In the 15 years since its debut at Baselworld 2004, the Double Tourbillon 30° complicaton by Greubel Forsey has not aged. Instead, the impressive regulating organ that cannot help but be the center of attention in whatever watch it features has simply been asked to adjust to more modern surroundings. An island of calm amidst an industry in flux, this timeless double tourbillon continues to appear at home whether encased in red gold, white gold, platinum, and even sapphire. And now, for the first time, it appears in ceramic. The Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30° Technique watch is the first of the collection to utilize a blue ceramic case (48.40mm × 17.77mm), and the result is a very different aesthetic from that which has come before.
If you take a look back through the Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon collection from the past, you will see the frequent presence of precious metals, with the lone exception being the sapphire case covered on aBlogtoWatch (see link above). Those classically styled and constructed cases have always played the knowing foil to the avant-garde interiors, for which the brand is better known. But the integration of a relatively old complication concept and a hyper-modern case was facilitated by the brand’s wise decision to mix up the movement materials themselves. Rather than simply plonking an old movement in a flashy new case, the brand has included several sapphire elements — most notably the sapphire tourbillon bridge that spans the lower quadrant of the movement, giving the impression that the double tourbillon is, in fact, flying (when, in truth, it is very much anchored).
And as one might expect with any double tourbillon, the timekeeping potential for this piece is extremely impressive. Set within a cage that rotates once every four minutes is a smaller cage that houses the balance wheel and hairspring, which are inclined at 30° relative to the four-minute cage. The second cage completes a full revolution in 1 minute. This fascinating mechanism is powered by four co-axially-mounted barrels, which generate a chronometric power reserve of 120 hours.
While legibility is always a problem with watches of this complexity, the large, arrow-tipped hands stand out pretty well against a busy background that includes blue sun-ray sub-dials, blasted bridges, sapphire components, and a heavily decorated barrel.
The background is even more active than one might expect from the brand, thanks to all the sapphire bridges in play. As well as being aesthetically interesting, the sapphire caliber components were particularly challenging to machine. Specialized tools were used to finish these pieces to the standards one would expect from a Greubel Forsey movement.
This particular edition of the Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30° Technique is limited to just 11 pieces, and will only be made available to the US market. The price, which will probably come as no surprise, is a rather notable $695,000. On the plus side, that includes a rubber strap, which is fastened with a fold-over titanium buckle engraved with the brand’s logo. To learn more about the history of this compelling complication, please visit greubelforsey.com.