The Swiss high-end watchmaker has absolutely nothing to hide – and this new case design proves it.
The headquarters and seat of fake Greubel Forsey in La Chaux-de-Fonds is one of the most fascinating buildings in the entire Swiss watch industry. The centerpiece of the facility is a 17th-century farmhouse, purchased in 2007 by company founders Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey. Throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s, the duo worked gradually to expand the building into its current form, which features a tall modernist glass-walled studio swelling from the side of the once quaint log home.
When I visited Greubel Forsey’s manufacturing plant a few years ago, I was amazed to see how differently the two parts of the building were designed. On one side you have all the modern finishes of a contemporary high end watchmaker, clean rooms and on the other side a beautifully restored original 300 year old farmhouse. Watchmakers, craftsmen, and administrative and marketing staff mingle between the two parts of the building throughout the day at zero intervals, even if half the walls of their workspaces might bring you splinters.
The choice to create this building was deliberate, to highlight the two worlds that Greubel Forsey timepieces occupy. The company’s traditional approach to decoration emphasizes old world craftsmanship and craftsmanship – Philippe Dufour is a fan – and then the watch engineering part, and no one in the Swiss watch world has been as avant-garde and progressive as Greubel Forsey this century. These two aspects have always distinguished Greubel Forsey’s watches, and they are clearly reflected in the architecture of Greubel Forsey’s home.
Luckily, Greubel Forsey has re-emphasized architecture in today’s release of the 24-second tourbillon, a new timepiece that opens up a whole new type of case design for the company, as well as a new movement, even if it may have some familiar element.
What’s new at Greubel Forsey?
The Tourbillon 24-Seconds Architecture represents the dawn of a new era for Greubel Forsey, which has gradually taken hold over the past 18 months since the appointment of new CEO Antonio Calce. During that time, we’ve seen the company make some small strategic shifts and structural changes, many of which are reflected in today’s new release.
One of Greubel Forsey’s biggest news so far this year, for example, has been the successful buyback of all outside holdings, including the 20% that Richemont acquired back in 2006. As of today, ownership of the company is split between founders Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey, and new CEO Calce.
Other notable moves include the decision to use only plant-based straps, rather than exotic leather, on the new Greubel Forsey watches. The company has also made a noticeable shift away from newly released precious metals to focus on building its newly identified “Convexe Collection” with lightweight titanium. Another achievement is the company’s desire to produce more watches each year—Greubel Forsey plans to reach 200 for the first time in 2022.
Tourbillon 24 Seconds is an open book
In many respects, the 24-second tourbillon architecture represents the realization of Greubel Forsey’s new aesthetic basis, which was not possible just a few short years ago. Looking at the case itself, it features a titanium chassis with numerous sapphire crystal inserts that act as windows to the movement. Greubel Forsey had previously experimented with separate small sapphire crystal windows in the cases of various watches in 2007, but the tourbillon 24-second architecture was the first time the entire periphery of the watch was so exposed (outside, well, in a full sapphire crystal case), allowing visibility and light to enter the movement from all angles.
When I saw this fake watches at discount in person a few weeks ago, I was particularly attracted by the sapphire crystal window at six o’clock in the case, which is located between the new three-dimensional “variable geometry” lug design, making it unprecedented. Continuously observe the high-speed operation of Gooper’s unique 24-second tourbillon from a different angle.
The case is much more complex than simply combining titanium and sapphire crystal into one design. Greubel Forsey describes the case shape as a “frustum of cone”, which is a delicate way of AP geometry to mean that it is shaped like a hollow cone with no tip, like a lampshade. The convex profile was developed to enhance the ergonomic wrist feel of this model, but the real fun comes when you open the calipers and start measuring the watch. Because the case of the tourbillon 24-second mechanism is so dramatically inverted, the measured diameter of the caseback itself is almost two millimeters (47.05mm) larger than the measured bezel width alone (45mm). One of the benefits of this design is that not only is the watch comfortable to wear (and lightweight, thanks to the use of titanium), but it also looks more compact on the wrist than you might think (the watch is 16.8mm thick at its farthest point). Thankfully, unlike some previous examples like the Tourbillon 24 Secondes, the tourbillon doesn’t have a spherical window into which to slot into your arm.
Before delving into the movement, I want to point out some other aesthetic differences of the 24-second tourbillon architecture. Most notably, Greubel Forsey has introduced a new typeface for its characteristic ‘brand values’, which are usually listed and embossed on places like the rotor, case or case back of the brand’s watches. Instead of the basic sans-serif typeface the company has used in the past, the Tourbillon 24-Seconds architecture uses a font clearly inspired by the world of science fiction, an appropriate choice for such an unorthodox watch design.
Greubel Forsey also appears to have adjusted the motto for the new watches, favoring a shorter single word on the watch’s inner bezel. As far as I know, innovation, passion, and science are all new additions to the listed values, but I can’t lie, I always get a little laugh from lengthy French phrases like Noblesse Esthétique and Oeuvre Unique on Greubel’s Forsey’s watch . I’ll also say that while I think the new Blade Runner-style font fits perfectly with the futuristic aesthetic of the Tourbillon 24-second architecture, I hope they have options for future applications because I can’t imagine it going with the Every future version of Greubel Forsey works together. (It does, however, complement the dense phobia-inducing motifs on the front and back of the mainspring barrel.)
The movement and dial of the tourbillon 24-second architecture are the same. For all intents and purposes, there are no dials on the watch, just the three-dimensional peaks, valleys and structures that frame the movement. Hours and minutes are indicated by a central earpiece in polished steel, bent by hand to fit the sapphire crystal dome above. The hands tell the time via twelve small, luminescent quadrangular components attached to the edge of the inner case. Small sub-dials appear to float on a cylinder near eight o’clock, dominated by a large red triangle that is the running seconds display.
I’m also delighted to see the return of the three-legged support bridge with this new watch, which supports the central earpiece and provides the necessary visual weight to accentuate the contrast between the watch’s main timekeeping capabilities and the fast-spinning tourbillon directly below it. This triple bridge used to carry the central earpiece was once a signature visual element of Greubel Forsey, but over time it has more or less disappeared from the series, with the exception of the Balancier contemporary released today and soon to be discontinued. . However, as with many of Greubel Forsey’s timepieces, the tourbillon is always the main attraction.
speeding and leaning
The regulating organ used in the new best price watches is identified by its name: Tourbillon 24 Secondes. First launched in 2007, it was one of the earliest achievements under the Greubel Forsey brand, following the release of the original Double Tourbillon 30° watch in 2004 by Greubel Forsey. (Greubel Forsey) started their brand with that.
As its name suggests, the 24-second tourbillon moves much faster than a normal tourbillon, completing a full revolution every 24 seconds instead of 60. Not only is it fast, the tourbillon mechanism is also slightly tilted, tilted at a constant 25-degree inclination relative to the vertical axis. As we all know, the tourbillon consists of a cage containing the balance, hairspring and escapement, and is constantly rotating to prevent the adverse effects of gravity on isochronism. It was originally developed for pocket watches by Abraham-Louis Breguet more than 220 years ago, so today it is easy to dismiss the tourbillon as a superfluous addition to modern wristwatches. However, Greubel Forsey has always believed that the tourbillon can have a real impact on the precision of the watch. The tourbillon just needs to be adjusted or manipulated in some form or fashion. This is the basic principle on which the company has been built since its inception.
The concept behind the tilting 24-second tourbillon is actually relatively simple. The team at Greubel Forsey determined that by running the tourbillon at a higher speed and at a slight inclination, many of the most prominent problems of changing position of the regulating components could be eliminated. It is true – if the tourbillon is placed at a slight angle, it will not be pushed to the same height as if it were placed vertically or horizontally. By running at a faster speed, any individual tuning component reduces the time spent in positions where gravity can negatively affect speed. (Other watchmakers have experimented with tilting balances and tourbillons over the years, but none have perfected it quite like Greubel Forsey.)
The tourbillon is held at six o’clock by a massive bifurcated titanium bridge that has a beautiful smooth mirror finish with absolutely no harsh lines or angles. Greubel Forsey told me it takes up to 15 hours to hand polish a bridge of this style. A second, larger fork-shaped bridge with the same relaxed polished finish supports the mainspring barrel in the upper left corner of the dial. The way those bridges rise over the rest of the moving parts almost reminds me of pinball bumpers; I can imagine a little metal ball tipping around the rest of the movement. The barrel is hidden behind the cover, but what makes this part of the watch so bulky is the fact that there are a total of three series-coupled barrels stacked underneath,
This leads to the final function of the tourbillon’s 24-second structure, the power-reserve display. Hidden in plain sight, it sits near three o’clock and is supported by its own free-standing titanium slab bridge. The red triangles indicate the remaining operating autonomy on the scale on the lower cone. top quality watches
Every aspect of the tourbillon’s 24-second construction has been intensively and extensively decorated by hand. Those bridges for the tourbillon and mainspring barrel? I have no doubt that someone has spent days polishing titanium to achieve the full finish. The Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture is like many Greubel Forsey watches, no matter where you look on the dial, it can be studied and scrutinized with a magnifying glass. I found myself drawn to the dichotomous finish used for the upper right bridge of the watch. The transition from polished black to frosted bridges is unexpectedly dramatic, and I couldn’t help but soak up the details of it all.
Flip the watch over and Greubel Forsey has rendered the back of the movement in his typically simple fashion, except it now has a more futuristic look to better match the rest of the tourbillon’s 24-second architecture. The main visible bridges on this side of the watch are heavily brushed, providing an understated contrast to the veritable horological cityscape on the dial side, but there’s still plenty of magic in the details. I counted at least 18 exterior and interior corners throughout the caseback view.
it’s all about construction
The Tourbillon 24 Seconds structure is made up of hundreds of tiny parts and assemblies, each intricately designed, machined and engineered to fit and work together. Their only goal is to represent the passage of time as precisely as possible. How this is achieved is entirely up to the ingenuity of each watchmaker, and many prefer to hide their horological creativity with traditional dials or closed casebacks. Greubel Forsey isn’t afraid to make it all public; they know what’s worth seeing. copy watches for men