About the brand and the watch

This detailed description is intended to give you an idea of the long, thorny, fraught and costly road this watch and I have travelled together. A "little" adventure, since my background is not a typical one for a "watch maker", but one that arose out of my passion for mechanical watches. It took me around 7 years from the first sketches to the finished watch. The result is a very personal watch, which for me is a dream come true. I have found it enormously satisfying to be able to create something quite unique, different and novel; to make something which appeals to my sense of beauty and be able to give it material form. At many difficult moments this was always the incentive. Being able to implement my own ideas and creativity was the challenge that I was seeking.

I would like you to share in my watch! I also look forward to collaborating with you as an interested party, or even as a watch enthusiast and stimulating conversationalist, a creative and also critical thinker.

With the assistance of many experts, I believe that we are now able to offer you something rather special. My watch doesn’t have to please everyone (things that are special always arouse controversy), but the people who like it tend to be those of particular discernment who can afford themselves those little out of the ordinary pleasures of everyday life!

The original intention was simply to create a virtual (computerised) version of a new mechanical chronograph (with digital stopwatch display). As a large Swiss company got in there faster with the same idea, "only" the case remained. However, this case impressed various professionals and one case-builder felt that this watch should be built, which gave the impetus to keep going. I had already designed several other models. As the "inside" also had to fit the unusual exterior, it ended up being a column wheel chronograph. After a great deal of searching, I had the great good fortune of being able to buy up several of the coveted, but extremely rare Valjoux 72 movements (or Valjoux 724 movements with wheel set and balance for 18000 A/h). This is a top quality Swiss movement, which many collectors consider to be the culmination of mechanical chronograph manufacturing. The movements that I use are also in mint condition!

The implementation proved extremely difficult and costly. After creating hundreds of designs and amendments, I began to realise that every single detail is important and can completely change the appearance of the watch. I was ultimately able to achieve a coherent overall picture. Even the technical implementation stands up. Since I was set on realising my own designs and didn’t want these watered down by purchased components (such as "finished" cases and hands, etc.) or for it to become an "off the shelf" watch, huge costs were involved, even for such small quantities. It meant creating a similar number of tools as for much larger-scale production. This watch, even though it is only produced in small quantities, requires a great deal of time and effort. As all the components are newly made specially and exclusively for René Kriegbaum, and the movement is finished by hand, it explains why it has turned out to be a reasonably priced but not a cheap watch. The extremely high proportion of manual labour required to refine the movement and the hand engravings, no two of which are alike, also make each watch a unique piece, whose production recalls the "good old days" when every watch was made individually.

....everything's a little different, but it still brings back memories .....

The design of the watch is not mine alone. Important suggestions and even downright "preferences" referred me to old measuring instruments and mechanical devices. This explains why, even though it does not copy other watches, the watch recalls the old in the positive sense. The clarity of the dial and its reduction to essentials complements the sleek glass bezel and it all goes to create the desired effect of a (time-) measuring instrument. It was also important for me to demonstrate that really nice things existed, even before the word design was invented.

A note on the photographs: apart from the photographs of the watch with the black, brushed case, off-white dial and blued hands, and the watch with the polished case and black-silver dial, all the other photographs are of 'dummy' watches. This means that it was not always possible to show the precise hand setting and positioning of the dial because there was no movement.

....everything a little different....

The idea was not to set out to make the watch look different, but the difference and therefore its originality arose during the course of development. The movement - in itself something special - did not have the usual detailing such as stripe decorations and perlage but also has a unique character. Here too I was given suggestions. I can’t get enough of old gilded pocket watch movements with polished screws, wheels and levers, and I wanted my own handiwork to recall the principles of those old beauties. Each movement is individually taken apart completely, finished (refined), cleaned and oiled again (after a long period in storage the oil must be replaced, even in these unused movements), then assembled, regulated and then a functional test is carried out. The movement is extended by 2 ruby layers (the metal layer in the star wheel of the star wheel transfer rocker and in the coupling wheel is replaced by rubies). For movement type 724, my movement specialist formed the hairspring into a Breguet-type hairspring (with a specially shaped terminal curve). This is also time-consuming manual work.

The following finishing was made on the movement:

  • • The steel parts (levers, springs, regulators, etc.) were provided with a flat polish* and where possible with chamfering (edge refractions). The chamfering is done freehand and then polished.
  • • The screws are also flat polished and blued on request (no extra charge). The movement fixing screws or the eccentrics will not be blued.
  • • The plates and various bridges and cocks are satined using bead blasting, the edges are polished, and the parts are then gold or rhodium plated.
  • • Conical screw holes are enlarged and polished.

* A flat polish was originally used not only to embellish the movement, but also to remove machining marks and for rust prevention. The extremely smooth surface means that the parts present a smaller surface area for oxidation. The flat polish is a very high-quality and expensive polish, made to each part entirely by hand.

The chronograph bridge, balance and pallet cocks, as well as part of the coupling, are hand engraved and rhodium-plated by Jochen Benzinger (full movement engraving upon request). Upon request, a balance wheel and a swan-neck fine adjustment/whiplash spring, hand-crafted from solid steel, are available (swan-neck fine adjustment only with Valjoux 724).

The swan-neck fine adjustment alone requires a whole day's work: sawing the steel and various filing, grinding, hardening and polishing operations. It is made virtually freehand and every swan-neck fine adjustment spring is slightly different: one of a kind. The movement assembly and the casing require a great deal of care because the black polished steel parts should not be touched, even with finger cots. All work on and embellishments to the movement (except the engraving) are performed by Volker Neureuther. The enhancements to the style and composition are performed exclusively for René Kriegbaum. As the movement is not a unified bundle, it should be noted that there may be small differences in detail from movement to movement (e.g. colour of the hairspring, shape of the balance cock, hand engraving, and possibly in the shape of individual levers and springs). By the end, the movement definitely more closely resembles an individually made item than a mass-produced product.

The "opulence" of the movement decoration contrasts with the almost plain front view. This contrast is just as intentional as the shape of the blued hands (also developed in-house), which prevent the watch appearing too "severe" and plain.

With its stainless steel case (L 316), the watch is impressive in every respect despite its simplicity and height of 13.65 mm when worn on the arm. The optically redeemed lugs and the glass bezel that arches over the cover glass make the watch stand out, also in terms of height. This impression is fully intentional and serves to further enhance the instrument function. A number of details make it clear that this is a stand-alone design, never before implemented. It is these differences that made the design, development and production so difficult. Even borrowing design features from other technical fields did not make things any easier for me and my "colleagues". Quite the opposite!

'René Kriegbaum, Column Wheel Chronograph, Stainless Steel, 3 ATM Water Resistant', and a serial number. The numbering guarantees accurate/secure identification. The lugs are individually made and inserted and have a circular cross section/profile and are hemispherically rounded at the end. The case surface is either brushed or satined and PVD blackened or polished (the very elegant-looking version). Overall, the case alone contributes to the highly distinctive look of the watch.

The blackened case does not reflect a fashion trend (my first drafts had a black case), but reinforce the impression of a measuring instrument and a classic, timeless watch.

The dial is extremely clear and provides all the information that matters in an unfussy way. The line markings also permit a reading of 1/5 of a second (corresponding to the 18000 A/h). The dial is available in different colours and styles (see technical data and details).

The hands are very fine and also skeletonized (this skeletonization requires the manufacture of other tools, an additional lavish detail). They are then flame-blued (the traditional method, not, as is usual today partially, chemically blued), polished and painted white. The hands make it possible to read all the functions at any time.

I use only high quality leather straps for the wristbands. I opted for a "simple" pin buckle, as they do not impede the view of the movement, which is always interesting (you can fully open the strap at once only with a pin buckle). Also optional for the leather straps are a concealed folding clasp, or Milanese steel strips (made of fine steel mesh) with a folding clasp (brushed and PVD blackened or polished). The pin buckle for the leather straps also displays my logo. The Milanese straps are only available without the logo. All the closure systems and the Milanese steel straps are brushed to match each case and delivered PVD-blackened or in polished steel. For your safety, I use top

As I feel it is extremely important to offer you a really professionally made product, the watch is made from high quality components, and also built and finished by professionals. In addition, extensive quality and performance tests are carried out before it is delivered to you.

All in all we have not created a watch to be hidden away, nor does it really need to be hidden away, as it stands out very positively on account of the unusual shape of the case and crown. In a word, it's also the case here of distinctiveness. I also believe that it's a very exclusive watch and not only on account of the small number produced! The wide range of equipment options mean that it is possible to create a very unique piece for you.

By the way, my watch is also perfect for women!

Despite the enormous effort involved, I'm offering the watch at an excellent price-performance ratio. Please understand that the prices quoted are fixed prices, but they have been calculated at very beneficial rates for you.

How are we able to offer the watch at such an inexpensive price given the elaborate details and manufacturing?

  • • By means of an advance payment from you: the watch is only finalised once your payment is received (in terms of finishing the movement and watch assembly). This eliminates high material costs.
  • • The watch is sold through direct sales.
  • • Advertising, yes (would not work without it, of course), but on a modest scale. Using the Internet, brochures or photographs limits the expense involved.
  • • As the name René Kriegbaum is not yet very well known, I am offering the watch at an introductory price (the watch will probably no longer be offered at such a low price later on).
  • • Also crucial regarding the price: there is no legal requirement for VAT (for small companies according to § 19 para. 1 of the UstG, Law on turnover tax)

Naturally, I also do not want to gloss over the disadvantages of this:

  • • There is no concessionaire "just around the corner", but there are, of course, the necessary contacts and service from the man who reconditioned and reassembled your movement and therefore knows it best.
  • • EA waiting period of up to around 3 months because of the elaborate movement finishing. The advantages, however, are that many more wishes can be accommodated than usual and your movement is assembled and oiled "just in time". In addition, there are even longer waiting times for "big name" products.
  • • To provide security (for all concerned!) a deposit of € 1,200 is required for the watch and the remaining amount must be paid before shipping (this point is not really a disadvantage and is general practice (see A frank word about payment in the Order information)..

This watch would never have become a reality without the help of many experts. So I would like to thank (perhaps unusually in the watch industry) everyone who has provided comments and advice, and with a great deal of patience on several occasions.

„Only by seeking the unattainable, does one achieve the attainable. Only through the impossible goal, can the possible succeed.“
Miguel de Unamuno