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“Seeing someone understand your timepiece so effortlessly was a true pleasure for me, especially after so many years preparing the launch of Winnerl. This has evolved to a direct and inspiring relationship with A Collected Man, who will be fully supporting and presenting my timepieces for watch collectors everywhere.”
“We have been very lucky to witness and speak to Zwinz about some of the unique techniques he’s developed in his workshop through years of experience. His work is truly illuminating, and his obsession with the smallest details has produced some unbelievable work. This has been a wonderful opportunity for us to champion someone who has an incredible reputation in the industry yet is relatively unknown to the rest of the watchmaking community.”
AN UNMATCHED CREATION: THE TREMBLAGE DIAL
Having run his own atelier for the best part of two decades, Bernhard Zwinz is undoubtedly a veteran of the Swiss watchmaking industry and has developed a reputation for being the person to come to when a difficult task needs to be pulled off. He has worked alongside some of the most well-known names in the independent space: Philippe Dufour, Greubel & Forsey, Roger Dubuis, Andreas Strehler, Max Busser and Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, just to name a few.
Zwinz has begun producing his own watches under his fellow countryman’s name, bringing J. TH. Winnerl's work into the 21st century. These watches are not intended to be a strict revival, but rather they translate the best details of the watchmaker’s work for a modern audience. The watches benefit not only from Zwinz's extensive expertise, but his obsessive dedication to perfection. He works alone, making this serial production all the more impressive.
Zwinz continues Winnerl's heritage even within the movement of the watch, as he remains faithful to the layout of the gear train and bridges as used by J. TH. Winnerl in his famed and highly accurate marine chronometres. A notable feature of the movement is the bowl-shaped balance wheel, which has a 45-degree slanting rim. This allows the watchmaker to adjust the inward-facing screws – a rather unusual feature – without removing the wheel from the movement. Furthermore, this unusual angle allows for more refined timing adjustments to be made.
After concluding his watchmaking studies in Austria, Zwinz worked at various well-known brands, including at the atelier of Philippe Dufour, where he spent almost four years exclusively dedicated to the finishing on the watchmaker’s Simplicity series. By honing and refining his own take of classic Swiss finishing techniques over the deades, Zwinz has elevated the hand-finished movement to a work of art.
In keeping with the style of J. TH. Winnerl’s marine chronometres, the movement is largely constructed on a three-quarter plate. However, Zwinz finishes it with mesmerising and delicately executed waves of Geneva stripes in a startlingly even pattern. The glimpse we get into the movement also displays beautiful perlage underneath the balance wheel and other parts of the movement, in addition to finely bevelled, chamfered and polished edges throughout. Each aspect of the movement is decorated, including those that will only reveal themselves to watchmakers servicing the movement through its history.
The series was named after the fascinating style of finishing found on the dial, and is derived from the French word "trembler", or “tremble” in English.
The surface texture is created by a lightly tapping a burin across the surface of the 18kt gold dial over 200,000 times, thereby creating microscopic dimples that make the dial radiate with a subtly shimmering quality when viewed as a whole. While this method may seem reminiscent of a hand-hammered dial, Zwinz elevates the style, giving the randomly placed dimples a sense of uniformity and steadiness, ensuring a beautifully even texture throughout. Each dial remains truly unique, as the dimple pattern on no two timepieces is exactly the same. Furthermore despite the fact that the back of the dial will only ever be seen by a watchmaker, it is beautifully finished with a tessellated and brushed pattern.
The construction of the dial furniture is especially fascinating as Zwinz has created everything – the black polished Roman numerals and chemin de fer minute track – from a single, contiguous piece of 18kt gold. This eliminates the need for separately applied markers, that could loosen or detach in case the watch receives a shock. These choices demonstrate Zwinz’s approach to innovation and problem-solving focus, in keeping with his pursuit of excellence and long-term thinking. The extraordinarily slender Breguet hands are delicately made from blued steel, and are yet another refined touch to the already visually rich dial.
The Marine Chronometre Connection
Joseph Thaddeus Winnerl (1799 – 1886) was an Austrian watchmaker and inventor best known for his highly acclaimed chronometres and chronographs and the invention of the first rattrapante mechanism. As head of the Paris Observatory, his precision timepieces were instrumental in helping measure the speed of light.
Before starting his own business in Paris, J. TH. Winnerl was an apprentice in the ateliers of Urban Jurgensen and Breguet. Later, the workshop he established in Paris would employ many important watchmakers, including Ferdinand Adolph Lange (founder of A. Lange & Söhne) who apprenticed there. Now with this new watch, Zwinz, a fellow Austrian separated from J. TH. Winnerl by a huge span of time, has reignited the torch, bringing the latter’s historic horological achievements back into focus.
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