As good wine is defined by its terroir and the production of a fine wine rests on the skill of the winemaker, so the finest watches are often the product of a particular location or area and of the expertise passed from generation to generation.
Gerhard Louis Grönefeld was born on the 14th July 1896 in Oldenzaal. Johan commenced 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 also looked after the church’s clock mechanism. Johan was both an exceptional watchmaker and consummate businessman. His prowess with watchmaking tools, combined with creativity and inventiveness, led to his reputation growing in Oldenzaal and beyond.
Johannes Grönefeld, known locally as ‘Sjef’, was born on 5th November 1941, again in Oldenzaal. Inspired by his father, there was an inevitability in Sjef’s career choice when he entered the sphere of jewellery and watchmaking. After Johan passed away in 1974, the mantle of attending to the clock within the local basilica passed to Sjef. The Grönefeld family continue to own and operate the workshop and boutique on Steenstraat established by Johan. 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. Hearing the seductive sounds of pallet levers at play proved too much for the ‘Horological brothers’ and they vowed to continue the work of their forebears.