Pre-Baselworld 2015: The Zeitwinkel 273° Saphir Fumé, A Low-Key Favorite Gets A Smokey Sapphire-Crystal Dial

Zeitwinkel is an under-the-radar brand that should not be under-appreciated. It's been up and running for under a decade, and it lays claim to a handful of pieces and two movements – both of which are manufacture calibers. With facilities both in Switzerland and Germany, the company's style is definitely a mesh of those found in both regions. Most importantly, Zeitwinkel is a brand that takes its time to do things right. Innovation comes in various guises, and innovating the dial is almost as important as innovating the movement behind it. With that philosophy in mind, Zeitwinkel has announced the new 273° Saphir Fumé with a sapphire crystal presentation of its hardware.

The new 273° comes in the same 42 mm stainless-steel case as the original that we covered last year. It is highly polished with a satin finished ribbon on its sides. The focus on this new model is the smokey sapphire crystal dial and superb accents of metalized galvanic coating. Every applique on the dial is metalized in rhodium. Apart from the minute markers (which are carved out and enamel-varnished) every other accent is applied. There's noticeable faceting on the lance hands and dagger hour markers, and the indicators on the power reserve are actually carved-out instead of printed. Additionally, notice the edges around the power reserve indicator and the small seconds. They're carved-out and metalized in ruthenium so that they could be matte finished, adding even more depth to the dial.

The brassy hue of this Zeitwinkel 273° has a rather industrial (even slightly steam-punk) look. If I had to coin a term for it, something like techno-Victorian might fit the bill. The Grande Lange 1 Lumen is the only other design that comes to mind when searching for this look throughout the industry, and even that's a bit of a reach.

The 273° Saphir Fumé's smokey sapphire crystal reveals the perlaged baseplate, date discs, bridges and gears of the manufacture caliber ZW 0103. It is an automatic with 72-hour power reserve. You can see close-ups of this movement in our hands-on review of the 273° in Fair-mined Gold. The plates and bridges are sculpted out of German silver, with ribbing, beveling, and satin-brushing throughout.

Overall, Zeitwinkel is a brand that is developing unique pieces for serious buyers, and one that is taking its time to carve out its niche in the watch industry. Slow and steady wins the race. The new Zeitwinkel 273° Saphir Fumé is priced at CHF 13,500.

For more information, visit Zeitwinkel online.