• 21/F, CMA Building 64
  • Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong
  • +33 7 80 91 22 72
  • contact@atelierwen.com
  • M-F 8:00am - 10:00 pm GMT+8

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A hand-turned vision of
chinese watchmaking

Perception

$3,288 USD
30% Deposit:
Regular price $1,010.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $1,010.00 USD

$3,288 USD
30% Deposit:
Regular price $1,010.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $1,010.00 USD

Initial payment is a 30% deposit. the remaining 70% will be invoiced 3-4 weeks before delivery.

Production of perception is limited due to its handmade dial.
The current batch is filling up quickly. pre-order now to secure your piece.

Delivery allocation for next batches:

  • Jan 2024 (SOLD OUT)
  • Feb 2024 (SOLD OUT)
  • Mar 2024 (LIMITED AVAILABILITY)
  • Jan 2025 (AVAILABLE)
  • Free return
  • Free shipping
  • Five year warranty
  • Free return
  • Free shipping
  • Five year warranty
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For the 3D view
  • As Seen on

A modern marriage of classical
Chinese architecture and artisanship

Perception draws from the exquisite geometries found in traditional Chinese architecture. It features an exquisite hand-turned guilloché dial by China’s only master of the craft, Cheng Yu Cai, alongside a custom extra-thin automatic movement. These are elegantly encased within a 904L steel case, with accompanying bracelet, that have been finished with immense attention to detail. It bears a striking contrast between the slimness of its case and the depth of the guilloché dial which defies physical perceptions.

A burning copper

Handmade métier d'art dials by China's
sole guilloché master craftsman

Delicate scales of
a dwindling art

The central element of Perception's dial is without a doubt the écailles de poisson guilloché by the workshop of Cheng Yu Cai, China's one and only master guilloché craftsman. The hypnotic interplay between straight and curved lines in the fish scale pattern is a celebration of light and shadow, and each dial has been meticulously hand-turned on a rose engine of Master Cheng's own design, taking a staggering 8 hours to produce.

The age-old intricacies of guilloché mean that there are fewer than 30 known masters of the craft left in the world. In the modern era, the difficulties of true guilloché have seen the vast majority of watch brands turn to more automated avenues such as stamping and CNC-machining, since engine turning requires enormous skill and any momentary slip or loss in concentration necessitates beginning all over again. Yet it is precisely in an unending quest for elusive, human perfection that we hope to preserve and celebrate the immense value of the craft.

Inspired by tradition, reimagined in the present

Perception's dial is not just about its guilloché element. Its complex 4-part construction is modelled after 榫卯 (sǔn mǎo), an ancient Chinese approach to building assembly. This form of construction features the extraordinary characteristic of being a friction-based assembly without the use of any nails or glue.

Exemplified in Perception, the dial comprises of a base layer upon which the guillochéd plate sits. Its indexes nest precisely into 12 cutouts, and are locked in place by an elevated chapter ring with a beautiful 回纹 (huí wén) pattern printed in Superluminova X1. Far from being merely decorative, this pattern has been specifically segmented to form the functional minute track of the watch.

Perception's hands are leaf-shaped, adhering to the lineage cast by one of the Porcelain Odyssey's defining design features, which suited the continuity of our brand’s design language. They too have been constructed with a voluminous profile, creating greater visual depth to the dial, and have been lumed with Superluminova X1. They have also been broadened slightly to suit the watch's sportier profile. The hands come in two variations: rhodium plated on the 缥 (Piāo) and 霞 (Xiá), and heat-blued on the 影 (Yǐng).

A composition of classical lines

The case of Perception is evocative of shapes found in Chinese architecture. The curved silhouettes of pagodas provide inspiration for its flanks, and the tops of its lugs feature subtler angles reminiscent of roof structures. These characteristics are amplified by the great care taken to accentuate the contrast between the applications of horizontal and vertical brushing, as well as the mirror-polished reliefs and chamfers that frame them. The use of 904L steel lends further emphasis to this visual impression here, possessing a greater lustre than its more common 316L counterpart.

Considering the dial’s depth, Perception's case is impressively thin at just 9.4mm in total height, and thanks to the layering of its profile, it wears even thinner. Despite this, water resistance has not been compromised, withstanding depths of up to 10 ATM/100m.

It also features a double-domed sapphire crystal with 10 layers of anti-reflective coating, ensuring perfect transparency and readability.

The beating maw of a steely guardian

The semi-display caseback of Perception features a window that doubles as the mouth of a deeply-embossed 石狮子 (Shí shīzi), or stone guardian lion; these being found at the entrance of most Chinese temples and major buildings.

When the rotor is aligned with the window, forming the lion's mouth, it appears to laugh in a stark contrast against the sobriety and almost brutalist character of the rest of the watch. And when the rotor swings the other way, the lion's mouth opens to reveal the watch's balance wheel as it oscillates away.

With the series inspired by traditional Chinese architecture, these guardian lions form a defining aspect of such structures, and its presence on our case-back is as symbolic as it is decorative. It represents a fitting motif of the protective casing that guards the intricate architecture of the dial, as well as the soul of the watch that is its movement.

This stylised representation of the stone lion was conceptualised by Liu Yuguan using cloud-like strokes to keep with the surreal identity of the watch as a whole. The motif is executed in a deep embossing, and accented by a hammered texture surrounding it to provide a prominent contrast.

The text that lines the perimeter of Perception's case-back has been CNC-machined, requiring unique 3-D files for each individual case-back. It pays homage to a true legend of Chinese independent watchmaking, Kiu Tai Yu, whose watches were often characterised by similarly executed textual reliefs.

A path of brush and shimmer

Like its case, Perception's quick-release bracelet is also crafted of the same luxurious 904L steel, forming a gleaming path that leads up to the watch itself. The bracelet's central links feature an uncanny asymmetry in their hexagonal shapes, and once more hark towards elements like rooftops and windows found in traditional Chinese architecture.

The same spectacular attention to finish has been paid here, with strong vertical brushing throughout that drops off into sharp, mirror-like chamfers that have been hand-finished along both the outer and inner edges of each link. On the wrist, this path breaks up into its individual tiles; each link reflecting light differently in a dazzling spectacle.

The bracelet's elegance carries into its dimensions, tapering across its width from 22mm at the case to 18mm at the clasp, and thinning out from 3mm at the lugs to a svelte 2.6mm.

Concealed convenience on-the-fly

The bracelet is complemented by a fully custom clasp with an on-the-fly micro-adjustment mechanism that has been developed in-house. Made of no less than 32 parts, it is operated through a large, central pusher that is concealed behind our logo that adorns the middle of the clasp.

This hidden mechanism allows the clasp to remain extremely sleek, and yet no less intuitive and satisfying to use, in-line with our aim of a seamless experience in utility. The bracelet's length may be adjusted by up to a half-link without it ever leaving your wrist.

In addition to this, the clasp's deployant system hides yet another secret, featuring a telescopically extensible blade as one of our more recent implementations. This function allows us to ensure that the blade remains incredibly short, providing exceptional comfort on the wrist whilst still allowing for your hand to fit through the bracelet circumference when the blade is fully extended.

An excellent, extra-thin automatic movement

The movements leave the factory at +/- 10s/d after being drop-tested and observed in hot, cold and ambient temperatures, as well as measured across 48 hours of continuous running. They are then further regulated in 5 positions, and sent in to China's top national research lab, the Horological Research Institute of Light Industry (HRILI) for further testing following assembly. The SL1588 has also been modified to accommodate a power reserve of approximately 41 hours; a marked increase from its base movement’s 38 hours.

The movement is finished with a circular côtes de Genève that is contiguous with its black rhodium-plated tungsten rotor, and is delivered with additional touches of refinement in its polished jewel and screw sinks, and heat-blued screws.

More than mere unboxing

Perception arrives to you in a beautifully-lacquered, wooden presentation box that unfolds completely to form an elegant table-top organiser for your desk or mantlepiece.

It also comes with a high-quality microfibre polishing cloth, a travel pouch in top-grain calf leather, and a screwdriver for a fuss-free experience in sizing your bracelet.

Variances in Perception

Our journey has led us to collaborate with partners who have brought new meaning and exposure to Chinese watchmaking.

The first collaboration, 传承 (Chuán Chéng), showcases Master Cheng's favorite guilloché pattern in a dignified jade green shade. Meaning "inheritance," it features a grade 5 Titanium case and bracelet, distinct from the regular editions of Perception. 传承 was created in partnership with Wristcheck, a renowned luxury watch retailer from Hong Kong, led by collector Austen Chu (@horoloupe), this limited edition of 100 pieces embodies the symbolic inheritance and fosters a new generation of Chinese collectors. Learn more about 传承 here.

Our second collaboration with Revolution, the industry's media and e-commerce leader, and its legendary founder, Wei Koh, gave rise to 禧 (Xǐ). This timepiece, also limited to 100 examples, features a vivid, vermillion circular basketweave design, perfectly capturing the celebratory spirit of joy and jubilation encapsulated in its name. Constructed with grade 5 Titanium, 禧 represents the resonance Revolution felt for Atelier Wen's mission to uplift and celebrate the underestimated capacities of Chinese artisanship and watchmaking. Discover more about 禧 in Revolution's article here.

We are immensely honoured and proud of these collaborations, which highlight the industry's belief in our Perception line and mission to celebrate Chinese watchmaking. Stay tuned for more unique editions to come!

Warranty

Perception comes with a 5-year warranty, valid from the date of delivery.

While this warranty was previously valid for 2 years, we have now extended it by an additional 3.

We are unequivocally confident in our product, and this has been put in place to reflect the comprehensive testing that we put the watches through, the assuredness of our brand’s longevity, and the reliability of our suppliers and manufacturing partners.

We have also made sufficient provisions in replacement parts to ensure that your watch is well cared-for throughout its lifetime.

We are entirely committed to ensuring a seamless and assured ownership experience. We will facilitate any aftersales-related support at your total and seamless convenience, with doorstep-to-doorstep coverage both to and from our after-sales partners.

This extended warranty now applies to all of our watches and will, additionally, apply retroactively to any watches that have been previously purchased directly from us or our collaborators.

Technical
Specifications

  • 904L stainless steel case with contrasting surfaces and exceptional attention to finish.
  • 40mm (diameter) x 47mm (lug to lug).
  • 9.4mm thickness.
  • Screw-down crown.
  • Water resistant to 100m/10ATM.
  • Handmade guilloché turned on a rose engine by China’s sole guilloché master craftsman.
  • Applied rhodium-plated indices (heat-blued on Ying).
  • Hand-bent, rhodium-plated (heat-blued for the grey dial) leaf-shaped hands with Super-LumiNova® BGW9 (X1 grade) lume.
  • Double-domed sapphire crystal with 10 layers of anti-reflective coating.
  • Deeply embossed semi-display caseback with contrasting hammered martelé-texturing, sapphire glass semi-display window and 10 layers anti-reflective coating.
  • Customised 32 jewels extra-thin (3.4mm) dandong sl1588 automatic movement.
  • Decorated in circular côtes de genève with polished jewel and screw sinks, and heat-blued screws.
  • Tungsten rotor with circular côtes de genève and black rhodium plating.
  • +/- 10s per day and further adjusted in 5 positions and for temperature fluctuations.
  • Tested exhaustively by the horological research institute of light industry (hrili).
  • 41 hour power reserve
  • 28,800 bph (4hz)
  • 904l brushed stainless bracelet with individually chamfered links and exceptional attention to finish.
  • Tapering from 22mm at the case to 18mm at the clasp, and thinning gradually from 3mm at the case to 2.6mm at the clasp.
  • Quick-release spring bars.
  • Proprietary, patent-pending on-the-fly micro adjustment system.
  • Telescopic deployant blade system for enhanced comfort and wearability.

Strap combinations

  • As Seen on