The Independedit: Atelier de Chronométrie AdC22Borna Bošnjak
Spain may not be the first place you think of on mention of haute horlogerie, and yet it is the birthplace of one of the more underappreciated independent watch brands – Atelier de Chronométrie. Though not Spanish by name, this Barcelona outfit has been in business for nearly a decade, creating beautiful, mid-century inspired pieces powered by restored and reworked vintage movements. This year, however, brings about big change for the brand, as they introduce their first ever in-house calibre – the M284, neatly packed in a 37.5mm Calatrava-esque case. Before delving into the new Atelier de Chronométrie AdC22 and the development of the M284 movement, let’s take it back to the coffee shop where it all began.
Behind the brand
Along with being the home of Spain’s best football club (come at me, haters), Barcelona was also the birthplace of Atelier de Chronométrie. Led by a team of designer and vintage connoisseur Santiago Martínez, Barcelona watchmaking school graduates Eduard Mercadé and Moebius Rassmman, and marketing and vintage specialist Montse Gimeno, the brand introduced their first watch in 2016. Using a restored and hand-decorated Omega calibre 266, the watch was certified by l’Observatoire de Besançon, the first Spanish timepiece to be granted Observatoire Chronométre certification.
The Spanish outfit never rested on their laurels, introducing an incredible rattrapante chronograph in 2020. The AdC8 used an old Venus 185, replacing 50 of its 280 components, crafting them entirely by hand. The ARCAP copper alloy, along with all the other steel components, are superbly decorated, with sharp anglage, polishing and graining to their 18k pink-gold plating. Also notice the black-polished countersinks of the heat-purpled steel screws, while some jewels are held in place with 18k gold chatons.
Some more mainstream recognition came from their inclusion in the 2021 edition of the OnlyWatch charity auction, the AdC21OW the entrant. Once again making use of an Omega ébauche, this time the cal. 283, Atelier de Chronométrie applied their touch with some amazing internal angles, frosted plates and polished steel components. The sector/scientific pink gold dial works wonderfully against the yellow gold case, which is fabricated completely by hand – including the soldering of the lugs. The buyer clearly thought the same, paying double the high estimate, for a total of CHF 95,000.
AdC22 and M284
This brings us to the brand’s latest creation. Though it’s still a prototype, the M284 calibre lacks none of the finishing we’ve come to expect from Atelier de Chronométrie, nor does the overall design of the AdC22.
Let’s begin with the dial, however. Atelier de Chronométrie has made use of the galvanising process before, this time creating a pseudo-regulator layout with the use of a large minute track and silver hour track with applied circular indices. Intersecting the silver portion is an Atelier de Chronométrie classic, a small seconds with a railroad track, set against an azurage-finished small seconds subdial. I’m especially fond of the hands on the AdC22 as their finishing gives them a distinct three-dimensional look.
The AdC22’s proportions match the mid-century aesthetic, too. Pictured here is its stainless-steel variant, distinctly reminiscent of a Calatrava case. The polished tops of the lugs contrast the brushed stepped bezel and midcase, and the large, handmade crown sits flat against the case. At 37.5mm in diameter and only 9mm thick, the Atelier de Chronométrie AdC22 is sized perfectly to appeal to its target audience.
Though the new M284 calibre looks like so many vintage ébauches the brand has used in the past, including its 30mm diameter, Atelier de Chronométrie is proud to say it’s “built from scratch” with the help of Luca Soprana. Though his name rarely appears in the same headlines as Giroud, Coudray or Voutilainen, Signor Soprana and his Ateliers 7H38 developed Jacob & Co.’s wildest pieces, including the Astronomia and its many iterations. Slated to become the movement that features in all of AdC’s time-only pieces, the M284’s specs are also reminiscent of movements of old, comprising 19 jewels and with a power reserve of 38 hours.
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The design of the plates and bridges, and the inclusion of the swan-neck regulator controlling the slow beat rate of the large screwed balance wheel are all hallmarks of movements from decades past. The Côte de Genève on the large top plate transition from one to another in a sharp peak, interrupted only by black-polished screw and jewel countersinks – even the screws are bevelled. Especially notable is the fine anglage along the edge of the top plate, with four internal angles reflecting the rhodium plating of the entire movement.
The Atelier de Chronométrie AdC22 is a complete package. The movement and its decoration, as well as the overall design, which is faithful to its origins, show clear understanding of the space by the brand’s leadership. That being said however, its pricing of €60,000 is very high for a watch of this style, and though consistent with the pricing strategy of past AdC releases, may make it less of a compelling option, particularly when compared to more mainstream time-only offerings.
Atelier de Chronométrie AdC22 pricing and availability:
The Atelier de Chronométrie AdC22 is made to order. Price excluding taxes: €60,000 (stainless steel), €65,000 (18k gold)
|Brand||Atelier de Chronométrie|
|Case Dimensions||37.5mm (D) x 9mm (T)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel
|Water Resistance||30 metres|
|Dial||Pink and silver sector galvanised dial|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire crystals front and back|
|Strap||Brown aged leather strap, stainless steel pin buckle|
|Movement||In-house calibre M284, in collaboration with Luca Soprana, manually wound, 18,000 vph|
|Power Reserve||38 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds|
|Availability||Made to order|
|Price||€60,000 (stainless steel)
€65,000 (18k gold)