Two years ago, I was introduced to the Glashütte-based brand Moritz Grossmann at a RedBar London event. This year, I’ve been given the keys, figuratively, to one of their flagship models for a whole month, courtesy of RedBar London. It’s quite a topsy-turvy world this watch thing. The model in question is the Benu Power Reserve, a fairly restrained piece in comparison to the more esoteric offerings from the high-end German brand.
Recently, Moritz Grossmann has delved into more outlandish dial designs such as the Skull and Singapore Summit that featured the silhouettes of the US and North Korean leaders.
My first impressions of the Benu’s dial were somewhat muted. The dial design is fairly reserved (hey now) but I gravitated towards the symmetry and balanced spacing, which eventually won me over. The slate grey dial is smooth with a step down to the running seconds subdial adding depth with rail track markers indicating each second. Surrounding the circumference of the dial is hash markings not only for the minutes but for the intervals of each minute. This wouldn’t look out of place on a chronograph, but as a time-only model, they seem rather unnecessary. I can only assume the history of chronometers inspired the inclusion of the sub-minute scale on the dial. The polished steel hands have a white insert for legibility but the ceramic material is not luminous.
If the dial had a tradition in mind, flipping the watch over sets off the fireworks. Through the sapphire case-back, you can view the uniquely engraved balance cock, broad Glashütte ribbing and snail finishing on the barrel. All rendered in German silver, the movement is a feast for the eyes. With this Jekyll and Hyde nature, I found the personality of the watch starting to come through. The white gold case adds allure and heft that elevates the look and feel above the typical stainless-steel watch case. But don’t be fooled by the 41mm diameter on the spec sheet. The curvaceous lugs and thin bezel provide a high comfort level that contours to most wrists.
With 42 hours power reserve in the barrel, the Benu will last just under 2 days running. Helpfully, the indicator sitting just below the logo assists in tracking that reserve. However, the red and white demarcation is a little difficult to ascertain whether you are in the red “danger zone” or not. What I mean by “danger zone” is not only the Kenny Loggins song, but when the barrel is at the end of its spiral and has less torque and power to drive the gears. Timekeeping is impacted with less force and starts losing considerable time until the reserve is depleted and the watch stops. With automatic watches worn regularly, this is rarely experienced but manually wound watches require intervention to turn the crown to ensure timekeeping is maintained.
The alligator strap feels high quality but a slight let down is the pin buckle connection. For some straps, a simple pin buckle fulfills the job of the securing the watch to the wrist and keeping the excess strap snug to the wrist. But for me, the act of stretching the strap to fit the pin in the hole and loop the excess through the keeper can quickly ruin the look of the strap. Creases soon appeared with my usage and the strap lost its curved shape when laid flat on a surface. Seems a shame for an expensive strap to deteriorate from regular wear.
To me, this can be somewhat avoided by having a deployant fold-over buckle where the strap is not stretched or bent to fit on the wrist. Deployant buckles can also be attached to the wrist without the risk of falling to the floor from “butterfingers”. While it is true that deployant buckles increase the bulk underneath the wrist, watches of this calibre and quality deserve the increased security and longer shelf life.
In conclusion, my time with the Benu Power Reserve from Moritz Grossmann was extremely gratifying and an immense honour. The watch I tested with the pin buckle is £35,200, but the deployant strap option is available from the manufacturer and I highly recommend this version. Check out the other dial colours and case materials for this watch as well as what else Moritz Grossmann has to offer here: https://en.grossmann-uhren.com
You can follow Ben @benjameshodges and check out @redbarlondon and @moritzgrossmann_uk