Near the German border of the Netherlands, in the peaceful city of Oldenzaal, you will come upon a family whose lives circle around clocks. The story begins in 1912, when watchmaker Johan Grönefeld opened his workshop next to the Saint Plechelmus’ basilica. Soon after the opening he became responsible for the basilica’s tower clock’s maintenance, a duty that became his son Sjef’s after he passed. His grandchildren, Bart and Tim, were raised right next to Oldenzaal’s clock, and grew up to become certified watchmakers in Switzerland. Upon their return to their natal city, they took over their fathers’ workshop and turned their family business into a luxury watchmaking studio. Thus, was born Grönefeld watches: with Bart’s excellent taste in jewellery and Tim’s wit for complications, they have created watches both incredibly beautiful and complex.
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Throughout their joined career, the Grönefeld brothers have acquired a distinct seal of beauty and quality in their pieces, alongside the ever-growing complexity in their designs. Nowadays their workshop produces six exclusive models as well as bespoke pieces each more beauteous than the last; however, the jewel of the crown is definitely the 1941 Remontoire, an authentic masterpiece in movement. Named after their father’s birth year, both the watch’s case and machine are a true incarnation of art in its finest expression. The case, which can be either white or red gold, has a unique silhouette carved by specially made tools which make a fine, polished contour. The machine, on the other hand, is inspired by Saint Plechelmus’ tower clock itself, as it uses a remontoire to adequately distribute the pendulum’s force. The 8-second force mechanism gives the 1941 Remontoire a superior precision as well as an impressive energy reserve, which can last for up to 35 hours without slowing its pace.
Over the machinery, a solid sterling silver face is placed supported by three quadrant feet instead of the traditional two to give it superior stability when in movement. A series of faceted carvings create a beautiful visual game of depth, and finally, two wondrous flame-blued steel hands complete the fine watch’s iconic image. In the back of the case a surprise awaits: instead of a metal underside, a beautiful skeleton movement dances before your eyes through a crystal-clear cover. Each small component is hand-finished to guarantee the highest quality, and the stainless-steel bridges reminisce of traditional Netherlands houses. These watchmaking jewels are highly exclusive: the 1941 Remontoire is limited to 188 pieces in the whole world, each with bespoke finishes to its owner’s liking, and are a seal of exquisite taste for refined, artisanal craft.
In a region filled with history, with great talent and dedication, the Grönefeld brothers set high their family’s and region’s names in the world of haute horlogerie. From their amalgam of wit and beauty come out charming designs, perfect from every angle and filled with personality. Grönefeld’s watches are a statement of style and fine making, and their legacy will soon undoubtedly become a benchmark for the future of their art and passion.