We’ve covered a number of Greubel Forsey watches here, and while they’re all unique to one another, they share a common design DNA. Much of this can be seen in the various ways that complications are built and utilized in a watch. For many of the models, this uniqueness transmits itself all the way out to the case, which often has uncommon curves and bulges added, both to accommodate the mechanics, as well as draw the eye in. Their latest, the Platinum GMT, is no exception to that rule.
Now, for this watch, we actually have three different GMT displays – two of which are conventional, with the third being pure artistry. Before we get to the icing on the cake, however, we’ll start with the foundation of things. To the left of the main time display you have the first (and most traditional) GMT display – a secondary dial that appears at the 10 o’clock position on the main dial, giving us a second time zone. Where’s the second “standard” readout?
Well, for that, you actually need to flip the watch over. Visible through the caseback you have a 24-hour disc, with one representative city for each of the time zones around the world. While the dial-side time will give you only a single pre-selected time zone, this disc on the back will give you at-a-glance timing for wherever in the world you may want to see. They have even included a summer time indication via the smaller disc at the inset, which is a nice touch.
Let’s turn the watch back over, however, and get to what is for me the most compelling component of the whole watch – that globe down at 8 o’clock. This gives you, quite literally, a picture of how time moves as the earth rotates. Sure, the miniature globe with its titanium continents may not be the most practical way of telling time, but it certainly is a very beautiful and tactile way to do so.
Oh, and if just looking at the globe wasn’t enough? Gruebel Forsey has included a window on the side of the case wherein you can see the southern hemisphere (the South Pole doesn’t appear, as it’s the anchor point for the globe). Frankly, this is just a fun take on a very serious aspect of timekeeping. I know if I got my hands on this watch, I would probably make it a quest to find a flashlight with a defined enough beam to play the role of the sun, and watch it illuminate the globe.
Though, if you’re not as enamored as I am with the globe and the attendant GMT readouts (disclaimer: I do proclaim the GMT complication to be one of my favorites), then you do have another very visual treat. Over at the 5 o’clock position, you have a 24-second tourbillon which is set at a 25° inclination. Tourbillons are another one of those complications that are hard to understand until you see them in motion – and then you’re captivated.
Think of it this way – do you really like seeing a balance wheel at work, spinning back and forth and keeping your watch running? If so, take that, and put the motion of the tourbillon into a second (additional) axis point, and you’ve quite literally gone to a 3D display. While I realize that tourbillons have questionable practical use within a wristwatch, there’s no denying their aesthetic appeal (nor the skill required to build them).
From there, we can continue our tour around the dial. At the 3 o’clock position we have the power reserve indicator (the GF05 calibre boasts a 72 hour power reserve), which abuts the small seconds display at the 2 o’clock position. All of these display features are protected by (what else) an asymmetrical convex sapphire crystal (read: hard to produce); additional sapphire crystals are found in the caseback and on the side of the case.
For a watch that has this much going on, and for a case with the extra curves included, you might be tempted to think that we’ve ended up with a monster of a watch. To the contrary, the relatively small movement (36.4mm by 9.8mm thick) allows for a case that’s 43.5mm in diameter (and is 16.14mm thick). I won’t try to pretend that this will wear as a slim dress piece. Not at all.
This is a generously sized piece, one that allows it to house the creativity at hand, as well as allow you to legibly enjoy it all without requiring you to carry a loupe around (that said, that could be a fun way to check out the globe). The case itself is made of platinum (which you may have guessed from the model name), as are the crown and the GMT pusher.
As befits a case made of platinum, the internals have plenty of precious metals as well. The main plates and bridges are made of nickel silver (with plenty of their own finish decorations), gold appears on plates, the hands, and the tourbillon counterweight; and the aforementioned titanium appears on the tourbillon cages (as well as the globe, of course). I’m sure some steel is in the mix there as well (other than the tourbillon bridges), it’s just not called out in the specs.
What does that bill-of-materials tell you? That there’s a lot of care (and value) placed into the creation of the movement components – as well as the fact that the watch itself is going to be firmly in luxury territory when it comes to pricing (then again, you probably already knew that). Existing gold versions go for $595,000, and this platinum variant is going to come in at just a hair under $600,000 (retail is CHF 545,000, exclusive of tax). While the piece itself is not limited edition, it is limited in the number of pieces that Gruebel Forsey will actually be able to create each year, with general availability (such as it is) occurring by February 2014.
Whatever you may think of watches that carry those sorts of pricetags, there’s no denying the stunning beauty of this piece. I know we’re pretty early into the year, but I think that the Greubel Forsey Platinum GMT is going to end up on my 2014 end-of-year guide. greubelforsey.com
Technical Specs from Greubel Forsey
- Movement dimensions
- Diameter: 36.40 mm
- Thickness: 9.80 mm
- Number of parts
- Complete movement: 443 parts
- Tourbillon cage: 87 parts
- Weight of the cage: 0.36 g
- Number of jewels: 50
- Olived-domed jewels in gold chatons
- Power reserve: 72 hours
- Barrels: Two coaxial series-coupled fast-rotating barrels (1 turn in 3.2 hours), one of which is equipped with a slipping spring to avoid excess tension
- Balance wheel: Free sprung variable-inertia balance with gold mean-time screws (10 mm diameter)
- Frequency: 21,600 vibrations/hour
- Balance spring: Phillips terminal curve, Geneva-style stud
- Main plates: Nickel silver, frosted and spotted, hand-bevelled with countersinks, straight-grained flanks, black chrome treatment
- Nickel silver, frosted and spotted, hand-bevelled, straight-grained flanks, polished countersinks, black chrome treatment
- Gold plate engraved with the individual number
- Flat black polished steel tourbillonbridge, hand-bevelled
- Tourbillon cage
- Inclined at a 25° angle, 24-second rotation
- Cage pillars in Avional
- Titanium cage bridges
- Gold counterweight
- Involute circle profile
- Conical gearing with corrected profiles
- Hour and minute
- Small second
- 72-hour power reserve on a sector
- 2nd time zone GMT indicator
- 24 time zone worldtime display
- Rotating titanium globe with universal time display
- Summer time indicator
- Day-and-night indicator
- Movement dimensions
- Case dimensions: 43.50mm (dia), 16.14mm (thickness)
- Sapphire crystal
- Transparent back with asymmetrical convex synthetic sapphire crystal
- Polished bezel and centre band with handfinished straight graining
- Lateral window with shaped synthetic sapphire crystal
- Three-dimensional, variable geometry-shaped lugs
- Platinum pusher with raised polished engraving “GMT” on a hand-punched background
- Raised polished engraving “Greubel Forsey” on a hand-punched background
- Hand-engraved individual number
- Gold security screws
- Water Resistance: 30m
- Crown: In platinum with engraved and black lacquered GF logo
- Principal hour-minute dial: in gold, frosted, black
- chrome treatment
- Hour-ring: white gold
- Gold power-reserve sector
- Gold small second dial
- Gold GMT indicator
- Applied gold Greubel Forsey logo
- Hour and minute in polished gold, with Super-LumiNova
- Small second blued steel and power-reserve in polished gold
- 2nd time zone GMT indicator, red triangle
- Strap and clasp
- Hand-sewn blue or black alligator
- Platinum folding clasp, hand-engraved with the Greubel Forsey logo
- Case dimensions: 43.50mm (dia), 16.14mm (thickness)