J. TH. WINNERL – Chronometer maker

The three Founder’s Series wristwatches presented here celebrate the revival of the name J. TH. Winnerl, a horological master and innovator responsible for major advances in watchmaking and timekeeping. Almost forgotten by history, his chronometers were responsible for a broad array of applications, from breakthrough scientific measurements of the speed of light, the essential observation of stars, galaxies and planets, as well as civil timekeeping and the guiding of ships over the seven seas. In fact, Winnerl’s ship’s chronometers were so accurate and so well built, they were still in regular use by the French Navy in the late 1970’s, even after the regular establishment of atomic timekeeping. He is, in my personal opinion, the ultimate ‘watchmaker for watchmakers’, and it is extremely gratifying for me to present these first watches to the public, after decades of researching the man and the timekeepers he created.

Bernhard Zwinz
Winnerl’s Legacy

Founder’s series

  • Founder’s Series N<sup>o</sup> 596
  • Founder’s Series N<sup>o</sup> 597
  • Founder’s Series N<sup>o</sup> 598

Each timepiece marks the first use in a wristwatch of Winnerl’s specially designed balance wheel. Directly patterned after an example found in one of his ship’s chronometers, the unique, slanting sides of the balance wheel allows exceptionally fine regulation of its inertia. The large, Winnerl designed 3/4 plate surrounding it, would later be adopted by Adolph Lange after finishing his apprenticeship with Winnerl. This plate construction, in addition to providing great stability to the movement, also visually highlights the unique balance construction.

The versions shown here will never be repeated, even after serial production begins. The Founder’s Series represents the first steps in restoring Winnerl’s legacy to its proper place in the 21st century, and are therefore an integral part of his history.

  • Founder’s Series N<sup>o</sup> 596

    Founder’s Series No 596

    18K White Gold Case, Blue Gold Dial, Polished Steel Hands

    Movement 3/4 Plate Finished With Silver Grainage
    Diameter: 40 millimeters

  • Founder’s Series N<sup>o</sup> 597

    Founder’s Series No 597

    18K Red Gold Case, White Enamel Dial, Blued Steel Hands

    Movement 3/4 Plate Finished With Geneva Stripes
    Diameter: 40 millimeters

  • Founder’s Series N<sup>o</sup> 598

    Founder’s Series No 598

    Platinum Case, Black Enamel Dial, Polished Steel Hands

    Movement 3/4 Plate Finished With Engraving
    Diameter: 40 millimeters

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Behind the creations

(excerpt from interview for Wristwatch Magazine USA)

Bernhard, for many people, the horological history of Winnerl is rather unknown. Can you tell me more about how your interest in this 19th century Austrian watchmaker came about?

You might say the interest arose naturally after I had one of his ship’s chronometers in my hands, and learned that Winnerl originally also came from a farming family. It surprised me because there are so many parallels with my own personal story….The short version is that, like Winnerl, I am also Austrian and also left my homeland to further and deepen my watchmaking experience ‘where the action was’; in my case Switzerland and Germany. After graduating cum laude from the Technical School (section watchmaking) in Karlstein, Austria I was really hungry to learn as much as I could about haute horology and complications; …

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