Grieb & Benzinger, a German company located in Schloss Dätzingen, Grafenau, near Stuttgart, specialize in superbly-finished bespoke watches, often with decoration commissioned specifically by the client. An example of a recent commission is the Pharos Al Arab Imperial, made for a collector in the United Arab Emirates.
The client probably specified the Arabian Sea and the sunlight as inspirations, and Grieb & Benzinger achieved this with a blue-coated dial with guilloché finish that reflects light with an ever-changing shimmer. The sun comes in the form of the rose gold case, and the 66 princess-cut diamonds set in the bezel. Minutes are shown with western-style numerals, while the hours are on the inner circle in Arabic. Seconds are shown on a subdial at 6 o’clock.
The case, 43 millimetres in diameter, houses a manually-wound movement, with all parts intricately decorated with guilloché, skeletonization and engraving. In a way, the watch’s real beauty can be appreciated from the back, through the transparent sapphire caseback. The strap is in blue alligator with rose gold buckle.
The cost of the piece is €82,000.
Grieb & Benzinger use movements made by other brands, modifying them, adding components and subjecting them all to their signature decoration. The movements are generally by the great watchmaking houses such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Ulysse Nardin, Minerva and Agazziz, often dating back to the years 1880 to 1930. On some occasions the movements that they use come from watches that are already relatively rare, such as the Grieb & Benzinger Blue Merit, a piece based on the A. Lange & Söhne tourbillon Pour le Mérite, of which just 200 were made. Grieb & Benzinger have recently announced that they were working on their own first in-house movement, due for release sometime this month, August 2014.