The new Grieb & Benzinger Blue Merit wristwatch seems to feature just about everything that you expect from the reputable German brand. Taking as a base the gorgeous A. Lange & Sohne Tourbillon “Pour le Merite” limited edition that was issued less than two years ago in a precious platinum body, they applied all their skeletonization and engine-turning experience to create one of the most beautiful watches that money can buy. The bad thing, it was only made as a one-off job for one of their (extremely) wealthy customers. And the good? Well, if money is not an issue, you can always order one for yourself!
Grieb & Benzinger has done it again. As usual, they took a very expensive watch, took it apart, decorated it, adjusted it, re-assembled it. Then they took it apart once again, adjusted it some more, then re-assembled it. Rinse and repeat. In fact, they spent quite a lot of time repeating the cycle in order to achieve the smoothest working of this beautifully decorated timekeeper.
As usual, this one-off is not built from scratch, but is based on another gorgeous timekeeper: the 2012 A. Lange & Sohne Tourbillon “Pour le Merite” hand-wound chronograph. Offered in a compact platinum body, this technical marvel sported Lange’s in-house L902.0 caliber that was decorated to their highest standards. The original was issued in a fairly limited edition of just 50 pieces and then put to an auction with the most expensive model selling for very impressive €248,000 (more than $340,000 at current exchange rate.)
However, it looks like some anonymous customer probably decided that the trinket was still not exclusive enough and asked Grieb & Benzinger to make it even more unique. Since G&B has made its name extensively skeletonizing and hand-decorating their timekeepers, that’s basically what they did: they took the gadget apart and skeletonized every single part of it (excluding, perhaps, only the tourbillon carriage.) The bezel, bridges, the balance cock, even the smallest gears have been extensively open-worked and engraved the German brand’s most skilled artisans.
The platinum dial of the watch (or rather what’s left of it) offers a really good look at the mechanism that powers the timepiece. Decorated in their signature “Breguet frosting” finish, the dial doesn’t offer much in terms of legibility, but you still can read the watch without putting too much strain on your eyes: the blued hands of the original were replaced with Breguet-type indicators that seem to be crafted from yellow gold. Also, the chapter ring, which is now decorated with stylized Roman numerals and has the usual “railway track” replaced with more traditional dots, is still there excluding the guesswork: something that owners of skeletonized watches are often subjected to.
Of course, such an elevated degree of craftsmanship rarely comes cheap. According to the brand’s press release, this beautiful specimen bears an impressive price tag of €385,000, which basically means a price differential that would give you the original Tourbillon “Pour le Merite” plus a fully loaded Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG S 4MATIC Coupe and you would possibly have some spare change to buy a full tank of gasoline (not that it would last for long, anyway). However, there hundreds of thousands of performance luxury coupes out there and this watch will always be one.
Photos: Grieb & Benzinger
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Grieb & Benzinger Blue Merit watch specification
Movement: Manual, caliber L902.0, constant-force fusee-and-chain transmission with planetary gearing and tourbillon, Made in Germany
Number of jewels: 31
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: No data
Movement decoration: Hand-decorated
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, tourbillon
Case material: Solid platinum
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 38.50 mm
Case height: 10.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Skeletonized, “Breguet Frost” finish, hand-decorated
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Rose gold, Breguet
Water resistance: No data
Strap: Black leather
Case back: Sapphire