The first of only six watches, the Tremblage is a masterpiece of independent watchmaking, created entirely by hand by watchmaker Bernhard Zwinz. Inspired by a 19th century marine chronometer made by J. TH. Winnerl, the watch is a brilliant tribute to the craft, with each part beautifully constructed and finished to the highest standards.
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I went on holiday to my parent’s house in Austria back in 2010 and I took my computer and started on the first sketches and construction of the Winnerl wristwatch movement. I knew I wanted the dial design to be similar to the marine chronometers because the proportions were absolutely perfect.
Once that was decided, I had to work on the movement as having the small seconds at 12 o’clock was essential and then I knew I had to also incorporate the bowl-shaped balance wheel. Having the outer ring at a 45-degree angle means that it takes up a lot of space, but gives great levels of accuracy and it is also possible to adjust without taking it out of the movement.
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For me, finishing is not only an aesthetic exercise – it is functional, and acts as a form of protection for the different parts of the movement. The beauty comes from these technical aspects that are key to all finishing, which is why I use the same techniques on the visible parts as well as those you will never see once the movement has been cased. While I was at Dufour’s atelier I learned a lot of these techniques and even managed to improve on a few.
Take my perlage technique, for example. The idea of finely executed perlage is to avoid having two perlage surfaces scrape too much over each other – as it changes the structure of the perlage effect. Normal perlage is done by creating 360-degree circles which you then have to overlap. I improved this technique by making use of boxwood. I only grind the 120 degrees which is visible once it is complete, so I am never covering part of the surface that I have already had to grind. I remember when I showed one of the first watches to a client, the first thing he did was say, “Wow, the perlage is so fantastic!”
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