Editor’s Note: A special thanks to TWL reader Dr. Jason Varzaly who supplied all the photos and helped us pen this ‘on-the-wrist’ review after he got hands-on with the One Hertz collection in Singapore.
In today’s modern world, rapid advances in mass-production technology combined with an ever-increasing focus on the bottom line have made it increasingly difficult for boutique manufacturers to survive, let alone remain competitive. Fortunately for us though it seems that someone simply forgot to mention this to two of the Netherland’s most talented independent watchmakers, Bart and Tim Gronefeld. Defying convention, the brother’s have continued to go from strength to strength since the launch of their now iconic One Hertz timepiece.
Yet, in spite of this growing popularity – the One Hertz beat out the likes of Patek Philippe and Jaeger-LeCoultre to be awarded Time Zone’s 2011 Watch of the Year – the opportunity to see one in the flesh had so far eluded me. That was until I heard the news that the Gronefelds would be accompanying fellow independent watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin on a whirlwind tour of Asia. As fate would have it I was scheduled to visit Singapore on the same weekend, and so the scene was set for my first face-to-face meeting with the One Hertz.
The invite-only event was held on the night of Friday, the 6th of July at the Novus Restaurant in the Singapore National Museum. Yet in spite of the upmarket location (and clientele) there was not even the slightest hint of pretension, with guests mingling freely with each other and the watchmakers we had all come to see. It may seem like somewhat of a strange observation to make but I think it important to note, as not only did I find it quite refreshing but I also felt that it added to the overall positive vibe of the evening. That being said, I think it best now to turn our attention back to the watches.
On display from Gronefeld was the One Hertz timepiece in Rose Gold, Platinum and Titanium variants, as well as a spectacular GTM-06 in Rose Gold. For now though, I only had eyes for the One Hertz. Although I had seen the piece numerous times before in magazines and online, I could not help but be immediately impressed by the attention to detail evident upon closer inspection. Things I had only read about before, suddenly took on tangible meaning. For example, the way the second counter dial becomes clear enamel as it overlaps the minute and hour dial to ensure unobstructed views, or the way that the time-display itself has been conveniently positioned at the upper right edge of the face allowing you to subtly check the time without moving your cuff.
What also struck me was the quality of construction. The One Hertz simply feels well made and robust, without being oversized or, for want of a better word, chunky. Admittedly the gold and platinum models felt a bit more substantial hanging by my side, as you would expect, however I found myself drawn to the lighter-weight Titanium model, which was particularly comfortable on the wrist, especially when coupled with the hand-sewn, alligator leather strap.
Flip the One Hertz over and you are treated to a breathtaking view of the complex movement through the sapphire exhibition case-back. Again the attention to detail is immediately evident but, much like the front, the focus is on simplicity as opposed to showmanship. Rather than trying to dazzle the viewer with elaborate patterns and the like, only select aspects of the movement are exposed, making it easier to focus on what is actually important.
The One Hertz is available in a several color variants and metals and pricing is quite reasonable, all things considered, starting from 39,900EU (approx. US$48,500) for the Titanium models, and going up to 49,500EU (approx. US$60,000) for the Red Gold model and 79,500EU (approx. US$96,650) for the Platinum model.
For those who would like a more technical explanation of how the One Hertz works please click here.
The Final Word
Overall I was extremely impressed with the quality and production of the One Hertz. It felt good on my wrist, I found it easy to set the time and wind the movement and perhaps most importantly, it was unlike anything I had seen before. I will note that I found the dials with more overtly contrasting colors, such as the Fire and Ice models, slightly easier to read however I think this is more of a matter of personal preference, as opposed to any defect in the design of the dial. All in all the One Hertz exceeded my expectations and proved to me beyond a doubt that it is more than worthy of all the attention it has been receiving.
For those who would like to learn more please visit the official Gronefeld website: www.gronefeld.nl
- Baselworld 2011 In Review: Gronefeld One Hertz
- Grönefeld One Hertz 1912 – Connoisseurs Take Note
- Grönefeld Boutique Grand Opening – Not To Be Missed!
- SIHH 2011: Day One (Part Two)
- Grönefeld Boutique Grand Opening Declared A Success!