A Precision Tour de Force – Introducing the GPHG 2020 nominated Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer
Editor’s note: This is a Mind, Body & Soul review of the GPHG 2020 nominated Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer. These short-form reviews, or Mind (stats), Body (design features) & Soul (what’s special) reviews as we like to call them, are meant for those who are in a rush and wish to get their watch fix fast. For our standard reviews, please head to our detailed review section here.
What is it: The new Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer
Why: Nominated for the GPHG 2020 Awards in the “Chronometry” Category
When released: August 2020
Where: Brought to life in the present day, it advances the yesteryear master works of watchmaking legends such as Abraham-Louis Breguet, John Harrison and George Daniels
Who is it for: For the pursuers of pure chronometric pleasure, and for connoisseurs and collectors of exceptional timepieces
How does it do: The new GPHG 2020 nominated Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer brings to fruition the essential principle of the natural escapement completed by two 10-second constant-force remontoires, a work in progress started by Breguet two decades ago
Timepieces like these don’t come about too often. These are rare quests into the worlds of chronometric perfection and mechanical timekeeping accuracy, and for GPHG to recognise this is commendable.
Missing: To be completely honest, it would be out of place for me to even think about finding flaws with this. I am unfortunately, not a trained watchmaker, and all I can say is that Bernhard Lederer’s work not only seems to stem from the work of two other watchmaking geniuses, but to give credit where due, it’s a stunning of mechanical and horological art in its own right. I simply accolade it.
That said, any watch with a less than 48-hour power reserve (especially a hand-wound one) and 50m water-resistance doesn’t shine in my personal collection, and the Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer falls short in both. Also, in my own tastes, I prefer watches on deployant buckles, especially the expensive ones — this 50-piece listed edition watch costs 128’000 CHF excluding taxes — as I am kind of clumsy when it comes to putting watches on my wrist.
This is again not a direct criticism of the watch, but more of a personal taste comment.
The new GPHG 2020 nominated Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer features the hand-winding mechanical movement calibre 9012. This 39.3mm diameter and 5.98mm thick movement with double barrels, two independent gear trains, two constant-force remontoires and natural escapement with central impulses comprises of 208 components, 44 rubies, beats at the frequency of 3Hz (21,600 Vph), and offers an at-least 38-hour power reserve.
The movement has two-positions through winding stem: position 1 is the standard manual winding and position 2 is for setting the time. The satin, shot-blasted movement is immaculately finished with drawn out, diamond-beveled bridges (more on that in a bit).
The movement is encased inside a (large) 44mm diameter and (only) 12.2mm thick 18K white gold with a smooth bezel case, covered with a sapphire crystal with antireflective coating on both sides. This larger diameter helps showcase the watch’s aesthetic beauty and intrinsic clutter-free understated appeal of it, while it’s sleek side profile keeps it at home with suits.
Designed with a minimalistic approach, the slate grey sunburst open-worked dial — a bit reminiscent of the Zenith El Primero open-heart dials — shows the functions of central hours and minutes, small seconds at 8’o clock, and the view of the final part of the gear train, the remontoires and the escapement. The only other obstruction on the dial is the brand’s rather long signature at 3’o clock.
The dial also features raised beveled indices in-filled with SuperLumiNova™, and the latter also carries through onto the hybrid leaf and baton shaped white gold beveled hands.
Complementing the understated yet elegant look of the new GPHG 2020 nominated Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer is the black satin alligator strap with a white gold pin buckle.
Overall, it’s got a very stealth dress watch look going for itself, someway along the lines of the ‘less is more’ dictum.
The star of the show is definitely the movement we talked about earlier. The open-worked, symmetrical and angled architecture of the Caliber 9012 magnificently shows the skeletonized remontoire, gear-train, escapement, and the balance wheel bridges. The movement features slender geometrical shapes, and the myriad inward and outward angles, extensive polishing, microbead blasting, engraving and graining, that elevates this stunning mechanical feat to a level of its own.
A self-taught Master Watchmaker, Bernhard Lederer’s timepieces can best be defined as watches that combine age-old mastery with contemporary technical prowess.
He is known for creating bespoke pieces for collectors and connoisseurs, and also for his work on the Brazil Monumental Countdown Clock, the modern clock sculpture Trojka, the MT3 Orbital Tourbillon, the Gagarin Tourbillon, and 2016’s 100% Paramagnetic watch which features a movement with the lowest magnetic interaction rate ever achieved and is resistant to 100,000 Gauss.
To put the latter feat into context, Omega’s famed Master Chronometer & METAS-certified Caliber 8800 with co-axial escapement in watches such as the Seamaster 300M is rated for magnetic fields of around 1.5 Tesla (15000 gauss) only. Or Rolex’s Milgauss 116400, the dedicated watch to resist magnetic fields, is only designed to withstand up-to 1000 gauss.
Bernhard Lederer, an powerhouse amongst independent watchmakers, and one of the first members of the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants), has in the last three decades or so has carved out a name for himself. Simply put, the watch is a testament to the genius of its creator.
To find out more about the new GPHG 2020 nominated Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer and other Bernhard Lederer models, please head to their website here. All images unless separately specified are courtesy ©Bernhard Lederer.