The first thing you will notice when checking out this watch is the text all over the dial - at least that is the first thing I notice. This is some sort of secret message written in "billionaire tongue" from Mr. Greubel and Mr. Forsey to buyers of the limited edition Invention Piece 3 watch. The text isn't in English, but rather in French (I think). It could also be code that you need a cryptologist to decipher all Da Vinci Code style. In fact, here are the top five things the tiny text on the dial could be that would amuse me:
1. Operating instructions for the Invention # 3 timepiece in dry, boring language.
2. Similar language, only regarding the timepiece's warranty information along with legal notices.
3. An engraved in gold transcript of Greubel or Forsey's Sunday conversation with one of their mothers.
4. Repeated over and over, "I can't believe they are buying it. I can't believe they are buying it..."
5. A list of wardrobe accessories Greubel Forsey feels you should own in order to be eligible to buy this watch - including a duckbill topped cane featuring an actual duck's bill and real mole skin shoes.
Probably best to leave reading the text to the 33 buyers of this interesting timepiece. Aside from everything else peculiar about this watch, it tells time in a 24 hour format. Perfect for military types, and everyone else expect Americans who understand 24 hour time as much as they do degrees in Celsius. The watch doesn't use hands on the watch face in the traditional sense. Instead, it has hidden discs (in either blue or red) with little arrow hands that come out of them. This creates one of those "mysterious hands" situations. The watch also has a subsidiary seconds dial, power reserve indicator, and the inclined tourbillon. As the tourbillon is a 24 second tourbillon, you can't use it to really measure anything worthwhile (expect for a period of 24 seconds that is).
When I first saw the Invention Piece # 3 I didn't like. It rather bored me, and I felt like Greubel Forsey was doing a lot of the same. I still think there is a very close cohesion between their watches, but seeing the pieces in person allows them to be appreciated in a way that mere marketing images pathetically fail at. First, being as expensive as they are, Greubel Forsey watches are meticulously decorated and use really nice materials. The Invention Piece # 3 will have 11 pieces in white gold, 11 pieces in rose gold, and 11 pieces in platinum. Aside form the quality finishing, this piece has a good level of symmetry in the arrangement of the dials. Similar in balance to the Vianney Halter Antiqua timepiece. You see what I mean? The bulges in the case assist with that comparison.
Getting a watch like this is about respecting the quality of the brand, the movement, the design, and of course the exclusivity. Greubel Forsey is first and foremost a luxury watch movement maker. Inside the 43mm wide watch is a complex manually wound mechanical movement comprised of 370 parts - each with a really nice level of polish and decoration. Movement has 72 hours of power reserve as well. A few sapphire exhibition windows around the case help you appreciate it. Having the tourbillon be inclined at 25 degrees makes it different, cool to look at, and might have some chronometric advantages to horizontally aligned ones. Don't miss the sapphire crystal segment of the watch dial itself over the tourbillon to help visualize the operation of the tourbillon better.
With the watch in a 24 hour format, and the hours and minutes being reserved in terms of their position on the dial, the Invention Piece # 3 isn't a breeze to read, but isn't bad either (good that the indicator hands are in bright colors). Novelties like this could have been much harder to decipher, and in fact when made by other brands usually are much harder to decipher. Mechanically the Invention Piece # 3 watch is very well made, and as a machine it is beautiful. As a watch, the timepiece is a bit awkward, but as the "invention" part of the name implies, the watch is like an experiment. In the images I play around with a platinum version of the watch. It is a hefty little lad, and fascinating to operate. Like many Greubel Forsey pieces, you get the most enjoyment peeking into a watches crevices, windows, and closeup sections, as opposed to seeing the whole thing from afar. Price for the watch is in the $400,000 - $600,000 range I believe.
Technical Specs From Greubel Forsey:
Mechanical hand-wound movement, Calibre GF 01n
Tourbillon 24 Secondes Incliné, hours and minutes display,
Seconds display and power-reserve indicator.
Unique series of 33 pieces
- Diameter : 36.40 mm
- Thickness : 11.51 mm
Number of parts
- Complete movement : 370 parts
- Tourbillon cage: 87 parts
- Weight of the cage : 0.39 g
Number of jewels
- Olive-domed jewels in gold chatons
Rapid rotating twin barrels (1 turn in 3.2 hours) equipped with a slipping spring to avoid excessive tension
Variable-inertia with gold mean-time screws (10 mm diameter)
- Phillips terminal curve
- Geneva-style stud
Main Plates Nickel silver
- Nickel silver
- “Message from the Inventor Watchmakers” relief engraved on gold plates
- Involute circle profile
- Tangential inclined gear with profiled teeth, on fixed wheel and escape wheel pinion
- Inclined at a 25° angle, 24-second rotation
- Cage pillars in Avional
- Titanium cage bridges
- Gold counterweight
- 24 hours
- Small seconds
- 72-hour power reserve on a sector
- In 5N red gold, white gold or platinum with asymmetrical convex sapphire crystal, 11 watches each
- Transparent back with asymmetrical convex sapphire crystal
- Lateral window with shaped sapphire crystal
- Raised polished engraving of the name of the Invention on a hand-punched background
- Gold security screws
- Polished bezel and centre band with hand-finished straight graining
- Hand-engraved individual number
- Diameter : 43.50 mm
- Thickness : 16.11 mm
Water resistance of the case
3 ATM - 30 M - 100 FT
Gold with engraved and black lacquered GF logo
- Hours (red triangle) and minutes (blue triangle)
- Small seconds in flame-blued polished steel
- Power reserve (red triangle)
Hand-sewn black and brown alligator leather with gold folding clasp, engraved with the Greubel Forsey logo