Greubel Forsey Takes a Subtler Approach with its Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision


The name Greubel Forsey conjures up many images among horological connoisseurs but classically simple dials and elegantly thin cases are probably not among them — at least until now. With the release of the Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision, the 11-year-old brand founded by Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey proves that it can do “quiet” just as well as it does “loud.”

Introduced at SIHH 2015, alongside such super-complex timepieces as the new GMT Black and QP à Equation, the Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision drew immediate attention for its comparative simplicity. However, it would be a mistake to characterize it as the most “ordinary” piece in the brand’s lineup (who knew we’d ever get to a point in the watch world when any watch with a tourbillon could be considered ordinary) — the renowned Greubel Forsey inventiveness is indeed on display here, only in much subtler ways, for the most part.

Of course, there is the decidedly non-ordinary, rapidly rotating 24-second tourbillon, inclined at a 25 degree angle, which for the first time in a Greubel Forsey timepiece is visible from the back of the watch, tucked under a sapphire crystal dome that bulges from the exhibition caseback. This design made it possible for the inclined tourbillon cage to overlap the surface of the movement’s bridges and enabled the watchmakers to make the 18k white gold case extra thin — 13.65 mm high (16.025 mm in total, including the dome) — while still retaining a generous diameter of 43 mm. Also on the back of the watch is the “sector”-style power reserve indicator, which tracks the watch’s 72 hours of energy by means of a pointer and a numbered scale.

The movement, which is comprised of 288 pieces (including 86 in the tourbillon cage alone), features two series coupled barrels that rotate once every 3.2 hours. The free sprung, variable-inertia balance has a frequency of 21,000 vph. Among the technical highlights visible is the distinctly designed lower tourbillon bridge, which calls to mind a Romanesque vault and whose arched and barreled surface is polished by hand.

On the dial side, other than the aperture placed at 9 o’clock, all is understated elegance: lance-shaped blued steel hands that are finished by hand, enameled blue hour numerals and indices that are first engraved then oven-fired to achieve their azure hue, an applied Greubel Forsey logo in gold below the 12 o’clock numeral, a discreet small seconds subdial at 4 o’clock. The dial itself is solid gold, with a silvered finish.

Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision - front-back
Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision - sideTo the big question: is the unconventional shape, with the convex dome protruding from the caseback, actually comfortable to wear? I can happily report that it is. As Stephen Forsey himself told me at our meeting, the placement of the dome was no accident: when the watch is strapped to the wrist, the little bubble nestles nicely into the soft spot between the two major wrist bones for a very ergonomic feel. Below are some live photos of the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision snapped by our colleague, Redbar Crew co-founder Adam Craniotes.

Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision - wrist

Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision - live back

The Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision is, like many other pieces from the brand, a strictly limited edition — just 22 pieces worldwide, and carries an (also decidedly non-ordinary) sticker price of $325,000. Each watch is hand-engraved with a series number, and comes on a hand-sewn black alligator strap with a white gold, logo-engraved tang buckle. if you’ve been seeking a tourbillon watch that speaks softly, yet with confidence, this may be the one for you.

3 Responses to “Greubel Forsey Takes a Subtler Approach with its Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision”

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  1. DSlocum

    I am assuming, based on the pictures, that the numbers and indices are painted/printed and not applied, not sandwiched and not very interesting. Maybe it is just the photos, but…..

    When the back of the watch is much better looking than the front, you are doing something wrong.

    Reply
    • Mark Bernardo

      Thanks for the comments. To clarify on the indices, however, Greubel Forsey informs us that they are not printed but created in the “Grand Feu” enamel process – a decorative technique used in watchmaking that is one of the most difficult to execute. In Grand Feu enameling, the master artisan does not paint the motif directly on the watch but applies more oxides on the dial in gold. Then, the enameller moves the dial into fire (“Feu” in French) at 800-900° Celsius several times (Greubel Forsey does it 7-10 times) to allow motif and colors to appear gradually. The “Grand Feu” enamel sets unalterable and refined decoration. Greubel Forsey uses the “Grand Feu” enamel in the “Champlevé” style, in which cells are carved with a chisel on the metal plate (dial) and filled with vitreous enamel. The piece is then fired until the enamel melts, and when cooled the surface of the object is polished.

      Reply
  2. Debashish

    Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision looks truly fabulous, unfortunately it is much too expensive for me.

    Reply
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