Made especially for the US market in a strictly limited edition of only eight pieces, the Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30° Technique Sapphire is unlike any other watch by the brand. Known for their exquisite and highly complicated movements, Greubel Forsey added for this particular model a complication to the mix: the case!
Crafted from a single block of sapphire crystal, the case is extremely complicated to make. The milling alone is a very slow process, in which the sapphire can break at nearly any time. After this, it has to be polished to perfection, which also takes a tremendous amount of time. Even the slightest imperfection will show, and is therefore not an option. Greubel Forsey opted for a three-part, sandwich case, consisting out of a bezel, middle part and case back, all crafted from sapphire crystal. This even includes the horn-shaped lugs, which are an integrated part of the middle section.
There is usually very little synergy between the case of a watch and its movement, other than protecting it from outside influences such as moist and dust. Only with a minute repeater the material (and construction) of the case impacts the performance of the movement, by enhancing the sound. Otherwise, the case is merely a functional design element. And then there was the sapphire case. Like the “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, it offers a full, and nearly unrestricted, view of the inner workings of the watch.
This has some side-effects. First of all, there is no hiding! With a full 360 degrees view of the movement, the finish has to be perfect everywhere. Perhaps even more so because the sapphire case is an invitation to watch enthusiasts to get up close and personal with the watch, and examine its inner workings. This is another reason why only very few brands use this type of case, next to its complex manufacturing process.
A second side-effect is the light. The sapphire crystal case of the Double Tourbillon 30° Technique Sapphire plays with the light, breaking it, reflecting it, allowing it to penetrate deep into the movement, and with all this highlighting the art of Haute Horlogerie, as practices by Greubel Forsey.
That movement is, of course, worth to be viewed. In fact, Greubel Forsey might have been waiting to put one in a sapphire case, as the finish of each and every part is among the absolute best in the industry, to the point that it is almost scary. It is also mesmerizing, with one tourbillon cage rotating in 60-seconds at an angle of 30°, which is placed inside an outer cage that makes a full rotation every four minutes. While already impressive in the “regular” Double Tourbillon 30°, the sapphire case seems to only enhance the spectacle.
As said before, the Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30° Technique Sapphire is a limited edition of 8 pieces, made only for the US-market and priced at $1.1 million dollars each.