripes on the bridges and the presence of an industrial “tile” pattern might not be to the taste of everyone, but keeping in mind that this watch is almost entirely built by hand by one of the world’s finest watchmakers leaved little doubt as to the great value for money it represents.

The 42 mm models are completely sold out, but the 37.2 mm (available with the stock bridge pattern at EUR 1429.00 and with a custom patter at EUR 1749.00) can be purchased online at

Posted in arty, assembler, brand of origin, historic designs, legacy, Limited edition, Nobility, original designs, restoration, Unitas 6325, vintage movements | 1 Comment