WEMPE Chronometerwerke - A hidden gem for collectors?  1 Comments


During my 2013 trip to Vienna, I chanced on the Wempe store in the heart of the shopping belt in the city and despite trying to resist the temptation to step in, I could not stop going in the store to investigate the German retailer to assess their quality of service (that has operations also in New York). As with all top tier luxury watch retailers in Europe, Wempe is an agent for the top tier brands and during my visit a pleasant lady served me and was very helpful in taking out from the store windows and safe many of the models I wanted to see. I had no intention to acquire any timepieces during my visit to Vienna but she showed me something I have not seen anywhere before.

A house branded watch catalogue was given to me and I was thoroughly intrigued. After browsing through it I made the critical error of asking to see the Chronometerwerke and she happily obliged. She took out almost the whole range for me to investigate, wind and study with a loupe. I had the sinking feeling I was being cleverly sold and my resistance... well, was quite futile. The more I studied the watch, the harder it was to resist.

Wempe the retailer has become a watch brand itself. They worked together with NOMOS to develop new calibres for their watches. The Chronometerwerke really spoke a lot about Wempe's effort to be taken seriously as a watch making brand. It was extraordinarily well finished for their price point. The tourneau case design has a tourneau shaped calibre that was finished very close to the top tier Glashutte brands (where the Wempe watches are made). On the wrist this watch was perfect - as I was in the market to acquire my first non-round watch (admittedly the Reverso and Cartier tank were in contention). The Chronometerwerke comes with two barrels providing 80 hours of power reserve and manually wound with a beautifully finished three quarter plate made of German Silver that features red rubies with gold chatons and blued screws.

There were several versions of the watch and the gold cased, white dial was extraordinary but not wanting to put a huge bet on a lesser known brand, the stainless steel version was just perfect at its price point with the white dial, blued hands and arabic numbers.

The watch has grown on me even more over the months of ownership and being worn. It is discreet yet quite comfortable and handsome on the wrist. The watch represents especially good value at below S$5k (after return of VAT and retail discount). Study the image collage below (click on it for a large version) and consider - what other watch in the market today provides such value at this price point?

Postscript - Forgot to mention earlier, this watch features a wonderfully hand engraved balance cock with a swan neck adjustment. This is not usually found in watches under S$10k.

The new round Chronometerwerke Power Reserve is quite handsome and should be considered by collectors wanting an affordable and well made German timepiece. Click Here for a video of it.

For official details of this watch, visit WEMPE.DE.

- HT



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  • This is a personal blog of Harry SK Tan on all things pertaining to Horology - from watch collecting, horolography, news and developments from all over the world particularly Singapore.
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