What We Know
Watch manufacturing in China is a large trade. It is an open secret that many elements utilized in widespread watches can come from the center kingdom, together with complete watches from many well-known microbrands – and to not point out packaging, straps, and watch-related equipment.
However the Western watch world does not essentially rejoice Chinese language manufacturing in the identical approach we do Swiss, German, and Japanese manufacturing. Atelier Wen is trying to change that. The model boasts the tagline “Proudly made in China” and produces watches that mix parts of French know-how and Chinese language design motifs and beliefs. It was born when two watch-obsessed French college students – Robin Tallendier and Wilfried Buiron – have been finding out overseas in China and have been uncovered to the huge world of Chinese language horology.
Tallendier went on to serve on the French Chamber of Watchmaking in Shanghai and was later appointed to the Chinese language Horologe Affiliation. The soul of the model comes from Chinese language tradition and heritage, and two Chinese language designers, Li Mingliang and Liu Yuguan, take conventional Chinese language design motifs and re-imagine them for horological functions.
The most recent from the model is the Notion sequence, which riffs off the ever-popular chrome steel case and built-in bracelet system made widespread by Gérald Genta designs from the ’70s. Inside is an extra-thin (3.4mm, to be actual) Dandong Peacock computerized motion with Geneva stripes and beveled bridges, and the rotor is Tungsten with round côtes and black rhodium plating. In different phrases, this is not your common entry-level Seagull motion. The 40mm case and bracelet are long-established from 904L chrome steel (sure, that is the identical sort of metal that Rolex makes use of) and there is a detailed lion determine (the sort that you just see guarding the entrances to buildings in China) that was drawn by the aforementioned designers, current on the caseback.
The star of the present, nonetheless, is the guilloche dial. Each dial is made by one man, Grasp Chen, and it takes eight hours to provide a single dial. The dial colours supplied on the Notion are gray, salmon, and ice blue, and every of them is hand-turned on a rose engine that Grasp Chen long-established himself. He even holds a patent in China for his rose engine design.
Tallendier and Buiron discovered Grasp Chen by means of a mutual good friend in Beijing and approached him with the concept of custom-designing a brand new guilloche sample particularly for his or her watch, which they deliberate on making 100 examples of, at first. Grasp Chen was hesitant, as a result of previous to this, he had solely performed 10- to 12-piece orders for manufacturers in Switzerland on a contract foundation. However he agreed to the problem put forth by Atelier Wen. In consequence, he created what he calls the “Sunmao” dial that has 4 “layers” to create a way of depth. There is a lumed conventional Chinese language sample referred to as huiwen alongside the minute monitor of the dial, along with the Sunmao guilloche sample. Indices are utilized and rhodium-plated, and the palms include Swiss Tremendous-LumiNova X1.
What We Assume
On a cellphone name with Tallendier, he defined that it is usually a troublesome promote to shift the frequent perceptions within the watch neighborhood round Chinese language watchmaking. “If you strategy individuals and also you inform them it is made in China, they take a look at you and so they’ll let you know, oh, it should be a reproduction or it should be low high quality. So the rationale we created this model is to point out that, properly, no, it does not must be like that,” he stated. “There are such a lot of proficient craftsmen in China, the standard will be very nice.”
It is humorous since you’ll usually learn a standard chorus on watch boards and r/watches: “This (microbrand X) has the construct high quality of watches made in Switzerland at twice the value!” and naturally, the watches they’re speaking about are sometimes made in China (or Hong Kong, a particular administrative zone belonging to China).
Any industrialized nation with a sturdy manufacturing sector pumps out items at each the low and the excessive ends of the spectrum. And on the subject of the low finish of the spectrum, client demand has created a tradition that values simply accessible, quickly-made, disposable items. China produces a spread of products throughout that spectrum, however I continuously hear it used as a short-hand for cheaply-made items, which is strictly what Atelier Wen is combating in opposition to.
I had ample time to deal with the Notion line, and the watch has an plain attraction. There’s a lot tradition to attract from on the subject of China, and I like the best way these parts are integrated into the watch. The lumed huiwen sample on the dial is a pleasant contact. It is trite to say this, however the Notion watch is actually one which must be held to know and admire. I’ve a sense it might change a whole lot of the notion round “Made in China.”
Model: Atelier Wen
Mannequin: Notion sequence
Case Materials: 904L Stainless Metal
Dial Shade: Gray, Salmon, and Ice Blue
Water Resistance: 100m
Strap/Bracelet: 904L Bracelet
Caliber: Dandong Peacock
Capabilities: Hours, minutes, seconds
Energy Reserve: 41 hours
Jewels: 32 jewels
Pricing & Availability
Value: Pre-order value, $2,088; retail value, $2,588
Availability: April 2022
Restricted Version: Restricted manufacturing
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Study extra about Atelier Wen by visiting their web site.