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 www.walther-chronometerwerke.com.
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 Ranfft.de and ChristophLorenz.de.
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.
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.
|gilting the movement plate, bridges and fitting ring
|refinishing the winding wheel
|flame-blueing the screws
|machine-lathing the bezel
|fitting the bezel on the frame
|polishing the case backs
|cutting the hands
|flame-blueing the hands
|acid-etched template for the dial decal
|printing the dial decal
|fitting the dial and hands
|adding the fitting ring
|assembly of the module
|see-through case back
|final quality control
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 www.uhrendirect.de/uhren/walther-chronometerwerke.