Released last month at the SIHH, the Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain represents a significant update to the brand’s core collection. Sized at just 39.6 mm, the new release is the first Greubel Forsey watch to have a sub-40-mm diameter and is one of a very few models for the independent brand to not feature a tourbillon. Although the appearance of the watch remains in line with the aesthetic code the brand has developed over the past 15 years — with its three-dimensional movement architecture and high level of finishing — the Balancier Contemporain is a more subdued and streamlined take on what we’ve traditionally come to expect from Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey.
The dial of the watch features an off-center hour and minute ring at 2 o’clock with blued steel hands. Directly next to the hours/minutes dial and set at a slightly lower level is a hand-frosted bridge where the elongated power reserve indicator is stationed. A small seconds subdial that is supported by a frosted and beveled bridge is tucked in near 8 o’clock. Located at 6 o’clock is the star of the show, Greubel Forsey’s in-house produced balance wheel that was first seen in the original Balancier from 2017 and is notable for its large size (12.6-mm diameter) and its crown-controlled “stop balance” system that enables time setting to the nearest second.
Although the balance is identical to the one seen in 2017’s Balancier, Greubel Forsey developed an entirely new manually-winding movement for the Balancier Contemporain. Comprised of 255 components and powered by two series-coupled barrels — one of which features an additional slipping spring to avoid excess winding — that offer up a 72-hour power reserve. It beats at 21,600 vph.
The case, made from white gold, features alternating polished and brushed details and stands at 12.2-mm tall, thanks, in part, to the box-style sapphire crystal. The closed caseback of the Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain features the Greubel Forsey mission statement engraved in relief.
It’s no secret that smaller case dimensions are trending upwards these days and seeing a brand like Greubel Forsey, justifiably recognized as one of the leading independent brands in the contemporary watch industry, take the time to develop a watch in the sub-40-mm range that stands up to their superlative quality standards is just another sign of our evolving tastes.
The Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain is limited to 33 pieces in white gold and is priced at CHF 195,000.