Brand Watch: Fromanteel Watches

Ahasuerus Fromanteel isn’t the most well-known watchmaker in history, but the watch brand that bears his name is all the reason you need to discover this horological legend

Building any brand from the ground up is a mountainous task, but establishing yourself in the overcrowded watch world is close to mission impossible – that is, unless you have a leg up from one of horology’s great craftsmen.

A hundred years before Abraham-Louis Breguet put into place the machinations for the modern-day wristwatch, and nearly 250 years before the earliest wristwatches emerged, famed Dutch clockmaker Ahasuerus Fromanteel was revolutionising the clock in the 17th century.

First manufactured in 1660, Fromanteel’s pendulum mechanism created the most accurate clocks of the age, capable of measuring seconds, rather than the era-standard minutes. From a small workshop in Dam Square, Amsterdam – 1,000 kilometres away from the modern heart of the watch industry in Geneva – the clockmaker grew in renown to the point where he expanded his business to London and later Newcastle. His success had created the first multinational clockmakers firm in history. Rare examples of Fromanteel’s work, including this unusual ebony-bracket clock, are these days valued in the hundreds of thousands.

Should such a figure overstretch your purse strings, Fromanteel is also the namesake and inspiration behind a brand of finely crafted timepieces. Launched by founders Alfredo Silva and Martijn Van Hassel in 2009, its roots are still firmly in the Netherlands, but it now produces its affordable luxury watches in Switzerland.

The brand recently launched its first mechanical watch, the self-winding Fromanteel Pendulum (£1,099) – an affectionate nod to the pendulum mechanism that saw the Fromanteel name first come to public attention. It features an elegant Clous de Paris dial (a style of guilloche also known as hobnail), while inside there’s an ETA 2824-2 movement with a 38-hour power reserve.

For more information, see fromanteel-watches.com