This is the Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic, a timepiece with a heritage rich in motorsport. Motorsport? - but where are the chrono counters, the turbine inspired bits, the aerodynamic, ergonomic pushers? This watch, would at a first glance appear to be as purely classical as it gets and completely uncluttered with such paraphernalia. In fact the rich motorsport heritage is not part of the watch's make-up at all, instead it forms an important and integral part of the legacy of the watchmaker.
Laurent Ferrier is not simply a racing car enthusiast, he has taken part in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race no less than seven times - in 1977 he formed part of the team which won the 2 litre Prototype Category, in 1979 his drive in the Kremer Porsche 935T helped his team take third overall, an outstanding result considering M.Ferrier was not a full-time professional racing driver, in fact he had a rather important day job - at Patek Philippe. When M.Ferrier left his position with Patek Philippe, his employer for almost forty years, it was to found his own brand making timepieces which would represent a synopsis of his watchmaking skills gained thus far, and with the ambition of improving on anything he possibly could.
In 2010 Laurent Ferrier presented to the industry the first watch bearing his name. In the same year this timepiece won the prize for Men's Watch Category at the Grand Prix d'Horologerie in Geneva - an unheard of scenario and one which was surely the envy of some of the more established brands. The piece was the Galet Classic, an elegantly styled and understated piece with a plainness which belied the craftsmanship and innovation which went into its creation. The Galet Classic is still spoken about with a hushed reverence by collectors and fellow-watchmakers alike.
The latest edition of the Galet Classic features a 41mm red gold case, rounded, polished and classical. This is a watch abound with subtleties - the slate-grey dial is delicately satin-brushed, the applied Roman Numerals are as skinnied and elongated as they can possibly be, the slender flattened spear-head hour and minute hands are eye-lash slim and the recessed small seconds dial is perfectly placed and proportioned.
Inside is the exclusive FNB916.01, developed, assembled and adjusted by Laurent Ferrier - a calibre as "in-house" as it needs to be, a movement which only reveals its hidden tourbillon when you turn the piece over. It's double hairspring construction further compensates for gravity's effects by keeping the balance centred on its own axis. Added accuracy from the calibre's high amplitude and through manual adjustment of the escapement make this an extremely precise timepiece, one which has been unusually "Observatory Chronometer" tested at Besançon and has been found to have a daily variation of under 3 seconds. Also notable is the hand-wound system which, as a nod to tradition, replaces the modern lever spring with a "long blade" pawl ensuring smoother winding - guaranteed to heighten the ceremonial pleasure of winding - this mechanism will sound different, feel different - is different. The flawless attention to detail and finishing which has become a notable feature on all Laurent Ferrier wristwatches is evident on even the most miniscule parts.
This edition of the Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic will be shown to the industry at Basel 2012.
More details at the Laurent Ferrier Official Website.