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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


Full resolution images can be found on Flickr.

Roland Kemmner (erkahund on eBay) was the engineer at Fricker responsible for various Precista watches, including the fabled PRS-2 Dreadnought. After his departure from Fricker, Precista pledged their confidence in him and migrated to contracting their watches from him directly. Currently, he also sells watch parts and self-branded watches directly, though these appear to be better known in his native Germany (in such venues as uhr-forum.de) than in the United States. I'm hoping that this will no longer be the case in the future, as my experience with his products have been excellent.

His eBay storefront can be found here:
http://myworld.ebay.de/erkahund/
It is inconsistently populated with items (empty at the time of this review, as I believe that he is attending BaselWorld). One might wish to contact him directly to query for availability and sales.

In the past, I've ordered a complete set of parts for a classic marine deck watch from him and was pleased with both his service and the quality of the items. Recently, on a whim, I decided to check out one of his assembled watches. Though his various dive and B-Uhr style offerings seem to be the most popular, his Tonneau dress watch caught my eye. It was an attractive and relatively inexpensive Swiss movement model and I'd just bought a diver. Given his work on complex, precision-intensive watch designs like the Precista Dreadnought and Kemmner-branded models like the Octopus, I felt that this should be an easy one for him. At the time of purchase, the price was $198 Euro, or around $270 USD.

Packaging:

The watch was shipped in an attractive and unmarked leather-textured polyurethane dual watch case. The felt padding material inside smells strongly of mothballs, though I imagine that this is a temporary condition. Though I do enjoy a nice branded watch box as much as the next WIS (a non-sequitur shout out to Ocean7's!), it's a nice change of pace to get something actually useful in its place. I can eaily see how this might come in handy for traveling. This box can be seen in the picture above and below.

Case:


Case material is 316L steel. By my calipers, the case measures 38mm wide and 43mm lug-to-lug. Lug width is 22mm, which works well with the squarish case style. The case is marked as having 3ATM water resistance. Crystal-to-crystal thickness is 12.3mm. The tonneau case wears larger than a circular case of that diameter; on the wrist, it feels about on par with 40-41mm circular watch. The watch wears comfortably on my 6.75'' wrist.



The case finish is uniformly mirror-polished and, as expected, without flaw. The design is elegant and lacking in embellishment, but very well-considered on closer inspection. The convex sides of the tonneau case flow naturally into the curve of the lugs and the polished beveled lip supporting the crystal is a discrete, but attractive ornamentation. The crown is conveniently sized and bears a deeply engraved stylized "K" Kemmner logo, an unexpected touch for a small watch producer. The quality of engraving is high; it is deeper and sharper than many mass-produced pieces from name-brands I've come across.

Crystal:


The front features an impressively large domed Sapphire crystal, which is a main draw of the watch for me. It is anti-reflective coated on the interior. While it is not domed to the degree as my Ocean7 LM-1 or Speedmaster Pro, the square shape of the crystal and the thin bezel of the case makes it larger than either of those watches. These properties produce an effect unique in my collection; it is quite impressive, as I've attempted to demonstrate in these pictures. The anti-reflect coating adds flickers of color to the black dial and is a thoughtful feature for a dress watch in this price range.

On close inspection, there is a spec of dust under the crystal. I'll give Roland Kemmner the benefit of the doubt and trust that this is a random, isolated occurrence, I think reasonable in light of his long partnership and favorable reputation with Precista.

Caseback:


The caseback matches the shape of the case and is attached via four slotted screws on each corner. There are deeply engraved markings on each side, marked "316L", "Made in Germany", "3 ATM", and the serial number. Each piece appears to be engraved with a unique serial number, again surprising for a $300 watch. Mine is no. 73. The engraving here is similarly crisp and and deep. The caseback display crystal is round and smaller, but reasonably so as the 2824 movement is round and small.

Dial and hands:


Kemmner offers three dial and hand variations: silver on black, black on white, and what looks to be rose gold on cream. Mine is the black version. The indices are applied silver with slanted sides. The hands are silver with white lume inlays on the hour and minute hands. The dial is polished with a very subtle sunburst texture visible only with close scrutiny. Normally, it appears to be a black mirrored surface. The Kemnner wordmark is printed at 12 o'clock, with "automatic" and "MADE IN GERMANY" at 6, with a white-bordered date window in between. The date wheel is a matching white text on black. The mirror dial shouts "dress watch" as loudly as my the matte dial on my Seiko diver shouts "tool watch"; the polish texture may not be as technically accomplished as guilloche, but it's definitely executed well enough to hold its own. It's very pleasant to glance at the time and see the sweep second hand reflected on the dial. The Kemmner wordmark printing seems slightly light, but this is a fairly shallow criticism. Its vintage script on the other hand is a perfect match to the case style, as is the understated (and lower case) "automatic" marking. The indices are arrayed in a circular pattern, but still remain equidistant to the case edges due to the tonneau shape. It is a clean, classic design that avoids the showiness of the large arabics common to this case shape.

The lume on the hands seems comparable to other sub-$1000 European watches. Normal color is white, with green glow. No lume is present on the dial indices.

Movement:

The movement is the ubiquitous Swiss ETA-2824 with three central hands and date wheel that features hand-winding and hacking. It is undecorated with nondescript rotor, Incabloc shock protection, and straight balance wheel spokes. It is a generic workhorse of a movement and certainly not bad for this price. I have not yet measured accuracy on any dimension, but see little reason to suspect that its performance will different greatly from other 2824-equipped watches.

Strap:

The OEM band for the black dial model is a matching black alligator-pattern leather strap with black stitching. It is thickly padded, but very soft and comfortable. I'm pleased with the quality of the strap, but those with larger wrists should be aware that it is rather short. I wear the watch on the center of 7 strap holes. As my wrists are 6.75'' in circumference, I imagine that those with wrists larger than 7.5'' will require a longer strap.

The clasp is a generic butterfly deployant of modest quality. Nothing to write home about, but it's definitely nice that it's a deployant instead of a buckle and tang.

Conclusion:

Roland Kemmner's Tonneau is an excellent value dress watch that holds its own against other European offerings despite being at the lower end of its price bracket. Its styling is understated and graceful and manages to distinguish itself from most others of the genre. There are numerous small touches rare or unheard of at this price: the quality of engraving, AR coating, sapphire crystal, unique serial number, deployant clasp. For me, the best feature is still the glorious domed sapphire crystal - I just can't stop fidgeting with the watch, watching the dial distort and the reflections dance around. It's a great deal and a great watch; it'll certainly win its share of wrist time, even competing against much costlier watches in my collection. For the cost of an absolutely entry-level automatic European watch, you can support an independent watchmaker with a sterling reputation and get some decidedly non-entry-level features to boot.

A final note on the seller:

Roland Kemmner has been great to deal with as a seller. He's responsive to queries, fast to ship, and extremely careful in packing. When I purchased this watch, I asked him if I could also purchase a different style crown for a watch case I had bought from him months ago. His response was to throw in a full set of 4 crowns and two sets of gaskets for free. This is service! I unreservedly recommend him not only as a watchmaker but also as a seller and will definitely look for his future releases personally.
 

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Re: Kemmner Tonneau dress watch review

Excellent review, very informative, thanks |>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Re: Kemmner Tonneau dress watch review

The white one does look great too; it was a bit of a coin flip for me.

I was really pleased with the service I got from Kemmner, so I offered him use of these pictures. Looks like he took me up on my offer b-)

For everyone else's reference, here's his picture of the white one:




 

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Mine arrived today, just some quick notes: It's not a white dial, it's silver instead. Would have liked it to be a bit closer to white, but no biggy.

Second note concerns the strapsize. I don't know if I got a larger strap than you did, but even on the smallest hole it's still too long for me (just a bit under 6,5" wrist). That was a bit of a bummer, I'll have to go to a jeweler to punch another hole through the strap.

Some more elaborate experiences/opinions (maybe pics) may follow later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's curious. I'll take some measurements of my strap when I get home. The picture for the white (well, silver) dial model shows a pebble grain with white contrast stitching, while the black model is alligator grain with matching black stitching.
 

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That's curious. I'll take some measurements of my strap when I get home. The picture for the white (well, silver) dial model shows a pebble grain with white contrast stitching, while the black model is alligator grain with matching black stitching.
Yeah, I noticed it too, probably a completely different strap. I'm back from the jeweler, they punched trough two extra holes (free of charge). I'm now wearing it on the second hole. It's not really comfortable though, because part of the clasp is pushing into the side of my wrist. I might go on a hunt for another strap one of these days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The black strap measures 73mm/110mm and 46mm from the end to the smallest strap hole. I imagine that those with thicker wrists than mine would find the black strap unsuitable in entirely the opposite way as you did yours. I guess that's the problem with having a longer lug width than would normally be the case on a circular watch.

On the plus side, the watch does sit fairly well with a strap that fits. If the problem with fit is with the deployant, you can always wear it with a buckle until it's time to replace the strap.
 

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The black strap measures 73mm/110mm and 46mm from the end to the smallest strap hole. I imagine that those with thicker wrists than mine would find the black strap unsuitable in entirely the opposite way as you did yours. I guess that's the problem with having a longer lug width than would normally be the case on a circular watch.

On the plus side, the watch does sit fairly well with a strap that fits. If the problem with fit is with the deployant, you can always wear it with a buckle until it's time to replace the strap.
Mine measures in at 82mm/117mm with 56mm from the end to the smallest strap hole, I guess this strap is more suitable for those with larger wrists.
I might send an e-mail to Kemmner to see if he's also got a normal buckle to match this strap.
 

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For those of you who are interested in some quick shots of the silver dialed one; here they are!
By the way, I am very aware of the fact they look like snapshots made by an average goldfish compared to the pictures ASRSPR posted :-d









After some days of getting used to the watch, I must now say I'm pretty happy with it. I don't think I'm going to replace the strap or the butterfly clasp after all, they don't bother me as much as I thought they would after I first tried the watch on.

I'm not going to review the whole watch because ASRSPR already did a very good job on it. I'd just like to say that there aren't a lot of watches that offer an ETA movement and (AR-coated on the front) two sapphire crystals for the price that Roland Kemmner asks for these pieces. Furthermore, the fact that they are such a small brand, with very limited numbers of watches produced adds something extra for me. All in all a very interesting watch |>
 

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Hi Everyone,

My friend just told me about Kemmner watches earlier today. Since seeing the pictures and reviews, I'm already tempted to get one!

I was wondering if anyone has wrist shots of the black dialed version? The pics almost make them seem blue. Also, I have a relatively small wrist (6'') so I was wondering how this watch would fit.

Any pics would be appreciated!
 

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Hi Everyone,

My friend just told me about Kemmner watches earlier today. Since seeing the pictures and reviews, I'm already tempted to get one!

I was wondering if anyone has wrist shots of the black dialed version? The pics almost make them seem blue. Also, I have a relatively small wrist (6'') so I was wondering how this watch would fit.

Any pics would be appreciated!
Hi there, I can't help you with wristshots of the black version but I can tell you that this watch has got a very short lug-to-lug distance of only 43mm. Because of this it's a good match for people with smaller wrists :-!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here you go. My wrists are 6.75'' in circumference, for reference. I think you should be okay with the black version's shorter strap. Here's how it normally looks indoors.



And here is when I'm intentionally catching a reflection out the window, to show the blue AR effect:

 

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Thanks for your response! It's a beautiful watch. I have to say, your "quick" photos look very professional :-!

I wonder if it was challenging for you to to make the purchase with Roland Kemmner? From your review, it sounds like he's a pleasure to deal with. I'm just a little bit nervous since I've never purchased a watch internationally (I'm currently in the Washington D.C. area) and I'd like to email him before making a purchase.

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated! :thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
He's definitely a great guy to buy from. I've ordered three times from Kemmner, though this is the only completed watch. My other orders were for watch parts. He ships pretty quickly in my experience; the transit time to west coast United States wasn't long, but also not extremely short; between one and two weeks, I think. He packages everything very thoroughly and his combined shipping rates for multiple items are very fair if you ask him for a combined invoice.

Sometimes he lets his ebay store lapse for a few days between auctions, so he'll have a reduced or empty selection. Or he might not have his entire inventory on auction. In those cases, wait a little bit or contact him directly.

I asked to purchase an extra crown when I bought one of his watch cases once and he just threw in a set of 4 for free. Roland's a very classy guy - I wouldn't have volunteered my photographs for his use if he weren't!
 

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This is my first post so I'm not even sure if this thread is too old. I've been reading this forum for a couple of years though and I've sold a few watches on watchuseek. This is where I get all my good info. Thanks!

I have to agree with ASRSPR above. Roland Kemmner deserves a shout out for this watch. It's got a very cool mid-century modern vibe to it IMO. The elliptical hands and satin-y sunburst dial make subtle reflections/patterns through the sapphire glass. The stainless steel markers sort of suck in the colors of the objects nearby...

ASRSPR used the word "thoughtful" and I think that's a great description. An elegant find for such a good price (just under $270 at the time of buying).

If you're on the lookout for a cushion case kind of watch definitely give Roland Kemmner's 2824 Tonneau a look. I'll add that the communication was great. I emailed with Roland directly numerous times and we had a very pleasant rapport.

And also a thank you to ASRSPR for putting this watch on my radar.

Here's some pics. My wrist is 6.75" for reference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Welcome to the forums, DigNtime! And let me be the first to say: great pictures! The forums has plenty of great photographers, but we're certainly always glad for more. Those are some nice strap alternatives too! I think that the alligator grain strap Kemmner includes is nice quality, but the padding is too thick. Thinner padding or else less dramatic tapering produces a better look. Phenomenal looking SKX mod too! The handiwork of Jay at Motor City Watch Works, perhaps?

While we're bringing this thread back, I can give an update on the Kemmner. It's still going strong, but I recently replaced the OEM hands with standard dauphin hands. The sharp ends and thin lume slots give the watch a more formal styling that I think is more in line with the case.

 
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