Greubel Forsey Balancier S
The Greubel Forsey Balancier S features an ovoid case made of Grade 5 titanium with rubber accents. The dial indications include hours, minutes, small seconds and a power-reserve indicator. Unusually, the balance wheel is inclined at 30°, in order to augment chronometry, and is presented at the base of the dial.
Greubel Forsey operates from a highly unusual atelier. One half is an old farmhouse, while the other is a high-tech sloping structure endowed with vast swathes of glass, designed to bathe workbenches with an abundance of natural light. Unusually, the sloping roof of the building is clad in grass, sometimes tempting sheep to graze upon its roof. The building is intended to act as a metaphor: a celebration of watchmaking traditions and a willingness to embrace modernity.
Founded in 2004 by Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey, the firm has repeatedly shown a capacity for innovation, registering numerous patents over the years. Greubel Forsey has also relentlessly pursued precision, continuously seeking advances in the field of chronometry. And yet, it does not abandon the past, choosing to focus on high-end finishing, expertly imparted with the deft use of hands and tools.
Its latest creation, the Greubel Forsey Balancier S, fuses the brand’s technical mastery and peerless finishing with an overtly sporty aesthetic. Housed in a generously proportioned ovoid case, measuring 45mm x 43mm, the new model is conspicuously neoteric. Unusually, the balance wheel is positioned at the base of the dial and inclined at 30° in order to enhance chronometry. The wearer is indulged with dial-side views of the balance wheel, oscillating to and fro.
The model’s inventory of functions includes hours, minutes, small seconds and a power-reserve indicator. The case is formed of Grade 5 Titanium with rubber accents, while the finishing includes frosting, graining, bevelling as well as highly desirable black polishing.
The brand’s press release (August 2020)
An avant-garde case
Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have been creating innovative mechanisms since 2004. Invention and creativity being two fundamental strands woven into the DNA of Greubel Forsey, with this expertise they are continuing to explore new paths of case architecture and its integration with their movement constructions. Late 2019, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey pioneered a new chapter with the GMT Sport – the totally new case architecture with sculptural lines combining ergonomics, robustness and comfort. Today, Greubel Forsey continues this approach, presenting a new interpretation of the unique case displaying its completely new movement. Circular from above, this case reveals the unique arched ovoid shape from other angles, features integrated lugs and strap, and a satin-finished bezel engraved with Greubel Forsey’s key values. The new “Balancier S” achieves a slim profile, reinforcing its dynamic new momentum.
The rubber crown and caseband with rubber inserts assure excellent grip and protection of the timepiece. The oval, arched sapphire crystal follows the curvature of the case. The perfect osmosis between the case and the movement is emphasized, technically
and visually, by a daring double suspended arched bridge holding an inclined gear train and curved central hour and minute hands. These striking elements integrate and extend over the inclined balance wheel giving the timepiece its powerful identity, but also assuring its outstanding chronometric performance.
A focus on chronometry
The large inclined balance wheel at 7 o’clock stands out. Aiming above all to improve chronometry, it maximises the space offered by the arched case and sapphire crystal, inextricably linking form and function. In their relentless quest for precision and performance, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have already challenged chronometry, notably by reinventing the tourbillon mechanism with the Tourbillon 24 Secondes, Quadruple Tourbillon and the Double Tourbillon 30°. They chose a new approach here, based on their large balance wheel unveiled in 2016. Entirely developed and made within the Greubel Forsey Atelier, this balance wheel is distinguished by its oversized 12.6mm diameter, ensuring excellent timekeeping performance. To allow fine timekeeping adjustment of the moment of inertia, the balance wheel rim is fitted with six gold regulating screws, inset so as to limit air friction. In this new hand wound calibre, with several patents pending, the imposing Greubel Forsey balance wheel can be seen in an inclined construction for the very first time. This 30° angle with respect to the horizontal plane of the movement proves to be an outstanding solution for limiting timing errors due to the effects of gravity on the regulating organ (balance wheel, spring and escapement) in stable positions. Combined with the large diameter of the balance wheel and the frequency of 21,600 vibrations/hour, it provides this timepiece with excellent chronometric performance – it’s also prominently visible in action due to the unique movement architecture.
A showcase of exceptional craftsmanship
With two coaxial barrels mounted in series, the 308- component movement has a 72-hour chronometric power reserve, indicated on a sector at 2 o’clock using an openworked red-tipped hand. The central hours and minutes display, with profiled and openworked polished steel hands, is completed by a small seconds hand on the inclined plane of the escapement at 8 o’clock, accentuating the depth and relief of this new calibre. Following the Greubel Forsey creative spirit, technical and architectural innovation is accomplished with unconditional care and craftsmanship for all the components of the movement – whether these are visible through the sapphire crystal, the transparent caseback or hidden in the mechanical mysteries within. This traditional and irreplaceable artisanal know-how is mastered in the Greubel Forsey Atelier – frosting, polished bevels and countersinks, circular and straight graining highlight even the smallest surfaces. The use of titanium for the mainplate and bridges proved much more difficult for manual hand-finishing than steel or even nickel silver and further increases the technical and aesthetic challenge that this timepiece represents.
S for sport
The exceptional chronometry of this Greubel Forsey creation is combined with an unequivocally sporty case. Made of titanium and water resistant to 100 metres, its powerful case shape is distinguished by its lightness and comfort on the wrist. Its robustness protects the movement, in particular its large balance wheel, tested in the Greubel Forsey EWT Laboratory assuring its reliability and chronometric performance at all times. The flexible and resistant rubber strap reinforces the sporty dimension, with all the comfort of a titanium folding clasp.
With the “Balancier S”, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey take another step in their exploration of new technical and aesthetic horizons. Rarely has a timepiece with sport-orientated characteristics displayed such chronometric performance so visibly. Rarely has a watch with a sporting vocation presented such a degree of craftsmanship in movement and case. An exclusive alliance between creativity and performance, the Art of Invention, signed Greubel Forsey.