Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin Opaline
Carl Eady reviews the Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin Opaline, a stunning watch produced to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the highly acclaimed Maison. While this new timepiece is one of the brand’s more accessible models, it shares the same impeccable finishing found on the brand’s costliest creations.
Prior to establishing his eponymous company, Laurent Ferrier competed in the upper echelons of motorsport with his close friend, François Servanin. Indeed, the competitive duo achieved success at Le Mans, enjoying a podium finish for the Kremer Racing Team in 1979. Thereafter, in 2010, the two men founded the high-end watch brand, Laurent Ferrier.
Monsieur Ferrier’s talents were not restricted to motorsport, he has been an accomplished watchmaker for many years. In fact, watchmaking is in his blood. Laurent, the son and Grandson of two accomplished watchmakers was drawn into the world of horology, studying the subject in Geneva. He graduated from the Geneva Watchmaking School and embarked on a career at Patek Phillippe. While he left the industry for a while to embark on his motorsport exploits, he would ultimately return to Patek Philippe and worked for the venerated Maison for 30 years, ultimately assuming the role of Technical Director.
Since the firm Laurent Ferrier was established in 2010, it has been the recipient of no fewer than three GPHG awards and is firmly established as one of the world’s leading independent watch brands. Laurent Ferrier has chosen to celebrate this anniversary by introducing a new calibre, housed in a timeless titanium case, creating a simple yet stunning classic sports watch.
The face has a subtle matte silvered finish and is beautifully balanced. The Classic Opaline’s near perfect symmetry is very pleasing to the eye. Soft grey crosshairs emanate from the dial centre, separating the face into four quarters. Long fine hour markers converge at the centre of the dial, with the 3 o’clock, 9 o’clock and 12 o’clock positions fashioned from white gold and polished to perfection. A traditional chemin de fer adorns the perimeter, punctuated by rich burgundy Arabic numerals to reflect the 24-hour clock. On balance, the Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin Opaline encamps itself in the sports watch category, however, the slender Assegai shaped hands, finished in 18K white gold, add a delightful dose of formality and elegance to the model’s appearance.
As with many of its previous pieces, Laurent Ferrier has incorporated a snailed small-seconds display at the six o’clock position. Its simple white gold pointer reaches out to the burgundy second markers completing the stunning dial estate.
Throughout its first 10 years, Laurent Ferrier has created an unmistakable design language, with elegance and simplicity at the heart of every creation. The Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin Opaline does nothing to diminish this reputation and has deservedly received universal acclaim since its launch.
Previous masterpieces from the brand have been fashioned from stainless steel, gold or platinum. The Classic Origin Opaline sees the brand turn its talents to titanium for the first time. Its advantages are many, being hypoallergenic, corrosion-resistant and lightweight. In the brands relatively short life, it has produced a number of different case shapes, all to an exceptional standard. Whilst the ‘Classic’ case is perhaps the most understated, its sumptuous curves showcase the incredible finishing. Every surface of the case receives the same meticulous attention to detail, including the elegantly curved lugs.
At 40mm by 10.7mm, its proportions will suit most wrists and the watch will readily slip beneath a shirt cuff should a moment of discretion be required. A nostalgic onion-shaped crown offers the perfect complement to the rounded case style. On the reverse, Laurent Ferrier has opted for a sapphire exhibition caseback to afford the wearer the opportunity to view the latest movement at close quarters.
As part of its 10-year anniversary celebrations, Laurent Ferrier has created a new calibre, the hand-wound Calibre LF 116.01. Some industry observers may have expected the brand to have released a new highly elaborate tourbillon. However, while this new movement may be less complicated than some of the company’s creations, it upholds the brand’s reputation for peerless refinement.
The bridges are finished in black rhodium which has been microblasted to give it a matte lustre. Every edge is perfectly bevelled by hand, including the notoriously tricky ‘inward angle’, in this instance on the balance bridge, which has been beautifully executed. Such attention to the smallest details always delights watch aficionados. Even on a ‘simpler’ movement such as the Calibre LF116.01, each screw head has been mirror-polished, synthetic rubies ‘pop’ from the microblasted bridges and gilded engraving graces the bridges. The profile of the bridges affords sight of the free-sprung balance and the escapement. The balance wheel oscillates calmly at 3Hz and, assuming the mainspring is fully wound, the movement will run for a highly respectable 80 hours.
Laurent Ferrier has selected a Barbialla calf leather strap for the Classic Origin Opaline. Its light brown earthy tone is a perfect accompaniment to the silvered dial and burgundy accents. An Alcantara leather lining further enhances wearer comfort. A simple pin buckle secures the strap which is finished in Grade 5 titanium, matching the case.
With the introduction of the Classic Origin Opaline, Laurent Ferrier has once again shown why its watches are highly prized by collectors and revered by experts. Many of the brand’s trademark characteristics are in evidence such the Assegai shaped hands, long indexes, small seconds and, of course, the Maison’s exceptional finishing. The firm’s use of lightweight Grade 5 titanium for the case adds a sporty note to the composition, potentially engaging with a younger audience. Likewise, the railway track markings and colourful accents also reinforce the model’s contemporary character. Introducing the less decorated, yet no less capable LF 116.01 movement manoeuvres the brand into a more accessible territory and engages with a previously untapped audience.
In just 10 years Laurent Ferrier, the eponymous brand, has proven ‘time after time’ its ability to produce watches of the highest order, frequently demanded by today’s well educated and informed collectors. The Classic Origin Opaline is certainly a worthy watch to celebrate a stellar 10-year anniversary.
- Model: Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin Opaline
- Reference: LCF036.TI.G1G
- Case: Grade 5 titanium; diameter 40mm; height 10.70mm; water resistance 3ATM (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front; exhibition caseback.
- Functions: hours; minutes; small seconds
- Movement: Calibre LF 116.01; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 21 jewels; power reserve 80 hours.
- Strap: Brown Barbialla calf leather with Alcantara lining paired with a pin buckle in Grade 5 titanium
- Price: 28,500 CHF