Hands-on Greubel Forsey makes everything work in the new 24-second tourbillon architecture

The high-end Swiss watchmaker has absolutely nothing to hide – and this new case design proves it.

Greubel Forsey‘s headquarters and headquarters 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 that company founders Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey purchased in 2007. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, the couple gradually worked to expand the building to its current form, which features a tall, modernist, glass-walled studio that swells from the side of the once quaint wooden house.

When I visited Greubel Forsey’s manufacturing facility a few years ago, I was amazed at how different the two parts of the building were designed. On the one hand, you have all the modern attire of a contemporary high-end watchmaker, with plenty of clean rooms, and on the other, a beautifully restored 300-year-old original farmhouse. Watchmakers, artisans, administration and marketers mingle with zero spacing between the two parts of the building throughout the day, even if the walls of half their workspaces might give you a crack.

The choice to build this building was intentional and aimed to highlight the two worlds that Greubel Forsey timepieces occupy. The company’s traditional approach to decor emphasizes old-world craftsmanship and craftsmanship – Philippe Dufour is a big fan of it – and then horological engineering components, and no one in the Swiss watch world is as edgy and aggressive as Greubel Forsey. this century. These two aspects make Greubel Forsey watches consistently distinctive, and they are clearly reflected in the architecture of the Greubel Forsey home.

Luckily, Greubel Forsey has re-emphasized architecture in today’s launch of the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture, a new timepiece that pioneered an entirely new type of case design for the company, as well as a new movement, even if it might There are some familiar elements.

What’s new at Greubel Forsey?
Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture represents the dawn of a new era for Greubel Forsey, which has come to dominate over the past 18 months since new CEO Antonio Calce took over. During that time, we’ve seen the company make many small strategic shifts and structural changes, many of which are reflected in today’s new release.

For example, one of the biggest news for Greubel Forsey so far this year is that the company has successfully bought back all of its externally held shares, including the 20% Richemont acquired along the way 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 vegetable straps on new Greubel Forsey watches, rather than exotic leather. The company is also making a clear shift away from precious metals in the new release, focusing instead on building the newly identified “Convexe Collection” out of lightweight titanium. Another achievement is the company’s desire to produce more watches each year – Greubel Forsey plans to produce 200 watches for the first time in 2022.

The Tourbillon 24-Second Architecture is an Open Book
In many respects, the tourbillon 24-second architecture represents Greubel Forsey achieving a new aesthetic foundation that was not possible just a few years ago. Just look at the case itself, which features a titanium chassis and features a number of sapphire crystal inserts that act as windows to the movement. Greubel Forsey has previously experimented with individual small sapphire crystal windows in the case of various previous watches, dating back to 2007, but the Tourbillon 24-Second Architecture is the first time that the entire perimeter of a watch has been incorporated. So exposed (externally, well, on the full sapphire crystal case), it allows visibility and light to enter the movement from all angles.

When I saw this watch in person a few weeks ago, I was particularly fascinated by the sapphire crystal aperture at the case’s six o’clock position – located between the new three-dimensional “variable geometry” lugs design – allowing Continue to observe the high-speed action of the unique 24-second tourbillon of Greubel from an unprecedented angle.

The case is more complicated than simply combining titanium and sapphire crystal into one design. Greubel Forsey describes the case shape as a “truncated cone,” a refined AP Geometry term that is shaped like a hollow cone lacking a tip, like a lampshade. The convex profile is designed to enhance the ergonomic feel of the model on the wrist, but the real fun is when you take out the calipers and start measuring the watch. Because the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture’s case is so inverted, the measured diameter of the caseback (47.05mm) is nearly 2mm (47.05mm) larger than the width of the bezel alone (45mm). One of the benefits of this design is that the watch is not only comfortable (and lightweight, due to the use of titanium), but it also looks more compact on the wrist than expected based on size (the watch is 16.8mm thick at the farthest point of the watch). Thankfully, unlike some of the previous examples of the Tourbillon 24 Secondes, there is no bulbous window that would allow the tourbillon to penetrate deep into your arm.

Before diving into the movement, I would like to point out some other aesthetic differences in the tourbillon’s 24-second architecture. Most notably, Greubel Forsey has introduced a new typeface for its unique “brand value”, which is usually listed and embossed somewhere on the rotor, strap or caseback of a branded watch. Unlike the basic sans-serif typefaces the company has used in the past, Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture features a typeface that is clearly inspired by the sci-fi world and is an appropriate choice for this unorthodox watch design.

Greubel Forsey also appears to have tweaked the motto of the new luxury watch, preferring to place a shorter single text 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 long French phrases like Noblesse Esthétique and Oeuvre Unique Fauci watch. I’ll also say that while I think the new Blade Runner-style font works perfectly with the futuristic aesthetic of Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture, I hope they’ll be selective in future applications, as I can’t imagine it will be in every future Works fine with the Greubel Forsey version. (It does, however, complement the intensive phobia-inducing patterns on the front and back of the mainspring barrel.)

On the tourbillon 24-second architecture, the movement and the dial are integrated. For all intents and purposes, there is no dial on the watch, just the three-dimensional peaks, valleys and structures that make up the frame of the movement. Hours and minutes are indicated by a central earpiece made of polished steel and bent by hand to accommodate the expansion of the sapphire crystal above. The hands indicate the time through twelve small, lumen-filled quadrilateral assemblies attached to the edge of the inner case. The small sub-dial appears to float on a cylinder near eight o’clock, dominated by a rather large red triangle, which is the running seconds display.

I’m also happy to see that this new watch features the return of the three-legged support bridge that supports the central earpiece and provides the necessary visual weight to reinforce the watch’s primary timekeeping capabilities against the rapid spins directly below Tourbillon it. This tripartite bridge, used to carry the central phone, was once an iconic visual element of Greubel Forsey, but it has more or less disappeared from the collection over time, with the exception of today’s release and the The outgoing Balancier contemporary. However, like many Greubel Forsey timepieces, the tourbillon will always be the main attraction.

speeding and leaning
The regulating organ used in the new watch is identified by its name: Tourbillon 24 Secondes. First launched in 2007, it was one of Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey’s earliest achievements under the Greubel Forsey banner, after Greubel and Greubel Greubel and Greubel launched their brand in 2004 with the release of the original Double Tourbillon 30°.

As its name suggests, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes moves faster than a regular tourbillon, completing a full revolution every 24 seconds instead of 60. Not only is it fast, the tourbillon mechanism is also slightly inclined, tilting at a constant 25-degree inclination relative to the vertical axis. As we all know, the tourbillon consists of a cage that houses the balance, hairspring and escapement, and rotates constantly to prevent gravity from adversely affecting isochronism. It was originally developed for pocket watches by Abraham-Louis Breguet more than 220 years ago, so today it’s easy to dismiss the tourbillon as a superfluous part in modern watches. However, Greubel Forsey has always believed that the tourbillon can really affect the accuracy of a watch. The tourbillon just needs to be adjusted or operated in some form or way. This is the fundamental principle the company has been built on since its inception.

The concept behind the inclined 24-second tourbillon is actually relatively simple. The team at Greubel Forsey determined that by running the tourbillon at a faster speed and with a slight inclination, many of the most prominent positional deviations of the adjustment assembly could be eliminated. It is true – when the tourbillon is placed on a slight slope, it is not pushed to the same level as when placed vertically or horizontally. And by running at a faster speed, any individual conditioning component doesn’t have enough time to be in a position where gravity could negatively affect the rate. (Other watchmakers have experimented with inclined balances and tourbillons over the years, including the brilliant American watchmakers of the 19th century, but no one has perfected it quite like Greubel Forsey.) https://www.super-watcheswholesale.com

The tourbillon is held in place at six o’clock by a large bifurcated titanium bridge with a beautifully smooth mirror finish with absolutely no harsh lines or angles. Greubel Forsey told me that hand sanding this style of bridge takes 15 hours. A second, larger fork-shaped bridge with the same effortlessly polished finish supports the mainspring barrel in the upper left quadrant of the dial. The way these bridges rise over other moving parts almost reminds me of a pinball bumper. I can imagine a small metal ball tilting for the rest of the motion. The barrels are hidden behind a cover, but this part of the watch is so bulky because a total of three series-coupled mainspring barrels are stacked underneath,

This leads us to the last function of the tourbillon’s 24-second architecture, the power reserve display. Hidden from view, it sits near three o’clock and is supported by its own independent titanium bridge. The red triangle indicates how much operating autonomy is retained on the scale of the lower conical disc.

Every aspect of the tourbillon’s 24-second architecture has been intensively and extensively hand-decorated. Those bridges for the tourbillon and barrel? There is no doubt that a person spends days sanding titanium to perfection. Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture Like many Greubel Forsey watches, no matter where you look on the dial, it can be studied and carefully studied with a magnifying glass. I found myself drawn to the dichotomy used by the bridge in the upper right corner of the watch. The transition from the black polished bridge to the frosted bridge was unexpectedly dramatic, and I couldn’t help but get lost in the details of it all.

Flip the watch over and Greubel Forsey has rendered the back of the movement in typical simplicity, but 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 frosted, providing an understated contrast to the veritable horological cityscape on the dial side, but there’s still a lot of magic in the details. I counted and there are no less than 18 outside and inside corners in the entire caseback view.

it’s all about architecture
The Tourbillon 24-Second Architecture consists of hundreds of tiny parts and assemblies, each intricately engineered, machined and engineered to fit and work together. Their only goal is to present 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 timepiece creativity with a traditional dial or closed caseback. Greubel Forsey is not afraid to show it all. They know what’s worth seeing.