Watches: Independent Watchmakers in 2013 - Part 2

By Thierry Ané on December 4, 2013

Today we continue the presentation of some of the most talented independent watchmakers and the horological beauties they have created this year. For those of you climbing on the bandwagon with this article, I suggest you also have a look at yesterday's article Independent Watchmakers in 2013 - Part 1Watches: Independent Watchmakers in 2013 - Part 1. You will surely discover or re-discover some exceptional creations that stand out by their personalities.

For those of you who read it yesterday, here is the second part of this little overview of what independent watchmakers are capable of.

Grönefeld One Hertz Techniek Nocturne

After years of extensive training in Switzerland, Bart and Tim Grönefeld returned to the town of Oldenzaal in the Netherlands where they established their workshop. In 2010 they introduced their second model called the One Hertz claiming to be the world’s first wristwatch with independent deadbeat seconds.

This year, the Grönefeld brothers introduced an openwork dial to make the One Hertz’s in-house G-02 calibre more visible than ever. Looking more technical than previous versions, the timepiece was appropriately named "Techniek", Dutch for "technical". In addition to the black One Hertz Techniek Nocturne presented here, a diurnal version simply called One Hertz Techniek is also available. I strongly encourage you to check the pictures of the back of this watch on Watch-Agora or Watches of 2013 to see how insanely beautiful the movement construction and decorations are. A truly exceptional timepiece limited to 30 pieces.

Find out more about the Grönefeld One Hertz Techniek Nocturne Black DLC Titanium

Kari Voutilainen Vingt-8R

Two years after the introduction of his first in-house movement, which powers the Vingt-8, Kari Voutilainen released its second manufacture calibre, the Vingt-8R. Based on the Vingt-8, this new movement features a power reserve indication and a hacking system for precision time-setting. Like its sibling it is designed, built, fabricated, finished and assembled in its entirety in the Voutilainen workshop located in Môtiers, Switzerland.

Crafted in German silver the dial showcases a beautiful guilloché decoration. The back of the 39 mm white gold case is open so that the movement can be admired. The mainplate and bridges are in German silver with a 4N gold plating treatment. Admirers of his watches speak emphatically about modern classicism, technical beauty and finishing.

Find out more about the Voutilainen Vingt-8R White Gold

MB&F Legacy Machine N°2

There is absolutely no need to introduce Max Büsser. He initiated the Opus series when he was working at Harry Winston and since he launched his own brand he amazes us with one extraordinary watch after another. With unusual shapes and a lot of technical skills, his Horological Machines remain the spearhead of a new type of horology that retains the essence of traditional watchmaking and transcend it in futuristic interpretations.

Last year though, he did what nobody expected from him: a round watch! The Legacy Machines as they are called are no ordinary watches though: re-imagine traditional horology. The idea is to go back in time to the era of the most famous watchmakers (Arnold, Breguet, Janvier…) and imagine what an MB&F watch would have looked like at the time.

This year the brand released the Legacy Machine N°2 platinum, also available in red gold or white gold. Unlike the 18th and 19th century pocket watches on which it is based, the two flying balance wheels floating high above the dial are linked by a planetary differential that transfers the average rates of those balance wheels to a single gear train. The hours and minutes are displayed on an off-centred white enamel dial by two blued hands above a blue sunray background. A team as usual with MB&F, this watch uses the technical knowledge of Jean-François Mojon and his team at Chronode and the talent of Kari Voutilainen for an outstanding finish.

Find out more about the MB&F Legacy Machine Nº 2 Platinum

Peter Speake-Marin Triad

British watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin is an extremely talented independent watchmaker with his personal aesthetic. We already presented the beautiful Spirit Mk II Black DLC Steel in the article about the Best All-Black Timepieces of 2013Watches: Best All-Black Timepieces of 2013. The Triad is another stunning timepiece the brand presented at Baselworld this year.

The watch features a triple hour-minute indication laid upon an open dial. The three-piece, 42-mm Piccadilly case is a hallmark of Peter Speake-Marin’s style and is presented here with a rose gold bezel. The watch is powered by the Eros 2 automatic winding movement that can be admired from the sapphire case back. Three is a number heavy with symbolism and meaning. It plays a significant role in this timepiece. Indeed, the 3 flame blued Foundation style hands rotate over 3 wheels shaped like topping tools of a watchmaker. Lastly, the golden text around the dial’s perimeter reads "3 Notes, 1 Meaning” with reference to the musical Triad.

Find out more about the Speake-Marin Triad Steel and Red Gold

Sarpaneva Korona K0 Wuoksi

On my article about the Most Poetic Moon Phase Models of 2013Watches: Most Poetic Moon Phase Models of 2013 I already presented a Korona K0 Wuoksi watch in black PVD steel. The model presented here is the same watch but with a steel case and a bronze moon. Wuoksi introduces a special skeleton dial and a revolving evening sky disc which reveals a peek of the iconic Sarpaneva moon face.

The workmanship is quite exquisite and the watches have a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that makes them eminently desirable.

Find out more about the Sarpaneva Korona K0 Wuoksi Steel

At first glance, it may seem difficult to comprehend the notion of “independent watchmaking” with a list of watches and brands as heterogeneous as the one we have just presented. Looking closely, however, one realises that all these brands have been established by actual watchmakers that are still responsible for the watches made.

In large groups, every new timepiece is the result of common inputs from people as different as those working in design, marketing or production. Any new idea in terms of design or complication must correspond to the brand’s identity or run the risk of being rejected. Independent watchmakers do not have to make many concessions during the process of creating and manufacturing a timepiece: they have the autonomy and ability to design and create everything themselves from scratch.

A watch made by an “independent watchmaker” will not necessarily be better than the creations from large groups. They will, however, reflect the personality and goals of a single person (or a little team as with MB&F collective work). This timepiece will have a story to tell and a supplement of soul. Once you become more educated in horology, independent watchmaking seems to be the road to exclusivity and uniqueness.

Additional timepiece mentioned in this article: