The German customizers Grieb & Benzinger are at it again! Right after the introduction of their bespoke hand-crafted Grieb & Benzinger Blue Wave 18-karat rose gold monopusher chronograph, they now offer another unique timepiece for another well-paying customer: the Grieb & Benzinger Blue Sensation regulator chronograph wristwatch. Based on an antique Patek Philippe hand-wound movement that was originally built more than 120 years ago for Tiffany & Co, an American jewelry and silverware company founded in 1837, the unique timekeeper features the German brand’s signature heavily skeletonized movement, and open-worked dial. And it is also meticulously engraved on just about any surface where a skilled hand of an artisan was capable of leaving even a single dent in precious metal.
While many watchmakers are proud to equip their limited edition timekeepers with NOS calibers from the 1950s, guys from Grieb & Benzinger probably thought that that was too easy and decided to use a mechanism from 1800s. The movement in question was built by Patek Philippe in 1889 and powered pocket watches that were sold through Tiffany & Co. boutiques in 1890. Like most mechanical movements of the era, the mechanism is significantly larger than your average ETA ebauche and served as a perfect platform for the one-off that had to showcase the German artisans’ prowess when it comes to skeletonization and engraving.
Of course, by the time it was chosen to power a new masterpiece from German watchmakers, the movement needed serious cleaning and restoration.
Then more restoration, skeletonization, engraving and guilloche-work, all done by hand with countless disassembling, reassembling, adjustments and more disassembling.
According to Grieb & Benzinger‘s press release, in total the movement was reassembled more than 20 times to ensure that the device works as it should after all the necessary modifications to convert the original movement into a skeletonized regulator chronograph watch.
The result, as usual, is quite impressive.
As you can see on the photos, each and every component of the movement is meticulously reshaped and decorated by hand.
Screws are blued, wheels are engraved, bridges and plates are engine-turned. The skeletonized dial features their signature Breguet frosted finish and the baseplate is coated with platinum, which makes the watch look even more magnificent.
The dial now features three overlapping sub-dials: a small seconds display at 9 o’clock, minute counter right in the center and the hours sub-dial with bold Roman numerals on it is transferred to the 3 o’clock position.
Of course, there are two central second hands (one blued and one in rose gold to make them easier to read) because this is a split-seconds chronograph, which is capable of counting to separate events.
The 49 mm round case is made of platinum. In fact, there is so much platinum here that it tips the scales at around 165 grams!
And here comes the bad news.
The Germans plan to sell this beautiful timepiece at a price of €197,500, VAT not included.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Grieb & Benzinger, FinerTimes.com
Grieb & Benzinger Blue Sensation regulator chronograph skeletonized hand-wound watch specification
Movement: Patek Philippe caliber made exclusively for Tiffany in late XIX century, hand-wound, skeletonized, 26 jewels, flame-blued steel screws, Swiss Made
Functions: Regulator hour, minutes, split-second chronograph
Power reserve: 30 hours
Case material: Platinum
Bezel material: Platinum
Case shape: Round
Case size: 49.00 mm
Case height: No data
Numerals: Arabic and Roman
Hands: Rose-gold-plated, Blued steel
Water resistance: No data
Strap: Blue leather strap
Case back: Sapphire