Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Autumn

Angus Davies reviews the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Autumn

This detailed review of the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Autumn includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Square - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

Over the last few weeks I have visited numerous restaurants, devouring rich food and quaffing perhaps too many glasses of red wine. During these visits, I have witnessed an annoying trend for some patrons of restaurants to loudly converse with their neighbour to the point where all other diners hear every minutiae of their discussion. Moreover, the decibel level emanating from such egotistical individuals often renders the desire of those wishing to partake in discreet conversation virtually impossible.

Ironically, the poor quality of this fortissimo prose does not bear any value. It reminds me of some garish watches which loudly proclaim their presence but regrettably lack any merit.

Indeed, I have learnt that some of the most softly spoken voices prove to be the most interesting. This is also the case with fine watches. Laurent Ferrier creates wonderful softly spoken timepieces, exhibiting seemly conduct at all times and conveying all the wonderment synonymous with haute horlogerie.

Visiting the workshops of Laurent Ferrier

Recently, I spent an interesting morning at the workshops of Laurent Ferrier, located in a leafy suburb of Geneva. This company is the very antithesis of the large, industrial factories occupied by some of the major watch brands. The chocolate-box pretty atelier is where small quantities of peerless horological creations come to life.

During my visit, I surveyed the production area, where numerous parts are fastidiously finished and polished by hand removing any signs of machining with the skilful application of assorted tools.

I stood mesmerised as a young, female artisan adroitly used a boxwood peg to polish the bevelled surfaces of a watch component to a blemish free result. The outcome of her endeavour conferred enhanced corrosion resistance, but also a gleaming, angled surface that brilliantly contrasted with the adjacent vertical and horizontal flanks.

This is a world where pristine Côtes de Genève motif and time-consuming black polishing are the rewards for patience and endeavour.

Following the hand finishing and polishing process, the assembly takes place, with much emphasis placed on the regulation of the timepiece. This approach taken by Laurent Ferrier surpasses many accepted norms of chronometer testing. Indeed, a Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Autumn is regulated to within a maximum variation of 5 seconds per day.

I noticed there was a welcome absence of production targets and efficiency savings proclaimed around the walls of premises, as is often the case in large companies. Indeed, I was left with the feeling that perfection was the ubiquitous goal, almost to the exclusion of everything else.

Lost in a world of computer aided design

Following my time in the production area, I entered a modest office and was introduced to Laurent Ferrier and his son, Christian. There, I  spent a couple of hours looking at various computer generated images of the brand’s movements.

Laurent Ferrier - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

Laurent Ferrier

My inner watch nerd came to the fore and each of my questions regarding friction, energy consumption, amplitude and precision were duly answered by the ever-patient Christian. Moreover, I was provided with a wonderful opportunity to enquire about the finishing employed on numerous parts.

Laurent Ferrier CAD drawing - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

It was within the confines of this office that I learnt of the numerous decisions taken by the company when creating its timepieces and the rationale for many of the choices made.

Laurent Ferrier CAD drawing - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

Seduced by my Laurent Ferrier experience, I felt duty-bound to report on my visit and review one of its fascinating timepieces. A horological delicacy which captured my attention and induced salivation on my part was the Galet Square Autumn with its appealing copper-hued dial.

The dial

At Baselworld 2015, Laurent Ferrier presented the Galet Square, a cushion-shaped timepiece offered with two dial options, ‘sun-burst gold’ and blue. Subsequently, an additional dial option was released, the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Autumn. It is this latter model, sporting its unusual, eye-catching dial which, in my opinion, proves especially agreeable.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Square - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

The warm golden, almost copper, tones of the dial engender thoughts of taking country walks, traversing leaf-clad paths and observing the muted character of dappled shade. The dial surface features a vertical satin-brushed finish, divulging different colours depending on the angle of the dominant light source.

‘Drop shaped’ white gold batons denote the hours and the distinctive white gold ‘Assagai-shaped’ hour and minute hands promulgate time with a notable absence of ambiguity. A small seconds display is presented on a recessed, snailed subdial, employing a baton shaped hand.

There is no needless comment or excessive volume to inhibit interpretation. Laurent Ferrier has equipped this watch with an exquisite canvas which artistically blends with the other dial elements to converse with prudent speech and genteel tone.

The case

In 2015, when Laurent Ferrier released the Galet Square, it was the first time the brand had offered a steel timepiece. Indeed, prior to the advent of this model, all of the maison’s watches had only been available in precious metals.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Square - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

Laurent Ferrier Galet Square with ‘sun-burst gold’ dial

Steel is a very honest material, ideally suited to daily wear. Its composition shrugs off scratches more readily than gold and its price makes it more accessible to a wider audience. However, in this instance, where the steel case works especially well, is that it exhibits a mild-mannered disposition, perfectly at ease with the rest of the watch. This is a timepiece which does not crave attention and those of discerning temperament will instantly recognise its greatness.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Square - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

The case measures 41mm x 41mm, proffering widespread appeal and suiting a multitude of different wrist sizes. I found its case accorded a very agreeable fit and welcomed its friendly, unobtrusive union with my arm.

I especially liked the numerous facets to the composition of this case. The upper sapphire crystal arcs with the bezel continuing the same curving trajectory and terminating atop of the case centre. The caseband employs numerous surfaces, each interacting with light and producing in pockets of brilliance and shade.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Square - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

Laurent Ferrier Galet Square with ‘sun-burst gold’ dial

Every aspect of the case is delightfully executed and tastefully understated. The lugs feature curved ends, usurping the mundane but remaining dignified. The crown eschews branding, incorporating neat knurling that proves functional and elegant.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Square - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

The caseback of the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Autumn features a sapphire crystal to accord sight of the movement. The display model I photographed in Geneva did not contain a movement, however, the watch uses the same Calibre 229.01 found in the Galet Micro-Rotor.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Square - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

The chestnut brown alligator leather strap is partnered with a steel pin buckle, again, sans branding. Appraising its form, there is a subtlety to the design of the pin buckle, delivering a soupçon of style without appearing showy.

The movement

I wrote much about the Calibre 229.01 when I previously reviewed the Galet Micro-Rotor and was reminded of its exalted creation whilst writing this review.

Laurent Ferrier Calibre FBN 229.01 - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

Calibre FBN 229.01 fitted within a Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor

Beyond the incredible ingenuity practised by Laurent Ferrier in realising this movement, reinterpreting the natural escapement conceived by Abraham-Louis Breguet, I was struck by the sublime finishing manifest.

Laurent Ferrier Calibre FBN 229.01 - ESCAPEMENT magazine by Angus Davies

Calibre FBN 229.01 fitted within a Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor

The slots and rims of the screws are bevelled. The Côtes de Genève motif on the bridges is superb and probably ranks as some of the finest Geneva stripes I have witnessed. The jewel sinks gleam brilliantly. Large areas of the mainplate adjacent the balance and the micro-rotor are visible, revealing a sea of pristine perlage. I especially like the black polishing on the balance cock and micro-rotor bridge. The wheels feature circular graining, while the crisp and clearly defined internal angles indicate that human hands were employed in their execution.

Closing remarks

My visit to Laurent Ferrier is a tale of seduction. Within moments of crossing the threshold to the workshop, my adoration for this small, independent watchmaker grew exponentially. I always knew this maison created fine timepieces, but it is the exacting methods employed and witnessed first hand that led to my increased appreciation for its work.

Technically, the Calibre 229.01 is incredible, harnessing a combination of modern-technology with time-served watchmaking craft. The evolution of Breguet’s natural escapement has led to an impressive power reserve, despite the movement being equipped with a micro-rotor and measuring only 4.35mm in height.

One drawback of the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Autumn is that, despite numerous attempts, it is incredibly difficult to capture its comely smile with a camera owing to its domed sapphire crystal. Indeed, the only way to truly appreciate its majestic mien is to engage in a one to one conversation and learn first hand of its genteel disposition and incomparable beauty.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Autumn
  • Case: Stainless steel; dimensions 41mm x 41mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds.
  • Movement: Calibre FBN 229.01, self-winding movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 35 jewels; power reserve 72 hours; 186 movement parts.
  • Strap: Chestnut brown alligator leather strap presented with a stainless steel pin buckle
  • Price: £29,400 (RRP as at 4.1.2016)

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