Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Wempe Chronometerwerke - Answer to Swiss Watchmaking

I had visited Hamburg for a business trip and again ended up at watch retailer Wempe. The last time I bought some Nomos watches but this time, I was determined not to lose sight of the in-house timepiece - the Wempe Chronometerwerke!

Called the Wempe Chronometerwerke, the tonneau shaped timepiece is designed by Wempe but manufactured by Nomos. What's so special about the Chronometerwerke? Well the folks at Wempe made it to exacting standards as one would expect of a chronometer. A chronometer is a precise timepiece, finely adjusted in various positions and temperatures and in the case of Wempe has proven the accuracy of its rate during a fifteen-day series of tests administered by an official timepiece-testing authority. Not only is the timepiece accurate, it is beautifully crafted too.
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The timepiece is very well made for a watch in this price category. Just under EUR4,750 (list), the watch is great value.
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As usual, I like the the blued hands and the Arabic numerals on the white dial. Proportions are nice and the timepiece comes with a stop second (hacking seconds).
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What's so special about this tonneau shaped watch on top of its accuracy? Well, Wempe designed the Calibre CW1 to fit the case. In many brands, they put round movements into tonneau or rectangular cases and if that is not bad enough, seal the case back from view.
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The CW1 is typical German Glashutte watchmaking - three quarter plate. But what is of surprise is the hand engraved balance cock for a timepiece of this price range. Timepiece also comes with 23 rubies and a swan-neck fine adjustment.
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The timepiece comes with twin barrels providing 80 hours of power reserve. I love the hand-engraved balance cock. My friend Prof Harry Tan said it well - what other watch in the market today provides such value at this price point?
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Honestly, I think this is a great value for money timepiece. Wempe has several other variations to this watch - in gold, with Roman numerals etc. But I like this one best. And I am a sucker for well done blue hands.
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As I was flying back from Hamburg to Singapore via Zurich, Switzerland I had to take a picture of this watch with the Swiss Air magazine…
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A German made watch on the way to Switzerland - home of many high end watch brands. But then again, how many watch brands in Switzerland can make a timepiece at this price point and still do so with an in-house developed movement? Not many I suppose. Well done Wempe!

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