Turning the Page
Moritz Grossmann takes collectors through the looking glass with the Atum Backpage.
As the Glasshütte-based manufacture closes the book on its first decade, it looks back — quite literally — at one of its most-popular calibers — 100.1. To bring the Atum Backpage to life, the company created Caliber 107.0, a new movement that’s actually a mirror image of Caliber 100.1.
By turning the movement over and removing most of the dial, Moritz Grossmann uncovers the fine hand-finishing and distinctive details that, until now, could only be enjoyed when the watch was taken off the wrist. The spectacular highlights that are now visible include the hand-wound movement’s oversized (14.2mm diameter) balance wheel oscillating at the end of the balance cock, which has been embellished with elaborate hand engraving.
Another outstanding aesthetic detail is found on the ratchet wheel positioned near 1 o’clock. Instead of the basic finish applied to most ratchet wheels, Moritz Grossmann took the opportunity to show off its dedication to the decorative arts by adding three bands of snailing. Each one looks like a shimmering wave rippling across the metal surface. The decoration dovetails nicely with the untreated German silver 2/3 base plate below, which is finished to the same high level with beveled and chamfered edges.
POETRY IN MOTION
The new design also makes it possible to observe the unconventional kinetic dance that takes place when the watch is wound. Turning the crown rotates the crown wheel positioned at 3 o’clock, which meshes with a small intermediate wheel at 2 o’clock. Despite its size, that particular wheel plays an important role by transferring energy to the ratchet wheel in the direction needed to properly wind the mainspring barrel, which is where the watch’s energy is stored. If not for the unusual arrangement of the gear train and oscillating system, the Atum Backpage would run backward.
At the center of Caliber 107.0 is a mirror-polished bridge that focuses attention on the gear train wheels. Directly under the bridge is the hour wheel. Nearby, the minute wheel is positioned below a raised gold chaton that’s set with a white sapphire bearing — a signature design flourish found on all Moritz Grossmann watches. The small seconds hand also features a raised gold chaton, which is secured by a trio of pan-head screws. To produce the screw’s distinctive burgundy hue, each one is heated carefully to achieve a nice, even color.
The view of Caliber 107.0 from the caseback side of the Atum Backpage uncover the workings behind Moritz Grossmann’s winder and pusher system, another one of the company’s trademark features. In most wristwatches, you set the time by pulling the crown, adjusting the time, and pushing the crown back in place. However, a number of pieces produced by Moritz Grossmann take a slightly different approach, one that’s sure to appeal to many watch collectors’ obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
In the Atum Backpage, you begin to set the time by pulling out the crown. But instead of staying pulled out, the crown automatically returns back to its original position — flush with the case. This action temporarily stops movement while the minute and hour hands can be adjusted to the correct time. To restart the movement, simply push the button located below the crown.
The advantage of this design is that it’s more precise than watches that use traditional crown setting. In those watches, the minute hand has a maddening tendency to move out of position when you push the crown back into place. Not so with the Moritz Grossmann winder and pusher system, which eliminates the need to touch the crown after the time has been set. Another benefit of this design is that it reduces the opportunity for dust or water to accidently get inside the watch when the crown is pulled out, which can cause serious damage to the finely tuned caliber.
FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
Moritz Grossmann is introducing two versions of the Atum Backpage. The first is being made in rose gold with a charcoal-gray dial. The other is an 18-piece limited edition being made in platinum with a blue dial.
In its first 10 years, Moritz Grossmann has already turned traditional watchmaking on its head with the Atum Backpage. Thinking about the next 10 years is what has collectors so excited about the future of Moritz Grossmann.
Click here to view the Moritz Grossmann collection online at Cellini Jewelers.