Unexpected Discovery: Hands-On With The Carl Suchy & Söhne Waltz N°1 Collection
Once deemed the “Official Watch Purveyor to the Habsburg Royal Family and Imperial Court” Carl Suchy & Söhne has been recently revived with approval from descendants of the original family.
In 2017, entrepreneur Robert Punkenhofer officially re-launched Carl Suchy & Söhne. Originally founded in 1822 by watchmaker Carl Suchy, the company had been dormant for over a century. The brand initially had storefronts and watchmaking facilities in Vienna and Prague and primarily sold to people of nobility. Most notably, the former Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph I, and even Sigmund Freud were counted as clients.
Inspired by the heritage of Carl Suchy & Söhne
Vintage Carl Suchy & Söhne timepieces are a bit of a rarity these days, most having been lost to the sands of time. When talk of the brand’s reemergence began in 2016, Austrians came out of the woodwork and started visiting the brand’s Vienna showroom with family heirloom pieces and some seriously impressive stories of their grandparents and great-grandparents owning Carl Suchy & Söhne timepieces.
In the late 1800s, Carl Suchy & Söhne stuck to making custom, and bespoke pocket watches for a wide range of characters. Each piece was made by hand in La Chaux-de-Fonds, and the Suchy family quickly expanded their footprint in Austria and opened dedicated boutiques to sell their strictly limited watches. After a few decades of success, the Austro-Hungarian empire fell, and the brand quickly lost a vast majority of their client base.
About the Waltz N°1 Collection
Looking to retake the crown jewels of Austrian watchmaking, Punkenhofer has re-introduced the brand to market with a bit of help from the Swiss. Enter the Waltz N°1 Collection, a collection of two models, a unique horizontal and vertically striped guilloche dial (the Waltz N°1) and a super funky skeletonized piece aptly named the Waltz N°1 Skeleton. We recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with each model, and I must say, they're quite striking.
While the dials on each piece are incredibly whimsical, each Waltz N°1 has a beautiful surprise underneath. Powering each watch is an incredibly well finished Vaucher VMF 5401 movement. For those unfamiliar with Vaucher, the manufacture is actually Parmigiani Fleurier’s proprietary in-house maker of movements. Supplying brands as elevated as Hermès and now Carl Suchy & Söhne. Telltale signs of a Vaucher movement are present in the Waltz N°1. The micro-rotor and large beautifully finished bridges make for a dazzling yet minimalistic display of Michel Parmigiani’s master craft.
Owner Robert Punkenhofer has teamed up with master watchmaker Marc Jenni, who hand assembles each Waltz N°1 throughout seven months using parts from various suppliers at his Switzerland-based workshop. By outsourcing most components of the Waltz N°1, Carl Suchy & Söhne can keep prices very reasonable. The Waltz N°1 range in price from CHF 7’450 to CHF 7,830 depending on case and strap. The Waltz N°1 Skeleton is a mighty CHF 18’650, but one can exclaim, "that dial though!" Each model can be customized with a stainless-steel case or black matte PVD option.
Overall, I was impressed with the Waltz N°1. I found the highly textured dials to be perfectly legible and little touches like the horizontal/vertical guilloche and skeletonized striping on both versions make Carl Suchy & Söhne stand out amongst a very crowded field in the $5,000-10,000 range. The product is priced right considering the components and attention to detail. Time will tell if Punkenhofer can build brand equity after a century of dormancy. But the Waltz N°1 is an impressive maiden voyage for the brand, and if they’re able to continue down this path both aesthetically and horologically I think Carl Suchy & Söhne will be just fine.
(Photography by Liam O’Donnell)