For the fourth year in a row, WatchTime New York will be the host of many brands’ latest and most interesting releases (taking place October 26-27, with tickets available here). Among this year’s participants is the 14-year old haute horlogerie brand Greubel Forsey, who is bringing the U.S.-exclusive Double Balancier Sapphire with them. This piece is a limited-edition watch coming as the brand’s most recent, and sixth overall, “Fundamental Invention.”
The intricate 47.25-mm watch, as its name implies, has a completely sapphire crystal case requiring over 900 hours of machining from a single block of sapphire, even using a sapphire crown engraved with the “GF” brand logo. The case is doubly reinforced, first with eight distinctive screws around the bezel, which help bring the water resistance of the complex watch up to 30 meters or 100 feet. Then a lacquer-filled gold ”sight ring,” visible through the sapphire case around the sides of the model, is engraved with the values that the brand hopes to represent (read more on that here). The blue rubber strap accompanying the watch also features this writing — although the hand-sewn alligator leather strap it also comes with does not; both straps are secured with a Greubel Forsey engraved titanium folding clasp.
Protected and accentuated by the illuminating transparent case is the watch’s impressive dial design and inner workings. With a multi-layered, partially-skeletonized dial, the top white gold layer of the face is accented with blue, white, and black polishing, a solo printed 12 o’clock hour mark, and a 72-hour power reserve indicator towards the 2 o’clock position. On the other half of the dial are the watch’s skeletonized aspects via its 284-part, 50-jewel, hand-wound Double Balancier movement that includes a “differential rotation” indicator slightly off center towards the bottom of the dial, and a running seconds counter close to the 4 o’clock index. Also visible on the dial side is the PVD-treated, nickel-silver mainplate with the two 30° angled balance wheels and part of one barrel closer to the top of the dial. Sweeping over all these different features are two white gold, openworked arrowhead hands, both filled with Super-LumiNova. On the backside of the mainplate are the two 30° angled escapement platforms holding up the front side balance wheels, with various gold engravings, jewels, and finishing, all expertly highlighted behind the sapphire crystal.
Throughout the watch, you’ll notice the extensive effort Greubel Forsey took to produce an even more jaw-dropping timepiece to what was already a highly prized watch in the non-sapphire Double Balancier (picture below), which itself took over ten years to produce as the brand’s alternative to the tourbillon. This is seen not only in the adept handwork of the watchmakers through the black polishing, satin finishing, circular graining, and beveling; the complicated case construction; or the impressive movement, but through the combination of each of these factors into the overall technologically ambitious design.
Pricing for the Double Balancier Sapphire is available upon request, though the brand has stated only eleven will be produced in this U.S.-exclusive limited edition. If you’d like to be one of the first collectors to see these watches in the metal, you should be sure to pick up tickets to the fast-approaching WatchTime New York show at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall, now less than two weeks away.
Check out our recent interview with Stephen Forsey here.