January 17, 2019
by Rob Nudds
The Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain is, in contrast to the majority of this brand’s output, a palatable 39.6mm. This is a smart move by a brand looking to widen its appeal. Boasting an array of dial finishes, spread across several levels, a display of magnificent depth is the focal point of this effort. Presented proudly at six o’clock, the “aerodynamic” balance wheel rightfully takes center stage.
Brand: Greubel Forsey
Model: Balancier Contemporain
Water Resistance: 30m
Case Material: Stainless steel
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire crystal
Frequency: 21,600vph (3Hz)
Power Reserve: 72 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Hand-sewn Alligator
Price & Availability: CHF199,000 (limited to 33 pieces)
The balance wheel’s adjustment screws are recessed so as to reduce air drag (seriously), which is theoretically beneficial from the perspectives of both consumption and consistency. While it may only offer an incremental benefit, it is at least a talking point.
The 72-hour power reserve is generated by two barrels. This provides the hand-wound movement with a high degree of torque throughout the first couple of days following a full wind. This helps to minimize timekeeping errors that manifest when power supply decreases because these are more common in slower-beat (3Hz) escapements. Consequently, the isochronism is improved.
Each dial element is very well finished. My personal favorite component is the power-reserve indicator. Elevated by a couple of millimeters, the hand-lapped power-reserve bridge is resplendent. It’s nice to see such a useful complication given such prominence, despite the crowded setting.
At under 40mm, this is one of the more elegant and attractive pieces from a brand that is well known for “balls-to-the-wind” ostentatiousness. I’m still not totally won over by the aesthetic; however well-executed, it leaves me a bit cold, but I am wowed by the gorgeously engraved case back that keys into my weakness for text on a timepiece. The back of the strap is similarly decorated with a repetitive script. There will be just 33 pieces available, and each one will be priced at CHF 199,000. greubelforsey.com