Watchuseek Blog

Monday, September 24, 2012

Platinum pefection: Grieb & Benzinger Blue Whirlwind 1/1 timepiece

Grieb & Benzinger introduce the Blue Whirlwind, the world’s first watch powered by a visible tourbillon movement by Patek Philippe based on a rare skeletonised tourbillon minute repeater calibre.

The rare Patek Philippe tourbillon movement came to Grieb & Benzinger’s attention thanks to a hardcore watch collector and a happy coincidence. It took more than fifteen months from first studying Calibre RTO 27 PS for it to take on its final form – without anticipating the kind of hype that this movement would create in 2011: The same movement caused a sensation as it sold within a one-off Patek Philippe Tourbillon Minute Repeater in stainless steel, donated to the Only Watch charity auction in Monaco 2011. The hammer fell at an incredible 1.4 million Euros!

This remarkable result galvanised Grieb & Benzinger into creating a breathtaking new 43mm platinum wristwatch. The fine guilloché on the plates and bridges necessitated moving original drillings by less than one-twentieth of a millimeter, and the movement needed to be carefully reassembled, adjusted, disassembled, and reassembled in order to guarantee full harmonious functioning of the large number of levers. This movement, with 336 individual components, not only includes a tourbillon, but additionally a minute repeater mechanism – making it one of the most complicated movements in the world. 

The movement was modified in true Grieb & Benzinger style; fully skeletonised, guilloché and engraved by hand. Even gear wheels were embellished with guilloché and the 12 finely guilloché bridges and cocks coated with rhodium and rose gold. There’s also an additional mysterious wheel, visible on the back, which replaces the original gold drive wheel for the tourbillon.

By hand-skeletonising the base plate, the team created the world’s first visible skeletonised tourbillon based on a Patek Philippe movement. After the skeletonisation and guilloche process, the base plate was coated with blue platinum, a signature element of every Grieb & Benzinger piece.
The skeletonised Sterling silver dial in striking regulator style was embellished with a rare Breguet frosted finish created using a method currently practiced only by Grieb & Benzinger.

These numerous intricate details take months at a time, sometimes even more than a year, until an exquiste Grieb & Benzinger Platinum timepiece has been completed.

The Blue Whirlwind will be available to just one single lucky collector worldwide able to pay the asking price of US$850,000. What price perfection?

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