What could you get for 500.000 CHF ? A lot of things and probably a few watches. Greubel Forsey would be one of these. The manufacture, based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, has always proposed some ultra high level pieces, notably its latest GMT, which has been acclaimed by the whole watch industry.
Today, the third invention from Greubel Forsey, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes, is back in a new version. It would pefectly fit a 500.000 CHF enveloppe, as it is precisely priced at 470.000. What’s new with that piece ? The titanium version of its movement. It gives the piece a new look and feel, cold and grey. Two versions are now proposed, with a case in red gold or white gold.
The previous piece from Greubel Forsey was also what we call in the industry a « facelift» : a new version of an existing piece, without any change on dimensions or in the movement. These variations are kind of new to the very traditional manufacture. Greubel Forsey now targets a new type of audience, willing to get the best of Tourbillons and the most exquisite finishing, along with a modern look.
Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain – Shades of grey
In this new version, the sober, pared-down architecture forms a backdrop to the regulator, supported at 6 o’clock by a barely detectable transparent sapphire bridge. The ‘floating’ tourbillon, the long central tripod for the hour and minute hands and the multi-level dial featuring raised sapphire chapter ring, all combine give this timepiece with a real sense of depth. Again, we find here the typical sense of architecture proper to Greubel Forsey.
The metallised hour indexes of the chapter ring are finished in red or white gold, depending on the case material, while markings on a blackened track underneath signal the minutes. Twelve o’clock stands out for being not only the sole numeral (in red or white gold) but also for being raised, descending separately from the chapter ring.
Darker details on the display – such as the power reserve indicator at 4 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock or the 24 seconds tourbillon at 6 o’clock – contrast with the light grey of the titanium movement and integrated titanium bridges, which feature hand-finished straight-graining, frosting and highly polished bevels. For such a level of excellence, Greubel Forsey admits that finishing operations ca take up to 40% of the time requested to get the whole piece done.
Turning over the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain, three NAC-treated anthracite bridges can be glimpsed through the sapphire crystal display back, revealing the full extent of Greubel Forsey’s expertise in fine hand-finishing: mirror-polished bevels (many of which feature internal angles), mirror-polished countersinks, straight-graining and snailed decoration on the mainspring barrel. There are also discrete nods to tradition on this contemporary timepiece, for example the domed olive jewels and heat blued screws, which pay elegant homage to master watchmakers of the nineteenth century.