Six years went into its development, yet at first glance the Greubel Forsey Signature 1 is the most "simple" timepiece in their portfolio. A closer inspection however, reveals that both inside and out, the Signature 1 has received no less attention than one of their elaborate tourbillon-endowed models.
We can safely file this new model under "accessible Haute Horlogerie"a new genre in the watch industry, and one which has my firm approval. Characterised by hand-finishing you can hardly describe pieces such as the Greubel Forsey Signature 1 as"entry level" without sounding disparaging, even so such pieces do represent affordability considering the extraordinary detailing, quality and craftsmanship involved in their creation. Penned and built by this generation of watchmakers with a nod to the past, pieces such as the Signature 1 promise to become heirloom watches in the future and just like in the old days, these particular models will be signed their creator, Didier Cretin a long-time member of the Greubel Forsey team.
The Signature 1 is powered by a new movement executed using one of traditional watchmaking's rules - Big Balance = Better Accuracy. When a suitable mechanism could not be sourced, the team undertook its production themselves, and created their own 12.6mm balance wheel - and you can view its compelling motion as it goes about its business at a leisurely 18,000 vph. It is quite right that the balance should demand dial domination and it is showcased superbly against its black bridge backdrop.
Elsewhere, this is a pristinely beautiful watch, from the three-dimensional and quirky asymmetrical characteristics of it dial (where Geneva stripes make a brand debut), to the exquisite industrial plainness of the GFS1 movement. Both the off-centre subdial for the hours and minutes and the little small seconds dial which rests atop the first wheel are made from white gold, the hands have been flame-blued, edges have been hand-chamfered and everywhere there are subtle contrasting finishes and fine detailing which, without a loupe or a macro lens would otherwise go unnoticed.
The Greubel Forsey Signature 1 will be a limited edition of 11 red gold models, 11 in white gold, 11 in platinum and interestingly, 33 pieces in stainless steel with the first 11of these equipped with blue dials and made exclusively for the US market.
More details and specifications at the Greubel Forsey official website here.
From our archives
and another Greubel Forsey Collaboration