When Greubel Forsey introduced its first Double Tourbillon 30º Technique timepiece, its goal was simple: to construct the watch and its movement in such a way that the wearer could observe the movement parts and their interactions with as unobstructed a view as possible. With the newest version of the watch, the Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30º Technique Sapphire, the brand takes the concept to what it feels is its logical conclusion.
Limited to just eight pieces and exclusive to the United States, the timepiece features a solid sapphire case that has been carefully machined from a single block of sapphire crystal. The aim, of course, is to offer full visual access to the multi-level movement, with its two tourbillons, from all possible angles. According to brand co-founder Stephen Forsey, the “story” of this piece began with its first successful experiment with sapphire bridges in the movement of its Quadruple Tourbillon watch several years ago, which incentivized him and partner Robert Greubel to expand from the two dimensions of movement bridges to the three dimensions of a complete case, all the way down to its rounded, multiple-angled lugs.
The case of the Double Tourbillon 30º Technique Sapphire is 49.95 mm and 17.15 mm thick, just a bit larger than those of its predecessors in rose gold, white gold, platinum and titanium. The crown, engraved with the GF logo, is also made of sapphire. The dial-side sapphire hour ring has galvanic-growth hour indices filled with lacquer; the red lacquer-filled “12” index at 12 o’clock makes its debut on this model. The small seconds and power-reserve displays are both on gold subdials with red triangle indicators; the openworked, polished-gold hour and minute hands are filled with Super-LumiNova.
The manual-wind movement, which carries an impressive power reserve of 120 hours in four series-coupled barrels, features a patented system in which an inner tourbillon, inclined at a 30º angle and making the traditional one rotation per minute, is paired with an outer tourbillon making a more unusual one rotation every four minutes. (The two tourbillon cages together account for 132 of the movement’s 396 total parts.) Like its predecessors in precious metal cases, this watch’s movement boasts the high level of micromechanical complexity and haute horlogerie finishes that this brand’s aficionados have come to expect, among them olive-domed jewels (43 of them) in gold chatons; a variable-inertia balance wheel with white-gold screws; a balance spring with Phillips terminal curve; nickel silver mainplate and bridges with frosted and spotted finishes and beveled edges. The individual number of the watch is engraved on a gold plate attached to one of the bridges.
Besides the larger case and the red “12,” the other significant new element separating this watch from previous versions is the Greubel Forsey “brand values” French text, usually engraved in tiny lettering on the case sides but here embossed into the interior of the black rubber strap. The watch also comes with two other strap options, one a hand-sewn alligator leather strap, the other a transparent rubber strap matching the look of the case. All are equipped with titanium folding clasps engraved with the GF logo. To be clear (get it?), the price of admission to this exclusive eight-person club is steep, as one would expect: the Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30º Technique Sapphire is priced at approximately $1.1 million.