The most recent release from the brothers Grönefeld is also their first automatic winding timepiece. Taking the name for this new release from Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia, the watch connects the macro laws of motion and gravity to the micro-machine that is a mechanical watch.
As the brothers point out in their own deck, gravity can be both friend and foe in watchmaking. While useful to attract a winding rotor to power a mechanical watch, it is also detrimental to the balance wheel/hairspring assembly. To help mitigate some of the influence, the Grönefeld 1941 Principia Automatic is fitted with a free-sprung hairspring, which is subjected to regulation in six different positions in order to achieve chronometer level accuracy.
The Grönefeld design school is definitely a ‘less is more’ affair. Potential owners can choose from a cream lacquered dial with Roman numerals or a matte turquoise dial with polished applied baton hour markers. All dials are made in solid silver and rhodium or gold plated with salmon and a cream lacquer dial that features the original logo first used by Bart and Tim's grandfather Johan Grönefeld in 1912.
Measuring 39.5mm in diameter, with a fairly slim 10.5mm profile, the 1941 case is a sculpted affair and as engaging as the movement. Inside, the stainless-steel bridges are shaped to recall the facades of Dutch 'bell gables' in reference to the brothers Grönefeld homeland.
Deeper into the mechanism the gear train shows off a Grönefeld trademark with a modern double-spoke wheel design that calls to mind a set of alloy rims on a luxury sports car. Each Grönefeld is finished and assembled by hand and carries a gold plate engraved with an individual number. Each Grönefeld 1941 Principia is delivered with a high quality, double axis, watch-winder made by Bernard Favre. Prices range from $35,000 - $45,000.
iW Rating: Grönefeld 1941 Principia
Design: 8 (out of 10)
Traditional applications with a particularly elegant case.
Vetted engineering principles engaged.
Case is absolutely perfect. Movement is an amazing display of traditional finishes combined to impart a modern engineering feel.
Blued and polished lancette hands capture the light over a simple backdrop.
Although limited only by ability to produce, each Gronefeld takes a long time to produce.
New price point for the brand invites a new level of collector to the Gronefeld family.
Overall iW rating: 47 (out of 60)
IW RATING SYSTEM LEGEND