“Micro-decoration” (as I call it) is a thing of love. It is the process whereby fine watches are made even finer because of an enormous amount of time spent on making the movement look pretty. There are functional uses to decorating a movement – such as corrosion prevention and ensuring that parts fit together properly, but obsessively meticulous decoration is a matter of pride for watch makers.
One of the most common types of decoration is something called “anglage.” This is literally the process of applying “angles” to the bridges and other components in a movement – and the 594 piece movement in this Greubel Forsey Invention Piece Number 2 watch has a ton of it. The sheer majesty of decorated parts in the Invention Piece 2’s movement is where a lot of the value is derived when trying to understand the timepiece’s high cost. You also get the privilege of knowing that you have one of the world’s most difficult to master complications, times four.
While this isn’t the first time Greubel Forsey has offered a watch with four tourbillons, it is the grandest. In fact, the Swiss brand went from the Invention Piece Number 1 to the Number 3, skipping over this one because the 2 just needed more work. For 2011 the Invention Piece 2 makes its long await debut, offering the holy trinity of elements that makes the ultra-high-end watch maker so desirable. Those three elements are incredible complexity, incredible decoration and finishing, and in this instance specially, beautiful aesthetics.
Where are the four tourbillons? What we essentially see are two tourbillons that have tourbillons within tourbillons. Without sounding like I am describing part of the plot from the film Inception, allow to me explain. Each of the distinct horizontally aligned tourbillon structures spins once each four minutes. Inside of them each is a diagonally mounted tourbillon that spins once each minute. All four of them work together to regulate the time displayed on the off-center dial. The face of the watch also contains a power reserve indicator (of 56 hours through three barrels) for the manually wound movement, as well as a seconds indicator (in case that was too confusing to read via the tourbillons). The upper tourbillon has a sapphire plate with four hands to read its four minute revolution time.
Greubel Forsey’s method of decorating the movement to look impressive but not overpower views of the important mechanics was quite skillful. The mainplate is done in a “frosted finish” that is now becoming more en vogue in such pieces, and was the norm on high-end pocket watches from two centuries ago. On the dial a mixture of silver and golden colors blend with red and blue accents for an aristocratic demeanor, fitting of the timepiece’s pedigree. This is a watch that succeeds in looking as impressive as it is. Not being an object for everyone, wearing a watch like this is almost a waste if you are not a serious horology enthusiast.
The Invention Piece 2 has a 43.5mm wide case that is 16.28mm thick and comes in either platinum or 18k red gold on a hand-sewn alligator strap. The two versions are limited to just 11 pieces each with a price of $780,000 in red gold and $810,000 in platinum.www.greubelforsey.com.
- 43.5mm wide platinum or red gold case
- Seconds indicator next to power reserve indicator
- One minute tourbillon inside of a four minute tourbillon on each end of the dial
- Intense hand-decoration on all elements of the movement and dial
- Off-centered time dial using a traditional hand for hours and a moving disc for the minutes
- Secret Greubel Forsey message engraved on rear of the watch exclusively for the owner
Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com.