Now, I believe that the Grand Cru is many of the things I listed above, just not so sure about its versatility, but that is mainly due to its high polished case and not its design.
So let’s start off talking about the case design. For some who follow us or Sablier on Instagram, you might have seen the hashtag #winewatch being used when showing pictures of this watch. And that is because the case was inspired by a wine glass. Thicker in the middle and it gets thinner towards the top. The same can be said of some fashion or fitness models, LOL. Joking aside, the case for lack of a better word is a little bulbous, with a thinner top profile. The lugs are not welded on or attached, but are part of the case as it was machined from a solid block of 316L stainless steel. The lugs are fat and short, and not only give it a great look, but provide comfort when on the wrist as the case is not very long.
The screw down crown is located at the 2 o’clock position, and also is shaped after a wine glass, trying to match the case. While it is a screw down crown, which is great to help protect it, the Grand Cru is only water resistant to 5 atm or 50 meters. This is more of a dress watch after all.
But wait, what about the dial? Oh yeah, the dial and the crystal; the star of the watch some might say. Concave? Yes, Concave. I think you can take away a lot from the photos in the review, but some of the functions of the concave crystal are to reduce glare, and to protect the crystal from getting banged or scratched. And if you are going to have a concave sapphire crystal, it makes sense that the dial would have to be the same; the hands as well. And, not only does it have some great benefits, it flows with the wine watch theme. You see where I am going here? This watch wasn’t designed and certain elements then appeared to the owner as a “bonus”. The usefulness and design was all thought of before hand, and all came together very well.
Speaking of the hands, you might have noticed the second hand is squiggly, like a pig’s tale (or at least I saw another reviewer call it that). The reality is, it is a corkscrew, again, going along with the wine watch design. Not only does the red corkscrew second hand stand out, it makes it very easy to read against the black dial.
When it comes to the Grand Cru’s movement, its beating heart is the Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movement. I will venture to guess that most everyone is familiar with this movement, as it is the base ETA automatic movement. Even still, it is nice to see that Sablier went with a Swiss ETA as opposed to Sellita or Soprod, as they are much harder to obtain. The rotor is nicely engraved and can be seen through the exhibition polished caseback.
When it comes to actually putting the watch on your wrist, you will be glad to know that it is pretty easy, as Sablier produced a beautiful leather strap (with alligator pattern), that uses a wide dual deployant clasp, as to make it go on and off the wrist like a bracelet would.This not only saves you time in the A.M, but also greatly reduces the wear and tear on the leather strap.
Unfortunately, I cannot discuss the lume, because there is none. Now, I have said this before: lume does not make a watch, not even close. And Sablier at least did not attempt to half ass it with the lume application and it didn’t glow, they chose to not apply it. Actually, they couldn’t figure out how to apply it, at least not yet. Reason being is the concave or bent hands. If the lume paint is applied before they bend the hands, it cracks, if applied after it does not coat it properly. Sablier is trying to find a solution to this though for their next models.
Now, it may seem like I am in love with this watch. I would not go that far, though I do like and appreciate many of the practical and design elements of it. Not to mention the fact it is pretty fashionable.
But, there are always a few things I would change or can nitpick. One would be the water resistance. If you want a watch to be versatile, it should have at least 100 meters water resistance in my opinion. A brushed or blasted case finish is another. The high polish is great for dress occasions or maybe in that business meeting, but does not translate well to casual, at least not for me. I am told they are working on a DLC version, which would definitely be more casual.
Is the Sablier Grand Cru the perfect watch for me? No, it isn’t, though I am not sure I have found my perfect watch yet. And while it might not be my perfect watch, it is for the owner of Sablier Watches, and I’m sure it could be for many more. The design is inspired and classic at the same time, feels super comfortable when worn, has that luxury feel to it though it is less priced than many luxury watches using this same movement, and is hand assembled in Princeton NJ.
With all of that, I would say the Grand Cru has a lot going for it, and I look forward to seeing what else Sablier Watches comes up with. They are head and shoulders above many other start up brands in my opinion.
Thank you to Sablier Watches for providing this model for review. You can see this model, and others (different colors and dial indices) at their website below: http://www.sablierwatches.com/
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