If you know Greubel Forsey, you know to expect epic horology, finishing, concepts, and prices. If you know the brand’s Art Piece collection, then you will quickly understand what is going on with its latest member, the Greubel Forsey Art Piece 2 Edition 2, just released for SIHH 2017. It is similar to previous Art Piece watches, only styled with a “sportier” flair and without the microscopic sculpture that has been a defining feature of the collection up to now. For those unfamiliar with the brand or the collection, the Greubel Forsey Art Piece 2 Edition 2 probably requires a little explanation.
…Like how the hell you read the time, if you are looking at the image above. It’s easy, so let’s just cover that point right away. The “subdial” at about 5:30 contains an aperture from 12 o’clock to about 4:30. The aperture is opened and closed with the pusher just below the crown on the case’s side to hide and reveal the time. The hours and minutes are then displayed on discs and indicated by the little red triangles.
That means you can hide the time so that it appears your wrist is hosting a half-million-dollar watch that only displays an oblique-angled, twitching tourbillon and a proud, 72-hour-power-reserve indicator. It’s kind of pointless to get hung up on the purpose or practicality of something like this since it’s clearly meant to be a provocative statement. If it raises questions about the nature of man’s relationship with time, some irony of the luxury watch industry, or about the purpose of art itself, I will leave that for you to ponder.
The Greubel Forsey Art Piece 2 Edition 2 has a lot in common with the Greubel Forsey Art Piece 2 Edition 1 that we covered here in terms of functions and layout. Here, however, the power reserve (“reserve de marche”) indicator is emphasized with giant numerals and a long needle-like hand. What every Greubel Forsey Art Piece watch before this had that this one does not is a micro-sculpture viewable through a magnifying crystal. I kind of thought that was the primary distinguishing feature of the collection and the reason for its Art Piece title – rather than because it was generally avant-garde in design and allowed one to hide the time display. You can see more about other Art Piece watches in the above linked-to article, or in our hands-on article on the Art Piece 1 here.
Let us not overlook the 30-degree-angled double tourbillon. Not every Greubel Forsey watch must have one, but the brand has made the tourbillon their signature with some incredibly complicated pieces. The tilted double tourbillon was introduced in 2005 as the brand’s “first invention,” and it has featured in a number of pieces since, such as the Quadruple Tourbillon (two double tourbillons) watches like one we went hands-on with here. The outer tourbillon makes a single rotation each four minutes, and the inner tourbillon rotates each minute. If a tourbillon’s main function is looking cool, then we can say it succeeds.
The view through the caseback’s sapphire crystal exhibition window reveals the tourbillon, frosted bridges, and hand finishing that Greubel Forsey has trained us to expected to be among the very best out there. There, you will also find the founders’ signatures “in relief by galvanic growth.” The hand-wound movement operates at 3Hz with two barrels powering the 72-hour power reserve and contains 412 parts, 130 of which comprise the tourbillon cages. All this is housed in a 30m-water-resistant, 44mm-wide, 16.18mm-thick white gold case and strapped to the wrist by a hand-sewn alligator strap.
The bold, blue styling is fun and, dare we say, a little sporty. The dial’s excessive decorative French text with high-minded sentiments expressing the watchmaking ideals of the brand is something that can be found variously on other Greubel Forsey watches as well. If it’s too much for you, maybe check out Rolex for more restrained dial text. The Art Piece 2 Edition 1 was around $600,000, so without the inclusion of the “nano-sculpture” we are expecting this Greubel Forsey Art Piece 2 Edition 2 to be a bit less, and we will update with pricing as we receive it. greubelforsey.com