After previously showing you that enamel dials can be yours for reasonable prices, today we will continue with porcelain: Not too dissimilar in appearance to enamel, porcelain is not a coating but a fired ceramic. What it has in common with enamel is that it is produced at high temperatures and also has a complex process, so Atelier Wen usually needs five to six attempts to get a usable dial for the watches we would like to present to you today.
Atelier Wen is a little bit special amongst the many microbrands: Instead of relying on Swiss Made, or secretly formworking cheap Miyota movements somewhere in China, they are transparent of the origin of the watch being from China, and celebrate the craft and materials for which neither China itself, nor the wearers of Atelier Wen watches, should be ashamed.
The shape of the case and the diameter of 39mm, as well as the design of the numerals and the leaf-shaped hands, are reminiscent of chronometers from the middle of the last century, and represent the European-French DNA of the brand. The dial, on the other hand, celebrates Chinese aesthetics: the porcelain dial is a brilliant white – it is the star attraction of the watch and is also its namesake: 皓(Hao) stands for flawless white. It is framed by minute indexes whose pattern is on the one hand typically Chinese, but are also somewhat reminiscent of the aforementioned European chronometers. The small seconds display also attracts attention, where you can discover the two characters 酉 (You) and 卯 (Mao). These stand for 5-7 o’clock in the morning and afternoon in the traditional Chinese 12-hour day
The reverse shows a mystical being from the Chinese tradition called Kunpeng, who is neither fish nor bird, not inappropriate for this model’s origin. The movement is the second part of the Chinese DNA: It is a Dandong/Peacock SL-3006, specially made for Atelier Wen in the highest quality level available so far, which can trace its ancestry back to the ETA 2824-2, which is well known here. Almost completely unknown outside of China, Atelier Wen has here a movement which has a very respectable accuracy of +/- 10 seconds per day. and should be relatively easy to maintain even after the end of the two-year warranty, due to the proximity of the ETA movement.
For those who find all this too colourful, don’t worry: there is also the blue version of the Hao, which is also less strict, limited to 250 pieces and is deliberately reminiscent of typical Chinese porcelain through the colour combination.
All of this sounds expensive, but surprisingly, Atelier Wen consistently remains in the three-digit range: the red and green Hao cost a slim US$ 790 including shipping, and even the blue version is only US$ 720. All three can only be purchased directly from the manufacturer.