Sunday, 29 November 2009

a marriage of art, science and some magic… the enthralling creations of greubel forsey…

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The following post is a short report from some time I had with two amazing timepieces by Greubel Forsey... My thanks to their excellent Marketing & Communications team and the fine folks at Yafriro in Singapore for this.

Greubel Forsey is a high end watch manufacture producing some of the most exceptional and exclusive timepieces in the world today. From my short journey in learning more about them, to my knowledge, their philosophy is on inventing innovative and new mechanisms in horlogerie, as evident in their pursuit of inventing relevant tourbillon systems for the wrist watch, which will actually contribute to its accuracy and chonometrie [as most watch enthusiasts know, the main purpose of the tourbillon in its original form was to negate the effects of gravitational pull in the vertical position for pocket watches as it was worn in that manner].

In this pursuit, they first came out with the Double Tourbillon 30° at Baselworld in 2004 (which has a second carriage inclined at 30° placed inside the first carriage), followed by the Quadruple Tourbillon Differential in 2005 and the Tourbillon 24 sec incline in 2006, creating what many, myself included, view as highly sophisticated mechanical wonders.

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In the metal, these watches are pretty spectacular. they have a nice substantial feeling, a certain lustrousness to them, a solidity in the hand and on the wrist. An impressive aesthetic all round… the fine hand finishing of the frosted bridges married with wonderful beveled edges and black polish, speculaire combined in the harmonious architecture of its movement… and the dance of its ‘whirlwinds’… magnificent…

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So who is responsible for crafting these fine testaments to contemporary horological art and science? Two gents from very different backgrounds… one from Alsace, France and one from St. Albans, England. One the son of a watchmaker and the other with a grandfather who worked in Bentley and Rolls Royce and a father who was an industrial chemist … their worlds came together when Robert brought Stephen into his team at AP Renaud et Papi and the rest of it? Well, its history in the making :) Recent deserved winners in the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève 2009 [Double Tourbillon “Technique” was awarded with the “Best Complicated” prize during the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie in Genève 2009 and the Quadruple Tourbillon won the “Best Complicated watch” at the 2009 Asian edition] and a 2009 Prix Gaïa at the MIH for the 'Esprit d'entreprise', i think its safe to say that they will be receiving a lot more awards & plaudits in the future… [one to keep a look out for is the Chronometrie 2009 competition organized by the Watchmaking Museum in Le Locle with results out 3 Dec 2009… the results of this will be most interesting, whoever wins it…]

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[ click to read the rest of the post... expand or collapse ]

The photos here then are of watches that exemplify mechanical excellence, fantastic finishing and are horological wonders to me. My hats off to the dynamic and passionate team at Greubel Forsey in their pursuit of excellence and breakthroughs in mechanical art and I look forward to further acquainting myself with them and their magnificent creations.


the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Incliné with a high angular velocity single inclined ultra-light tourbillon cage...
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next the Quadruple Tourbillon a Différentiel Sphérique...with its four tourbillons connected by a spherical differential which supplies the energy and allows for the mean average timekeeping result of the four tourbillons working together
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tempted to walk out the shop with this one or the lovely rose gold black dial version but then i caught sight of the price tag...lets just say that rarity, exclusivity does come at a price & rightly so... ;)
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Other worthwhile references

A short video about Greubel Forsey…


& some wonderful movement videos by Ian Skellern...the Quadruple Tourbillon à Différentiel Sphérique


the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Incliné by Greubel Forsey


& another video of a greubel forsey’s movements


A fair amount of info on the brand can be found on their site too of course click here... and on the horomundi greubel forsey forum moderated by the inimitable Ian Skellern

6 comments:

Ron Freeman said...

Ralph- Thank you for putting together such an in depth article on the timepieces made by Greubel Forsey. I was unaware of these two brilliant watch makers. Do they exhibit at Basel world?

Raphael Too said...

hi Ron, u're most welcome. they used to exhibit in baselworld but for 2010 they will be exhibiting in sihh.
cheers
raph

Ron freeman said...

Ralph- Question for you. Do you feel there will be some interesting timepieces at Basel this Spring?

Raphael Too said...

Hi Ron, sorry for not coming back sooner... noting that i have no inside knowledge, my feel and expectation is that everyone knows they can't get by with rolling out color changes and materials changes and slapping a limited edition on a piece and charging double for it.

folks will be more discerning in what they will pick up and will be looking for real values... real innovation... real limiteds... good stories, concepts, philosophies... and good values...

if the brands are smart and can answer this then i think we can expect a great crop of watches coming up thru all the price ranges :)

cheers
raph

Ben O said...

Hi Raplph,

I enjoy reading your blog tremendously together with your fabulous collection of watches.

I read a previous post that you have managed to re-case a Frodsham pocket watch. Thing is, I got myself a JLC pocket watch recently, any idea where I could find someone to make the case and house the movement in Singapore?

Raphael Too said...

Hi Ben, apologies for not commenting sooner. glad u enjoy the blog. i can't point you to someone who could do the recasing here though. the guy i dealt with was in europe and dissapeared and has become uncontactable.
sorry mate. all the best to u on your journey :)
cheers
raph

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