When it comes to elegant, dressy designs, few eras in watchmaking can compare to the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. The small-seconds, stepped-case aesthetic of the era is still highly prized among enthusiasts today, and echoes of this stylistic heritage still ring through the modern luxury watch market. Laurent Ferrier pays tribute to this age of elegance with its latest pair of releases, blending together cues from many of the era’s most beloved designs with seamlessly integrated original concepts. Collaboratively designed with Phillips Watches in association with Bacs & Russo, the limited edition Laurent Ferrier Hommage II series is an impeccably made love letter to the greatest watches of the ‘40s, using bespoke components for every part of the watch except the movement to create a truly unique custom look apart from the brand’s standard offerings.
Much of the attention surrounding the Laurent Ferrier Hommage II series is focused around its 40mm stainless steel case design, and with good reason. The unique step-case design is a rarity in the current market, but this unorthodox look was a staple of the time period Laurent Ferrier aims to emulate. With the Hommage II, the brand smoothly incorporates many of the era’s singular cues. The stepped bezel design is the immediate visual highlight, adding depth to the case in images while incorporating light brushed finishing. By creating a layered effect, the brand also tempers the look of the extra-wide bezel, likely allowing for an old-school compact feel on the wrist without making the case feel disproportionate overall. Laurent Ferrier contrasts the brushed satin look of this bezel with mirror polishing atop its flowing tapered lugs, while the vertical case sides use a classic horizontally brushed finish. In lieu of a polished chamfer, this wider polished section keeps the look bright and dressy in images, but allows the brand to maintain the simple un-contoured shape common to the era intact. Laurent Ferrier only deviates from the period-correct look with the somewhat more contemporary case size (although this is clearly dictated at least partially by the size of the movement), as well as the broad sapphire display caseback.
Laurent Ferrier offers the Hommage II with two markedly different sector dial concepts. The matte black dial model is the more straightforward and masculine of the pair, with straight sword hands above a printed Arabic hours scale with playful streamlined dashes connecting each of the softly rounded numerals. A contrasting white outer railroad minutes track and the minimalist indices of the 6 o’clock sub seconds display keep this layout from feeling too simplistic or cloying in initial images. The elegantly slim printed crosshair pattern and the broader white rings flanking the hours scale also imbue the design with a sense of lightness and nuance. It’s the silvery white dial model that steals the show in photos, however, with a more intricate colorway and a less aggressive execution. The heat blued leaf handset helps to set the tone of this overall design, with shades of deep navy blue echoing throughout all the dial text, scales, and printed Arabic numerals. The brand gives depth and complexity to the classic navy blue and white color pairing with the hours ring, which is rendered in an unusual but undeniably handsome pale pink. While almost unheard of in modern designs, pink and salmon dials were common offerings through the first half of the 20th century, and the dusty and delicate execution here lends the dial a wealth of vintage charisma in images.
Both variants of the Laurent Ferrier Hommage II use the brand’s in-house LF 116.01 handwound movement. While the movement itself has appeared in several small-seconds releases from the brand over the past few years, here the LF 116.01 takes on an all-new frosted gilt finish across its broad bridges and plates to better reflect vintage movement finishing. Although the look may be vintage, the LF 116.01’s performance is solidly contemporary, with a weekend-proof 80 hour power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate. Laurent Ferrier finishes both variants with suitably vintage box-stitched distressed leather straps. For the white dial model, the brand opts for suede in a warm tobacco brown, while the black dial version takes on a mottled leather strap in an eye-catching saffron yellow tone.
By highlighting and remixing some of the greatest watch designs of the ‘30s through the ‘50s, the limited edition Laurent Ferrier Hommage II series delivers a truly breathtaking look that stands as an impressive style exercise in its own right. Only 16 examples of each colorway will be made, for a total production run of 32 watches. The Laurent Ferrier Hommage II is available now exclusively through the Phillips Perpetual boutique at an MSRP of 32,000 CHF. For more information, please visit Phillips Perpetual’s website.