Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have been called inventors first and watchmakers second. When visiting their manufacture, the diagrams and formulas that adorn many interior surfaces support this impression. The inventor reference is certainly no insult – the same might be said of Abraham-Louis Breguet. Greubel Forsey’s approach to watchmaking is, if not singular, certainly rare. Some watchmakers are known for creativity, and others for fine finishing. Greubel and Forsey combine the two like no other – art and science in pursuit of perfection.
Greubel Forsey timepieces may be produced in extremely limited quantities, but collectors can rejoice in the duo’s belief that when it comes to aesthetics, variety is the spice of life. And so it is that at this year’s SIHH, Greubel Forsey presented something special for those who appreciate not only inventiveness and the highest levels of craftsmanship, but also a traditional, understated look – the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision.
Within the Greubel Forsey range, this new creation is distinguished by its elegant simplicity. This piece incorporates Greubel Forsey’s third invention in a case designed to present a slender silhouette while still accommodating the unique inclined tourbillion cage. This sleight of hand (wrist?) is made possible by a small dome in the sapphire caseback. The dome frames the lower tourbillon bridge and its unique arched and barreled surface. Achieving a perfect finish on this complex component presents such a challenge that each bridge is discretely signed by the craftsman who executed it.
Unlike some manufacturers, Greubel Forsey does not limit the finest finishing to a few visible components. The same standard applies to all 288 parts in the movement. This drive to achieve perfection underlies the rarity of Greubel Forsey timepieces. On average, the brand produces fewer than 100 watches per year.
The combination of inventiveness and the finest hand finishing means that the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision is as technically impressive as it is beautiful. The ultra-light tourbillion cage consists of 86 parts, yet weighs just .38 of a gram. The cage is inclined at 25 degrees and it completes a rotation every 24 seconds, putting high angular velocity to work to tame positional errors.
The Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision will be produced in a unique edition of 22 numbered pieces in white gold, offered at US$325,000.