Moritz Grossmann Tremblage
The award-winning documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a meditation on dedication to craft and the constant chase of perfection across generations. What seems like a simple piece of raw fish, seaweed, and rice has had more attention given to just its rice, what seems like the simplest of details, than all of Benihana’s menu. It must be cooked within .1 of a degree, vinegared at just the right point, and hand-fan cooled until at precise body temperature; all to maximize to umami. The recipe of a dial may be treated with a similar respect, though, similarly, often is not. Tremblage (literally translates as trembling) is a traditional hand finishing technique in horology usually reserved for small pieces of a movement or sections dial. It requires immense skill, patience, and dedication to get right. Few have attempted a full dial in the style. There’s a level of mastery required to each hand-hammer that is simply astounding. See what I mean about rice?
The pattern is created by taking a tiny burin and tapping it, sometimes with and hammer sometimes without, well over 100,000 times across the surface. It’s a blank of German silver that’s been punched repeatedly in the face and made more beautiful; a bit like what I imagine would happen if you punched Putin 100,000 times in the face, a marvelous result. Moreover, the almost Breguet-ish numerals and tracks you see aren’t applied, they’re carved out in relief of the tremblage, all one piece of silver. It is quite the accomplishment for such a young brand as Moritz Grossmann, who have never been shy in pushing boundaries from the very start. Previously, only Lange had really carried the flag for tremblage in the Handwerkskunst line. Think of this as a more finely detailed silver Tuscan dial.
While M Grossmann are most known for the Hamatic, their manual calibres are equally competent and arguably gorgeous. Everything is in the most traditional German style, meaning silver frosted plates, characteristic white jewels with gold chatons, heat-blued screws, and hand engraved details particularly on the balancecock. If you’re wondering, the tiny button at 4 restarts the balance after the crown has been pulled out to set a time. This is to allow a more precise and efficient seconds sync, possibly the most German part about it. For only 15 years since inception (or revival, depending on how you look at it), M Grossmann are impressive on almost every metric. We look forward to what’s to come from Christine & crew with immense hope and interest, the same way Jiro Ono looks at Yoshikazu and Takashi Ono (go watch Jiro if you haven’t).
This example is fresh to market and looks barely worn. There’s minimal surface wear on the steel case and even the original blue leather strap, which does bring out the handset, is hardly aged. It comes from a well-regarded US retailer who loves an independent.