What We Know
Watch manufacturing in China is an enormous trade. It is an open secret that many parts utilized in in style watches can come from the center kingdom, together with total watches from many well-known microbrands – and to not point out packaging, straps, and watch-related equipment.
However the Western watch world would not essentially rejoice Chinese language manufacturing in the identical method 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 – had been learning overseas in China and had been uncovered to the extensive 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 newest from the model is the Notion sequence, which riffs off the ever-popular stainless-steel case and built-in bracelet method made in style by Gérald Genta designs from the ’70s. Inside is an extra-thin (3.4mm, to be precise) Dandong Peacock automated 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 original from 904L stainless-steel (sure, that is the identical sort of metal that Rolex makes use of) and there is a detailed lion determine (the type that you simply see guarding the entrances to buildings in China) that was drawn by the aforementioned designers, current on the caseback.
The star of the present, nevertheless, 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 provided on the Notion are gray, salmon, and ice blue, and every of them is hand-turned on a rose engine that Grasp Chen original himself. He even holds a patent in China for his rose engine design.
Tallendier and Buiron discovered Grasp Chen via 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 fingers comprise Swiss Tremendous-LumiNova X1.
What We Suppose
On a cellphone name with Tallendier, he defined that it is usually a tricky promote to shift the frequent perceptions within the watch neighborhood round Chinese language watchmaking. “Once you strategy individuals and also you inform them it is made in China, they take a look at you and so they’ll inform you, oh, it should be a reproduction or it should be low high quality. So the explanation we created this model is to indicate that, nicely, no, it would not need to be like that,” he mentioned. “There are such a lot of gifted craftsmen in China, the standard may 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 worth!” 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 with regards to the low finish of the spectrum, shopper demand has created a tradition that values simply accessible, quickly-made, disposable items. China produces a variety of products throughout that spectrum, however I often 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 appeal. There’s a lot tradition to attract from with regards to China, and I like the best way these parts are included 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 definitely one which must be held to know and respect. I’ve a sense it may change numerous 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
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds
Energy Reserve: 41 hours
Jewels: 32 jewels
Pricing & Availability
Worth: Pre-order value, $2,088; retail value, $2,588
Availability: April 2022
Restricted Version: Restricted manufacturing
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Be taught extra about Atelier Wen by visiting their web site.