Historical Craftmanship

Engraving

Engraving is an art form that is as old as mankind itself. Since the first humans discovered that stones could be used as cutting instruments, they have been used to decorate jewelry and objects needed for daily use. The evolution of engraving thus began in a time prior to our conscious collective memory. Albrecht Dürer helped the art form to a new heyday in the sixteenth century with his copperplate etchings and wood carvings. Using the same tools as Dürer, Jochen Benzinger as one of the few specialists of the art of engraving creates hand-embellished masterpieces with an historical soul.

Engine Turning

Guilloché is the evolution of the royal craft known as ornamental turnery. From these turning lathes watch artists developed beautiful guilloché machines the likes of which Abraham-Louis Breguet also cut his uniquely characteristic dials. Dials guilloché by hand remain unsurpassed in terms of their noble appearance to this day; this rare, historically meaningful art form can be found in all work done by GRIEB & BENZINGER.

Skeletonizing

Skeletonizing is a method of decoration that lends ‘closed’ watch movements a new and more individualized character. Parts of the movement are removed using a goldsmith’s saw, allowing a direct view into and through the mechanical movement. A view of each of the movements is made possible thanks to a sapphire crystal case back.

Breguet Frosted Finish

Abraham Louis Breguet, one of the greatest watchmakers of all times, once again is the source of inspiration for the Frosted Finish on our dials.

Like in the late 18th and early 19th century, the dial surface is worked on using a combination of oxidation by means of an open flame as well as a special acid mixture. The result is a silvery-white surface which reminds of frost. Thus the name,  Breguet Frosting.

The ‘frost’ served as a surface sealing, protecting the dial from oxidation (tarnishing of the silver). The fascinating silver-white colour is a feast for the connoisseur’s eye which so far could never be reached, even by means of the most modern galvanic methods…

Today, the original Breguet Frost Finish is exclusively applied by Grieb & Benzinger.

Restoration

In former times, watches were made for eternity. They were passed on from father to son to grandson. In this manner, fine timepieces peregrinated through some generations of a family. But as times change, the traditions of those generations along with the knowledge of the fine handicraft a watchmaker needs to master in order to keep such watches alive also fell into oblivion.

Many of such fine watches rest unregarded and functionless in some drawer, for modern watchmakers neither have the knowledge nor the experience of manufacturing spare parts for timepieces – usually unique ones  – of this sort. This is where the fascinating work of restoration specialists begins, who perpetuate and practise exactly that ancient knowledge of watchmaker’s craft, whereby they are able to reconstruct even the tiniest lacking or defective part of an historic timepiece without any blueprint. Today, only a few well-versed watchmakers master the art of breathing life back into an historic timepiece. One of these few masters of watchmaking, whose heart beats in time with the clock frequency, is Hermann Grieb.