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Johan Grönefeld. The birth of a watchmaking.

Gerhard Louis ("Johan") Grönefeld was born on 14th July 1896 in Oldenzaal. He began his career as a watchmaker in 1912. Taught by his uncle, Johan established his workshop and boutique in the shadows of Saint Plechelmus, a basilica and tower dating from 1240. He was both an exceptional watchmaker and a consummate businessman whose prowess with watchmaking tools, combined with creativity and inventiveness, earned him a glowing reputation in Oldenzaal and beyond.

Sjef Grönefeld. Following in his father’s footsteps.

Johannes Grönefeld, known locally as Sjef, was born on 5th November 1941, also in Oldenzaal. Inspired by his father, he too entered the sphere of jewellery and watchmaking. Still today, the Grönefeld family own and run the workshop and boutique on Steenstraat that Johan established. It was within the confines of their grandfather’s workshop that Bart and Tim would play as children, to the metronomic sounds of ticking clocks and watches.

Bart Grönefeld. The die was cast.

Bart Grönefeld was born in 1969. After completing his studies at the Oldenzaal technical school, Bart travelled to Rotterdam where he attended a school for watch technicians. From there, he travelled to Switzerland and trained at the world-renowned Wostep school in Neuchâtel. After leaving Wostep, the bright lights of London beckoned and Bart worked for Asprey, the prestigious jewellers. One year later, he returned to Wostep, keen to advance his understanding of complicated watches. Each day was spent working with a group of talented artisans on minute repeaters, chronographs and grande sonneries. Later, his younger brother, Tim, joined him in Switzerland at Renaud et Papi.

Tim Grönefeld. His brother’s equal.

Tim Grönefeld was born on 12th March 1972. His career would take him along a similar path to that of his older brother. After leaving the same technical school as Bart in Oldenzaal, he attended Vakschool in Schoonhoven, a vocational college for watch technicians. Tim chose to follow his older brother, and travelled to Switzerland where he was soon showing his skill as a watchmaker. It wasn't long before he was put in charge of training other watchmakers. Moreover, he was given responsibility for tourbillon and regulator escapement assembly, thus playing a key role in the quality control of complicated movements.



Key dates

Gerhard Louis ("Johan") Grönefeld was born on 14th July 1896 in Oldenzaal. He began his career as a watchmaker in 1912. Taught by his uncle, Johan established his workshop and boutique in the shadows of Saint Plechelmus, a basilica and tower dating from 1240. He was both an exceptional watchmaker and a consummate businessman whose prowess with watchmaking tools, combined with creativity and inventiveness, earned him a glowing reputation in Oldenzaal and beyond.

Sjef Grönefeld was born on 5th November 1941, also in Oldenzaal. Inspired by his father, he too entered the sphere of jewellery and watchmaking. Still today, the Grönefeld family own and run the workshop and boutique on Steenstraat that Johan established. It was within the confines of their grandfather’s workshop that Bart and Tim would play as children, to the metronomic sounds of ticking clocks and watches.

After extensive training and working abroad for major watch brands, Bart and Tim Grönefeld return to their hometown of Oldenzaal in the Netherlands, and open an atelier. Here, they carry on the tradition that their grandfather Johan Grönefeld started back in 1912.

Launch of the GTM-06, the first watch from the Grönefeld brand. The GTM-06 is the result of extensive research and development, as well as the vast wealth of experience acquired by both Bart and Tim Grönefeld during their years of developing and listening to minute-repeater mechanisms. It features the G-01 calibre and strikes on a cathedral gong that circles the inside of the case twice, providing the fullest tone achievable.

Introduction of Grönefeld’s second timepiece. The Grönefeld One Hertz is the world's first and only series wristwatch with independent dead seconds, whereby the seconds hand advances in full steps of one second instead of the usual smooth sweeping action of mechanical seconds. With the One Hertz, Bart and Tim Grönefeld revive a long-neglected horological complication and reposition it on the pedestal of high precision.

Introduction of the Parallax Tourbillion, which features a flying tourbillon with a large central seconds hand, stop seconds, a power-reserve indicator and a winding-setting function indicator. The name “Parallax” refers to the precise read-off of the central seconds hand ("parallax" is defined as the apparent change in position of an object when the observer changes his own position).

The Grönefeld Parallax Tourbillon is awarded the prestigious Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève in the Tourbillon category. An international 25-member jury, presided by former head of Christie's watch department, Aurel Bacs, selected the winning watches in each category.

Introduction of the 1941 Remontoire Constant Force, distinguished by an eight-seconds constant force mechanism to ensure a regular supply of energy to the balance wheel. From the fully-wound mainspring to the last minute of the 36 hours of power reserve, force never fluctuates with the result that amplitude and rate remain consistent, leading to superior precision.

Grönefeld wins its second GPHG award, this time in the Men's Watch category, for the 1941 Remontoire Constant Force.

Grönefeld is an exhibitor at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH).

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