To a watch connoisseur, the name Greubel Forsey (well, names, actually –Stephen Forsey and Robert Greubel, the two founders, met while both were working at Audemars Piguet’s high complications lab, Renaud & Papi) has thus far meant one thing: the fanatically single minded pursuit of one of the most quixotic goals in horology. That goal is the refinement of a complication invented two hundred years ago by A. L. Breguet, and which was intended to improve human mastery of time: the complication known as the tourbillon. The tourbillon takes the components of a watch most critical to accuracy and places them in a rotating carriage, in order to diminish the disturbing effects of gravity when those components are kept for too long in a single position. In pursuit of this mission Greubel Forsey has created some of the most mechanically sophisticated new tourbillons ever made, as well as the most beautiful, and though the harsh light of real world testing is something some tourbillon makers shy away from, Greubel Forsey, as of this year, can point to the fact that they won first prize in the world’s only international accuracy contest –the Concours International de Chronometrie –with one of their tourbillons.
Their latest watch has a name as simple as the watch is complex: the GMT. For the first time Greubel Forsey have added a significant additional complication to what have heretofore been physical manifestations of the pure pursuit of chronometric performance improvements (though it is also true that their timepieces are among the most fanatically beautifully finished and crafted in the world.) The GMT is a world time watch that incorporates Greubel Forsey’s signature inclined tourbillon as well, with two additional indications. The one most likely to capture the eye first is the gorgeous three dimensional globe in the lower left quadrant of the dial –the sphere is a “flying ” construction, supported only at the south pole of the globe, and shows the Earth as seen from above the North Pole. A day/night equitorial index –white on the day side and black on the night –shows not only the hour but also the proximity to sunrise or sunset for any longitude on Earth. A delightful addition to the design is the cut-out in the flank of the case next to the globe, which not only affords a view of the southern hemisphere as well but also lets in light on the half of the globe on which the sun is shining. In the upper left quadrant is a discreet second time zone display, which can be adjusted with the adjacent pusher, and the dial composition is rounded out by the hour and minute dial, separate dial for the seconds, and the power reserve, placed adjacent to the winding crown.
The owner thus sees each division of time in its own domain, from the rapid movement of the tourbillon with its carriage, and the seconds hand, to the stately and imperceptible progress of the Earth on its axis. On the back of the watch is a 24 city disk; cities which do not use Summer time offsets are shown in black, and a smaller, inner disk allows summer time to be read easily for those which do, as the sector for each city gracefully arcs one time zone over. A gold sun is placed in the correct position relative to the rotation of the Earth depicted schematically on the city disk.
Greubel Forsey’s watches have always been first citizens in the cosmpolis of fine watchmaking. With the GMT, they are now citizens of the world as well.
The Greubel Forsey GMT is available in white gold, priced at $650,000.
PHOTO: Greubel Forsey
Jack Forster is the Editor in Chief of Revolution Magazine, a quarterly publication celebrating the world of fine watchmaking, and he also manages Revolution Online www.revo-online.com the foremost information and discussion site on the internet for watch enthusiasts.