Up Close with the Zeitwinkel 082° Émail Grand Feu – Illustrating Quiet Quality

Modest in appearance but tangibly well made, the 082° émail grand feu is typical of Zeitwinkel's solid watchmaking.

The 082° émail grand feu is Zeitwinkel’s first wristwatch with a fired enamel dial, but it retains all the key elements that distinguish the brand’s watches, including the wonderfully constructed in-house movement.

Like all of Zeitwinkel’s other watches, the 082° émail grand feu is named after an angle, a nod to the company name, which means “time angle” in German. Zeitwinkel keeps the exact meaning of the numbers for each model a secret, but émail grand feu explains it all: that’s French for “great fire enamel”. That’s traditional vitreous enamel, which is actually powdered glass that’s fired in an oven to set.

Zeitwinkel 082° émail grand feu enamel dial 1

Zeitwinkel’s watches are all characterised by clean lines and simple dials, a fitting style for the stark white enamel. The numerals and markings on the dial are printed in blue to match the blued steel hands; notably the 082° émail grand feu is the first Zeitwinkel with numerals on the dial, all others have baton markers.

Simple in shape, the hands are substantial in size, with rounded edges and flat tops. They are hand-made, being polished and filed by hand (no pun intended).

Zeitwinkel 082° émail grand feu enamel dial 4

The case is a compact 39mm in diameter but 11.6mm high, giving it a sturdy appearance. Like the dial the case is simple in form, with a flat bezel and straight lugs. The only ornamentation is on the flanks: the perimeter of the case is raised and polished, while the recessed surface is sandblasted and matte, a finish that’s found on all Zeitwinkel watches.

Zeitwinkel 082° émail grand feu enamel dial 3

The key attractive of Zeitwinkel watches is the movement, and it’s no different on the 082° émail grand feu.

While the brand makes several different calibres, they form one family and have the same foundations; they look similar through the display backs. The movements were originally developed by Laurent Besse, a talented movement constructor best known for being the technical brains behind the avant-garde movement inside the MB&F HM4. They are now manufactured in-house at the company’s facility in Saint-Imier, the town best known as the home of Longines.

While the movements are Swiss made, as is the brand itself, it appears that the founders of the brand (whose identities remain a secret) are German or inclined towards German watchmaking. The clues are the style of Zeitwinkel’s movements and also the fact that the brand was registered, and is still headquartered, in Germany.

Constructed with a three-quarter plate in a style often associated with German watches, the movement has the bridges and base plate in German silver, giving it the yellow-silver look typical of the metal.

The movement inside the 082° émail grand feu is the calibre ZW0102, a large automatic movement with twin barrels and a 72-hour power reserve.

Zeitwinkel 082° émail grand feu enamel dial 5

The decoration of the movement is mostly done by hand and is exceedingly attractive for a watch at this price point. The polished bevels on the bridges are admirable, as is the black polished cap on the escape wheel cock that sits beside the balance wheel. Other fine details include the blued steel screws and gears of the automatic winding mechanism that have circular grained surfaces and bevel spokes.

Zeitwinkel 082° émail grand feu enamel dial 7

Zeitwinkel 082° émail grand feu enamel dial 6

Price and availability 

Available direct from Zeitwinkel or its retailers, the 082° émail grand feu is priced at SFr9490 including 8% Swiss tax. That’s equivalent to US$9550.

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Introducing the Vilhelm Watches Elemental, Carbon Composite, Ceramic and Titanium for US$750

The Elemental combines three novel materials in an aggressively styled watch that's priced affordably.

First launched as a crowdfunded Kickstarter project that was so successful it raised twice the target of US$50,000, the Vilhelm Watches Elemental has now entered regular production.

The first wristwatch from Vilhelm Watches, a brand conceived by a pair of Singapore watch enthusiasts, the Elemental is cushion-shaped with brawny lugs. Its most notable feature is composition of the watch case: the middle is carbon composite, the bezel is grey ceramic, while the lugs and crown guard are sandblasted titanium, a mix of materials typically found on pricier watches.

Vilhelm Watches Elemental 4

Carbon composite is made up of carbon fibre threads randomly arranged inside a polymer, giving it a marbled appearance. Sometimes called forged carbon after the process used to produce the material, carbon composite is lightweight and strong though favoured in watchmaking for its aesthetics rather than physical properties. Inside the carbon composite middle is a steel ring that holds the case back and movement, a construction typical of the material.

Initially slated to be a Miyota automatic, the movement is now a robust ETA 2824, after the project exceeded the “stretch goal” of fundraising on Kickstarter.

While some elements of the design are familiar, the Elemental is original enough to be distinctive. Notably, the design is imposing and seemingly huge, the Elemental is smaller than it looks, with short, angled lugs that sit well on smaller wrists.

Vilhelm Watches Elemental 2

Three dial colours are available, all finished in the same manner. Galvanic treated for colour, the lower dial plate is decorated with radial brushing, while the open-worked top plate is a matte black.

Vilhelm Watches Elemental 1

The Elemental is one of many crowdfunded watches to emerge of late, but manages to be different enough to appeal, especially with the low price. Like other watches in this price range the Elemental is put together in China – though the movement is Swiss – but well put together and also unusual in materials and form.

Price and availability

The Elemental is available direct from Vilhelm Watches and priced at US$749.

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