Laurent Ferrier Tourbillon Grand Sport
Contributing author, Carl Eady, reviews the Laurent Ferrier Tourbillon Grand Sport for Escapement Magazine and extolls the virtues of yet another triumph from the Geneva based Master Watchmaker.
At a time when the world of horology is so rich with supremely talented independent watchmakers, mere excellence can be no guarantee that a timepiece will achieve commercial success. Prospective collectors are unlikely to part with significant sums of money for a timepiece unless their emotions are stirred by the story behind the watch or indeed the watchmaker behind the brand.
Since launching in 2010, Laurent Ferrier has consistently proven his ability to tick both boxes, and many more besides, delivering masterpieces true to the brand’s horological values of ‘simplicity, precision and pure uncluttered beauty’.
This latest creation, the Laurent Ferrier Tourbillon Grand Sport, draws inspiration from the Master Watchmaker’s other burning passion ‘motor racing’, which he shares with his business partner François Servanin. In 1979, the pair raced a Porsche 935T for the Kremer racing team at Le Mans and achieved a podium finish, despite considerable competition. In addition to celebrating 40 years since this momentous occasion, the case design of this watch also harnesses some exquisite wind-cheating curves, typical of Porsche’s legendary styling.
The Tourbillon Grand Sport is at first glance a bold excursion from the graceful elegance of previous collections. True to his principles, however, Ferrier has created a refined sports watch with superior finishing yet powerful masculinity.
It is 10 years since the inception of the Laurent Ferrier brand in 2009 and in that short window, Ferrier has managed to create a timeless design language. Those familiar with the brand will be aware that from the outset, the term ‘Galet’ is a recurring theme within Ferrier’s collections. ‘Galet’, the French word for ‘pebble’, reflects Ferrier’s belief that the tactility of a watch is equally as important as its visual appearance. The case for the Tourbillon Grand Sport is stainless steel, measures a substantial 44mm in diameter and, despite not being apportioned the ‘Galet’ moniker, still shares the smooth pebble like touch. At 3 o’clock sits a modestly proportioned onion shaped crown, recessed within two curvaceous guards formed by the case outer.
Being a sports watch with purpose, the bold characteristics of the case perhaps lack the elegance expressed in the marque’s previous incarnations. Nonetheless, as one would expect from a Master Craftsman who spent nearly four decades at Patek Philippe, there is a cohesiveness throughout along with a high degree of refinement. The unique shape pairs a smooth tonneau barrel body with a cushion shaped bezel and could be chronicled as a steroid fuelled hybrid of the ‘Galet Classic’ and ‘Galet Square’. The fine satin brushing dominates the appearance of the case and is paired with contrasting highly polished accents, an aesthetic aspect which has become a trademark for the brand.
On the reverse, a satin brushed porthole surrounds a crystal-clear sapphire window, affording views of the gorgeous tourbillon movement within. In contrast, the front sapphire glass has a mild tint, complementing the dial colour and softening the appearance of the polished white gold and orange luminescent hands and markers.
Laurent Ferrier has built an enviable reputation for producing classically inspired dials. However, to create this modern sports watch, Ferrier has turned to earthy tones, presenting a smoked taupe dial with a deep warm brown outer which gradually lightens to its nickel opaline centre.
Slender teardrop shaped indices are finished in highly polished 18k white gold and filled with a vibrant deep orange Super-LumiNova. The markers at 3, 9 and 12 o’clock are elongated for extra clarity. The Super-LumiNova which fills Laurent Ferrier’s trademark ‘assegai’ shaped hour and minute hands cleverly assumes the teardrop shape of the markers. A subtle detail perhaps, but discerning collectors know it is the minute details which set great watchmakers apart from their contemporaries.
The majority of Laurent Ferrier’s collections include a small-seconds at the 6 o’clock position and the Tourbillon Grand Sport is no exception. A long needle-shaped hand sweeps over the recessed brown sub-dial at the six o’clock position, completing a fascinatingly rich dial estate.
The beating heart of the Tourbillon Grand Sport is the manual wind calibre LF 619.01 that arguably makes the reverse of this watch as spectacular as the front. The gorgeously bevelled and ruthenium treated bridges are reminiscent of a vintage pocket watch and finished with fine horizontal brushing. Their deep slate hue brings to the fore the fine finishing of the movement’s components, most noticeably the tourbillon cage.
The tourbillon carriage bridge is slender, ensuring minimal obstruction of the cage, and is endowed with some of the movement’s 30 hand-finished interior angles. In addition to being visually spectacular, the movement achieves chronometer-certified status from the Besançon Observatory and offers an impressive 80 hour power reserve. Such is the appeal of this supremely executed tourbillon, resisting the temptation to outwardly exhibit its finery is commendable. Despite the watch’s powerful, self-confident persona, hiding the tourbillon reserves the sight of this alluring secret for the delectation of lucky owners at the start and finish of each day.
The Tourbillon Grand Sport is complemented with a rubber ‘smoked taupe’ colour strap, firmly secured with a folding clasp. Nestled deep within the broad lugs of the cases, the band heightens the overall sense of modernity. Given Laurent Ferrier’s appreciation of comfort and tactility, the thick yet flexible rubber seems the perfect accompaniment to the generously proportioned case.
For Laurent Ferrier, this limited edition of 12 pieces represents a triple celebration, commemorating his Le Mans success, 10 years since his first tourbillon and, of course, 10 years since the brand’s inception. Executed with typical attention to detail, it harnesses the brand’s unmistakeable DNA and seriously impressive credentials. The Tourbillon Grand Sport will delight Laurent Ferrier fans who will no doubt have a keen eye open to see if this bold venture paves the way for further forays into the increasingly popular luxury sports watch category.
- Model: Laurent Ferrier Tourbillon Grand Sport
- Reference: Ref: LCF 041.AC.G1GO
- Case: Stainless steel. 44mm. Sapphire glass
- Functions: Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds
- Movement: Manual wind, 3 Hz. 80-hour power reserve. Ref 619.01
- Strap: Rubber strap, Taupe colour. Folding clasp
- Water resistance: 10 Bar
- Price: 172,000 CHF