Article contentI have been attending the Basel fair for 10 years now. I first met Marco in 2005 and hit it off with him right away. He is supremely humble, passionate about horology, and as a 5th generation watchmaker, he has no other path! His work has always impressed me, and I will be in forever grateful to a friend who initially asked me in 2005, to check him out as he had ordered a Moritz from Marco, and wanted my input and had some pertinent questions that needed answering. Marco's use of genuine enamel dials was a huge draw for me. As I'm typing this, wearing my Johann in WG, I am thrilled to call Marco a friend and very happy to finally own one of his gorgeous classical watches. Knowing his story and what he has created, makes it really compelling to have a piece of his tiny production.
I met Marco first thing on Friday morning and as he was alone in Basel this year, we spent the time right in front of the window where he displayed his gorgeous work. This year another new watch! Sporting a silver-grey solid sterling silver dial with Roman numerals, the ante-retrograde date display from last years "Konrad", but with the addition of a power reserve under the 12 o'clock position, the "Heinrich" is stunning.
The Heinrich in various poses:
What an elegant and classical watch, with Marco's brilliant Caliber V ticking inside! As a huge fan of genuine enamel dials, I am normally more keen on Marco's watches that have these, however, this new piece is very good looking, and rather sophisticated.
I do think it is the difference of Roman numerals on this piece, rather than the arabics on the Konrad. The smaller case size of the Heinrich and for that matter, the Konrad, at 39.4mm make for a very wearable watch for a broad audience.
Here is the Heinrich revealing the wonderful Caliber V. Notice the addition of a hand engraved cock in the center holding the wheels for the Dead Seconds mechanism:
Last year, the debut of the Caliber V, a new development for Marco, was well received by those few who got to see it and enjoy his work. Deviating from the traditional 3/4 plate design of his previous 3 Calibers, Marco decided on a "trigonal" bridge in order to hold the going train, which for lovers of mechanical watches is a huge bonus.
Here is the Caliber V in a RG Konrad with hinged gold back, having the possibility of being had engraved with an inscription for a gift or just one's family crest:
The "guts" of the watch are revealed far more than that of a 3/4 plate movement. The big feature for me was the "Force constant" applied to the escape wheel in the form of a remontoire, providing for a more consistent flow of power and therefore better accuracy. The Dead Seconds is too a lovely feature and one that I think brings tremendous style to a mechanical watch. One will notice the six spoked wheels, which are made of 18K gold and beautifully finished. This is why I love Marco's work, traditional and and at the same time, innovative with the ante-retrograde date.
His hugely successful and wonderfully traditional central seconds & minute register mono-pusher chronograph, the "Albert" was again on display for eager eyes.
The Albert in platinum:
The development and prototype of this movement, was executed by Marco and his apprentice Johannes Janke, who I happened to bump into while passing by Marco the following day. This was Johannes' passing grade as a master watchmaker and quite a watch it is too. Traditionally sporting an enamel dial with elongated black roman numerals, it has the minute and second hand for the chrono time centrally placed for a 60 minute counter that has the register in blue arabic 5 minute increments.
The Caliber IV beating inside, is a wonder to behold, with a column wheel, two big "200 tooth" chrono wheels in 18K gold and levers spanning almost 1/2 the movement.
I have written about this piece on several occasions in the past, and still to this day I feel it is one of the most elegant movements available from a master watchmaker. Anyone looking for a very fine chronograph would do well to consider and acquire one of these.
Across the globe aficionados have recognised Marco's talent and he has been able to sell well over 20 of these since introducing it in 2006. This might seem a very small number, but when you consider the price is around $70K and Marco's annual production probably only at 30-35 pieces a year, it is quite a large portion of his business.
The Moritz, is another of Marco's creations, with the complication at 12 o'clock showing the earth's declination, in other words, the portion of the earth facing the sun by showing the tilting of it's axis through the year. Enameled on a gold disc, the image can be had in 3 differing geographic locations, depending where the buyer prefers.
The Caliber III looks the same as the Caliber I in the basic Johann or the Freidrich August 1st, but it isn't. The pinion placement of the 2nd wheel is slightly different. Still, the 3/4 plate movement with it's shining screwed gold chatons holding the jewels is simple, traditional and elegant.