Saturday, February 13, 2010
I am proud to present you with an interesting and highly desirable luxury watch that I recently learned about. I was introduced to Mr. Laurent Ferrier at the 2010 Geneva Time Exhibition. Language barrier aside (you can blame my lack of speaking French), I was told that he is the proprietor of a new brand, and he was wearing the proof. What I saw was of the most impressive artifacts from my trip to Geneva, on that occasion.
The watch has the polished finish (both visually and mechanically) of a Patek Philippe and the classy refinement of a Rolex. In fact, the case of the Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Spiral watch reminds of me sleek shape and curved edging of the Rolex Datejust case. Looking at the images you can tell just how cohesive and fluid the case of the case it. This design combined with its high quality finishing makes for a beautiful timepiece. It is unfortunate that my on-the-spot images of the piece did not come out, but these images from Laurent Ferrier give you an adequate understanding of the watch.
My glowing impression of the watch must be tempered with the statement that this is a classy timepiece, in traditional form and design. The dial is simple, with just the time and a subsidiary seconds dial. Though there is a chic modern elegance to design. The Roman numerals are thin and elongated, just as the hands are. Laurent Ferrier presents two genius dials. One in a white enamel with black markers and hands (and a tasteful red for the markers on the subsidiary dial), and another with a black onyx dial and white hour markers and hands. The result are two beautifully high contrasting dials that do justice to a philosophy of pure legibility. While the Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Spiral is a beautiful watch, its main purpose is to be the finest classic looking luxury watch available. It competes very well with its more mainstream competitors in my opinion.
The dial has a soft and barely visible "Tourbillon Double Spiral" label on the dial. To my knowledge this is the only watch with just such a complication. It remains a fact that while the theory of a tourbillon movement is to make a watch more accurate, this is often not the case. Laurent Ferrier wants his watches to all perform within Chronometer grades of accuracy. As such, he has crafted these watches with a level of performance precision that is hard to find in other tourbillon based watches. Aside from immaculate finishing and fine engineering, the Ref. FBN916-01 movement has a special double balance spring system. As part of the tourbillon carriage, where the balance spring typically is (aka hair spring), there are now two on top of one another, and they beat in opposing directions. In fact, the purpose of them is to regulate each other and provide the most consistent rate possible.
Aside from the small note on the dial of the watch, you need to flip the Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Spiral over and look through its sapphire caseback to see the tourbillon in action. This is similar to the stealthy tourbillons found in some Patek Philippe watches. The manually wound movement is beautifully decorated, and has a power reserve of about 80 hours. The movement is very accurate and is a serious mechanical creation in a very classic looking package. Something for the serious watch lover to appreciate. The movements are apparently made for Laurent Ferrier by La Fabrique du Temps, and contains other impressive features that Laurent Ferrier will no doubt wish to explain to interested clients.
While the watches are not strictly limited, Laurent Ferrier watches will have a very limited production each year. This assists with the exclusivity of the brand, and likely helps ensure high quality in each piece. The Galet Classic case is 41mm wide and available in 18k yellow or white gold. The watch hands are also gold. The watch can be paired with a 20mm wide black or brown alligator strap (in various finishes), that is hand-sewn and has an Alcantara leather lining.
Laurent Ferrier watches will remain rare timepieces, but I predict will be highly cherished pieces for their fortunate owners, and collectors in the future. Price for the watch is between 185,000 - 190,000 Swiss Francs.
By Ariel Adams