Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf: My (current) predicted winner for this year’s “Best Chronograph” at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2022

When Tim and Bart Grönefeld showed me their prototype 1941 Gronograaf during Watches & Wonders 2022, I thought it was fantastic. I liked it. But I told them that I didn’t think it would win the “Best Chronograph” 2022 at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix in November because I thought that price would go to the one that will be released soon MB&F LM sequential EVOthat I had seen a few days before.

Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf

As the Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf and the MB&F LM Sequential EVO are – and I make this statement even before the top six watches in each category have been chosen – the top two contenders for this year’s GPHG Best Chronograph 2022 award, I have to First thought I’d do a one-on-one “Grönograaf vs. LM Sequential EVO Showdown”. But as I got deeper into each watch, I realized that even though both were chronographs, they were so different in virtually every aspect except wristwatches that they are incomparable.

Not only are apples and oranges different, but rather apples and bananas.

Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf

And I also realized that while I previously thought the MB&F LM Sequential EVO would win the Best Chronograph award at the GPHG 2022, I now think the Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf will win. However, not because I think the Grönograaf is a better chronograph than the Sequential (they’re second to none), but because it’s a more traditional chronograph and GPHG juries tend to be more conventional (2021 “Best Chronograph” was the Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Sports).

Tim and Bart Grönefeld are no strangers to the watchmaking red carpet: at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), they were awarded Best Tourbillon 2014 for their Parallax Tourbillon and Best Man 2016 for their Remontoire from 1941.

Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf

Here I will focus on the Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf and continue with another article on the MB&F LM Sequential EVO.

It should be noted that there are currently two versions of the 1941 Grönograaf, a limited (sold out) edition of 25 pieces with tantalum cases and an unlimited version in stainless steel (although new orders are currently on hold due to high demand). While the tantalum case is much harder (and more difficult to machine and finish) than stainless steel, the two versions are visually indistinguishable until turned over (where the etching reveals the edition) .

Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf

At first glance, the Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf appears as a traditional two-pusher chronograph of good size (40 mm in diameter), extremely well executed and relatively discreet. And it is just that: an extremely well-executed, relatively understated, traditional two-pusher chronograph. Go your way friends, nothing more to see here.

Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf on the wrist

But that unusual regulator mechanism visible at 6 o’clock on the dial offers a hint that while the 1941 Grönograaf may be traditional in appearance, it is anything but traditional when it comes to innovative features.

When a long central second hand – and chronographs usually time seconds with a long, easy-to-read central second hand – is reset, it’s like a crash test car hitting the wall. It is a sudden stop from a relatively high speed. The long needle reverberates back and forth when it stops, causing stress and component wear. It’s not the instant reset that the eye sees as this video below demonstrates.

The Grönograaf’s dial-side regulator dampens the excessive speed of the chronograph’s quick-reset, flying central hand as well as the smaller 30-minute hand, virtually eliminating the shock and wear experienced by all other chronograph movements during reinitialization (Agenhor AgenGraphe movements excepted).

Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf

Visit of the sundial of the Grönefeld Grönograaf

A counter-clockwise turn of the Grönograaf dial reveals an hour and minute sub-dial at 1 o’clock to read the time, an arc with a blue arrowhead indicating the status of the reserve 53-hour running time, a seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock. the clock, the 30-minute chronograph counter at 6 o’clock and the blued central chronograph second hand.

Regulator Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf

But the first thing that catches the eye on the dial is at 3 o’clock: this silent centrifugal regulator with its two shiny gold weights. This regulator rotates when the chronograph is reset, and when resetting the central second hand and, to a lesser extent, the 30-minute hand moves too quickly, energy is transferred to rotate these gold weights so that the chronograph hands reset to optimum speed.

centrifugal regulator

To my knowledge, all chronograph mechanisms reset the seconds and minutes using hammers striking heart-shaped cams. By pressing the reset button, two steel hammers strike with force and rotate the two cams. These cams pivot along the axis of the chronograph minute and seconds hands. It is the violent micro-shock of these hammers hitting the cams that is transmitted into the reset hands and reverberates in and around the movement that causes wear and can disrupt timekeeping.

And it is the long central second hand that bears the brunt of the shock: it oscillates frantically after its base hits a brick wall at high speed. And in other unfortunate news, the hand is usually friction fit on its post and can be loosened by micro-bumps. This is why central chronograph seconds hands are usually made as thin as possible (for low mass) while still being readable. A lighter and easier to move central second hand also means less load and wear on the movement when the chronograph is running.

Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf

Aside from the Grönograaf, the only chronograph movement I know of with a soft reset mechanism so far is the Agenhor AgenGraphe, which powers the Ming Chronograph 20.01, the Singer Track 1 chronograph and the Fabergé Visionnaire chronograph.

The AgenGraphe uses spiral springs and specially shaped cams to slow the speed of the chronograph reset hands. Tim and Bart Grönefeld decided, however, that a centrifugal governor would be both a very effective soft reset solution and add an amino visual spectacle to the dial.

Not content with offering the world’s first centrifugal-regulator soft-reset chronograph movement, the Grönefelds have also minimized wear by replacing the typically hardened steel reset hammers with synthetic ruby ​​rollers, which provide the same force but with reduced friction.

Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf

And this movement!

Looking through the rear screen, it’s easy to see that the movement is a work of art in itself. Dominated by a long, slender, arrow-shaped and mirror-polished bridge, the chronograph mechanism is presented as a three-dimensional sculpture, a work of art.

Grönefeld Caliber G-04 in-house chronograph movement visible through the back of the 1941 Grönograaf

This is the most beautiful chronograph movement I have seen since the A. Lange & Söhne datagraph and Perpetual Datograph.

Dive into the heart of the Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf movement

If money isn’t an issue, and around $160,000 is likely to be an issue for most, you still can’t buy a new Grönograaf because the Grönefelds have already stopped taking new orders until rescheduled due to demand and long waiting lists. I think anyone who moves fast and is lucky enough to wait years for their ordered Grönograaf will be more than happy to wait.

For more information, please visit–nograaf.

Quick Facts Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf
Case: 40 x 11.3 mm, stainless steel or tantalum
Movement: hand-wound G-04 caliber, side-clutch column-wheel chronograph, soft-reset mechanism with centrifugal regulator and ruby-set reset hammers; 53-hour power reserve, frequency 3 Hz/21,600 vph, variable-inertia balance-spring, 408 parts including 45 jewels, some set with gold chatons
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; chronograph with instantaneous jumping minutes counter
strap/wristband: buffalo leather, 20 mm tapering to 18 mm, steel or tantalum pin buckle matching the case
Limitation: 188 stainless steel pieces, 25 tantalum pieces
Price: €155,000 (steel); €165,000 (tantalum)
Note: tantalum edition sold out, no longer taking orders for the stainless edition

You can also enjoy:

Why I bought it: Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire

Grönefeld 1941 Winder In The Orange Watch House

Copernicus, Alignment Shift and the Grönefeld Parallax Tourbillon: a nerd story

Why the Grönefeld 1941 Remontoir won the prize for best men’s watch at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2016

Grönefeld One Hertz – A collector’s journey

About Bernice D. Brewer

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