Atelier Wen makes the Perception worth it again with a more refined V2 Atelier Wen makes the Perception worth it again with a more refined V2

Atelier Wen makes the Perception worth it again with a more refined V2

Buffy Acacia

Keen-eyed followers of Atelier Wen will have noticed a shift that occurred over the two years following the release of the Perception. What was once a great value proposition with an incredible handmade dial had become an elusive luxury piece, evidenced by a few limited edition runs and a 50% increase in price in just over a year. Well, that left some people questioning whether they were still getting all their money’s worth. Atelier Wen has since answered with a second version of the Perception, addressing community feedback and justifying its new price point.

The case

Atelier Wen Perception V2 1

The Atelier Wen Perception’s main drawcard is always going to be its lavish guilloché dial – however, its case isn’t to be ignored. The case shape wears its Nautilus influence on its sleeve as well as the bracelet, but the silhouette has been altered and sharpened to better resemble shapes from traditional Chinese architecture, specifically roofs. It’s easy to spot once you know what to look for, as those swooping, polished bevels highlight the pagoda visuals against the contrast of the brushed surfaces. The highly-rounded bezel draws attention too with its high polish, elevating the otherwise sporty shape into a realm of sophistication.

The main change between the first iteration of the Perception and this V2 is the profile of the lugs. The angle has been sharpened from the breaking point down to the bracelet, making for a much more impactful effect. The lug-to-lug length hasn’t changed though, still suiting average wrists perfectly at 47mm. The 40mm diameter and 9.4mm thickness haven’t changed either, boasting a phenomenally slender figure for an automatic watch rated to 100m of water resistance.

The dial

Atelier Wen Perception V2 2

Of all the things you could nitpick about the Perception, the dial is not really one of them. Of course, they’re not going to be at the same level as a watch which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but considering they’ve been made by one man on a hand-built rose engine, they’re pretty much the peak of guilloché that an average consumer can hope to acquire. As a result of this, Atelier Wen is well on their way to singlehandedly reviving the art form in China, having now built more rose engines and brought in apprentices to learn under Master Cheng Yucai. It’s still unclear exactly what this means for Atelier Wen and when they might be able to increase production numbers, but it’s a powerful reminder that one brand’s passion can keep a tradition alive.

Three dial colours are available initially, the first being an ice-blue Piao that emphasises the sharpness of its guilloché texture. Next is a colour they call Ying, which appears like an ephemeral sort of grey-brown with touches of gold in its sparkle, yet remaining clean and understated. Ying is the most bewitching of the colours to me, even though the greys can get a little lost among the grey of the case. Finally, the model that we got hands-on with; the salmon dial Xia. It’s definitely more on the pink or sherbet-orange side of the salmon spectrum, feeling rich and sumptuous in a way that defies any of the sportiness the case brings in. The final change to note is a redesign of the second hand’s counterbalance, as the original hand apparently had some issues with amplitude.

The bracelet

Atelier Wen Perception V2 3

Just because the current integrated bracelet trend is a throwback to the 1970s doesn’t mean they have to be unrefined. A lot of work has gone into improving the bracelet of the Atelier Wen Perception V2, which was previously quite flat both physically and visually. Now they’ve added chamfered edges to each link which really brings out the geometric detail of the pattern and adds a lot more depth. This is partly why the lugs were redesigned too, to accommodate this improvement. There had also been complaints about the length of the clasp blade, causing discomfort on smaller wrists. Now, the clasp has a telescopic blade which brings the length down by a third when closed but still provides plenty of space when opened. The Atelier Wen logo has also been given new life on the clasp, with a more gravelly-textured background.

The movement

Atelier Wen Perception V2 4

Just like the brand’s logo on the underside of the clasp, a lot of customer feedback wanted more detailed engraving. Nowhere is this clearer now than on the Perception’s caseback, which features a richly-textured background making the dragon image truly vivid. The dragon’s mouth is a window to the Dandong SL1588 movement, which has been impressively decorated as well as regulated to +/-10 seconds per day. The 41-hour power reserve is enough for a daily wearer, and the 4Hz beat rate offers a smooth seconds sweep.

The verdict

As I noticed the prices creeping up on the previous models, I did have a suspicion that Atelier Wen might be deciding to rest on their laurels after becoming insanely popular. It’s easy to just keep bumping up the RRP of a watch when people continue to buy them, but it’s certainly not easy to overhaul your flagship model’s design. All of the extra touches they’ve added have definitely warranted the price increase now, and it’s reached a point of greatly satisfying attention to detail. The next step would have to be for Atelier Wen to release a completely new model, or give their debut Porcelain Odyssey a similar revamp…

Atelier Wen Perception V2 pricing & availability

The Atelier Wen Perception V2 is now available for pre-order from Atelier Wen’s website with a 20% deposit. At the time of writing, delivery allocations are available for March 2024 and January 2025. Price: US$3,288.

Brand Atelier Wen
Model Perception
Reference 46570588832064 (Piao, blue)
46570589061440 (Xia, salmon)
46570589094208 (Ying, grey-brown)
Case Dimensions 40mm (D) x 9.4mm (T) x 47mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Piao, blue
Xia, salmon
Ying, grey-brown
Bracelet Integrated stainless steel
Movement Dandong SL1588
Power Reserve 41 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds
Availability Pre-order for delivery in March 2024 or January 2025
Price US$3,288 (pre-order 20% deposit)