Today we take a closer look at Atelier Wen’s latest release, the Perception. Between the integrated bracelet and the handcrafted Guilloche dial, there is a lot to talk about here. For the full details, dive straight into the video review right here:
Atelier Wen explores Chinese culture and craftsmanship in watchmaking and they want to make that accessible to everyone around the world. Their first series, the Porcelain Odyssey, was released a few years ago and featured a dashing porcelain dial.
Now we are looking at the new Perception, which quite frankly is several steps above what we have seen so far from Atelier Wen. In a nutshell, the Atelier Wen Perception features a handmade guilloché dial, 904L stainless steel case and integrated bracelet, a customized extra-thin movement, a semi-display caseback, and a clasp with very easy to use micro-adjustment. The overall design of the Perception is guided by key Chinese architectural principles, the design continuity really shows throughout all elements of this watch and the result is really quite something.
Let’s perhaps start with the dial. It is easy to focus purely on the guilloché dial here of course, but the dial also has other interesting details. This is thanks to the Sunmao dial structure. Sunmao, refers to a traditional structuring approach in Chinese architecture and Chinese joinery in particular. For the dial, it means you have not just one, but four different layers that blend neatly into each other.
The base dial is copper on which then sit two additional layers, one which is 0.5mm thick and the other one which is 0.4mm thick. Both dials have 12 cutouts that are for the raised indexes which fit into the cutouts very nicely. Hands and indices by the way are rhodium plated. The leaf-shaped hands, filled with SuperLuminova, will be a familiar sight to anyone having seen the Porcelain odyssey.
The dial, exists in a few color variations, the one we are looking at here is the grey dial. The guilloche dial, is handcrafted by a guilloche master craftsman of China. Atelier Wen highlights that it takes around 8 hours to make each dial. As a result of all those hours, you get a visually very pleasing dial. The pattern definitely has a lot of character and reminds me of a dragon scale pattern. Very cool and I love how guilloche dials change depending on how the light hits them. A nice guilloche dial is a thing of beauty.
Now, moving to the very interesting case. Let me start by mentioning that it is nice and thin at just 9,4mm, this includes the case back and crystal. Excellent. The case, just like the bracelet, is made of 904L stainless steel and the shape again takes inspiration from different Chinese architectural elements. The curved sides and lugs are inspired by the silhouettes of Chinese pagodas and roof structures.
The case features a mix of polished and both horizontal and vertical brushing. The polished bevels then around the case and lugs, which actually continue along with the bracelet, add for a very nice touch, and it really ties everything together nicely. All of this, and I almost forget to mention that the watch is indeed water-resistant to a comfortable 100 meters. The case looks very luxurious and I think this is a job very well done.
The bracelet is just as nice here and once again takes its design cues from Chinese architecture just like the case. The center links for example mimic the shape of the windows of the pagodas in China. Regarding the finishing, other than the polished bevel I mentioned earlier the bracelet features pronounced vertical brushing and it looks great. The clasp is also noteworthy here. It feels nice and solid and it features a very easy-to-use micro-adjustment system. You essentially just have to press the logo on the clasp, which is in fact a button, which then allows you to resize the bracelet to loosen or tighten the fit. I always appreciate having such a feature on a bracelet, especially during the hot summer months. This added mechanism does of course add a little bit of thickness to the clasp.
Looking at the case back you see the depiction of a stone guardian lion, often seen at the entrance of temples and buildings in China. Through the semi-display case back we get a glimpse of the customized extra-thin movement. The movement, as you would expect, is indeed also made in China. The base caliber has received modifications, including a slimmer profile, improved accuracy for plus-minus 10 seconds a day, and a slightly longer power reserve up to 41 hours from the standard 38 hours. Still not crazy long but any improvement here is welcome of course.
Critical when talking about these more exotic movements is of course whether they can be serviced easily afterward. Do they require to be shipped back to the other side of the planet (for some of us) each time you need something done? I have double-checked with Atelier Wen and they have confirmed they now have multiple locations that can cover this. Currently, both France and Singapore have been set up, with North America currently under investigation. To me, being based in Europe, this is a massive upgrade to the customer experience.
On the wrist then, well it wears excellent. With its 40mm diameter and the thinness of the case, it will wear great on pretty much any wrist. My wrist is on the smaller side and it is just lovely. I can not stress enough how much I like the thinness of the overall watch, it really makes this a joy to wear. You can perfectly wear this to the office, as you could on the beach for example.
So to conclude, You can potentially go anywhere, and do anything, with the Perception. It could even be your one-watch collection. Atelier Wen proudly states it wants to celebrate Chinese culture and craftsmanship, and I have to say that this is a celebration done right.
- 904L STAINLESS STEEL CASE WITH EXCEPTIONAL ATTENTION TO FINISH
- 40MM (DIAMETER)
- 9.4MM THICKNESS
- DOUBLE-DOMED SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL WITH 5 LAYERS AR COATING
- DEEPLY EMBOSSED SEMI-DISPLAY CASEBACK WITH SAPPHIRE GLASS AND 5 LAYERS AR COATING
- SCREW DOWN CROWN
- CUSTOMISED 32 JEWELS EXTRA THIN DANDONG AUTOMATIC MOVEMENT. ADJUSTED IN 5 POSITIONS AND TO HEAT AND COLD.
- TUNGSTENE ROTOR WITH CIRCULAR CÔTES DE GENÈVE AND BLACK RHODIUM PLATING
- HANDMADE GUILLOCHÉ DIAL USING A ROSE ENGINE BY CHINA’S SOLE GUILLOCHÉ MASTER CRAFTSMAN
- HAND-BENT RHODIUM-PLATED (HEAT-BLUED FOR THEY GREY DIAL) HANDS WITH SUPERLUMINOVA BGW9 X1 LUME
- APPLIED RHODIUM-PLATED INDEXES
- 904L STAINLESS BRACELET WITH EXCEPTIONAL ATTENTION TO FINISH. QUICK-RELEASE SPRING BARS
- ON-THE-FLY MICRO ADJUSTMENT BUCKLE
For more information, visit Atelier Wen right here.