Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Micro-Rotor Automatic Watch Hands-On

Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Micro-Rotor Automatic Watch Hands-On

Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Micro-Rotor Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

A former Patek Philippe watch maker as I recall, Laurent Ferrier set up shop making his own watches a few years ago under his own name. His first watch was the rather impressive (and award winning) Galet Classic Double Balance Spring Tourbillon. It won him a prize at the GPHG 2010. Following the Tourbillon, he began to develop and eventually produce an automatic, and a while ago I took some hands on images of it. While Laurent Ferrier watches aren't for everyone, in my opinion they are among the finest "classic" timepieces available with marvelously meticulous designs that don't compromise and very attractive in-house made movements. If you want a conservative watch from an independent watch maker, something from Laurent Ferrier just might be for you.

Mr. Ferrier is bespectacled older fellow who speaks not a word of English. You can tell that he has a lot to say about his timepieces if he can communicate that to you in French. In fact, it matters little whether or not you know French because he will tell you anyways. "Galet" means pebble actually, and it is a term applied to a range of watches that have been produced over the years. The idea being that the case is smooth and polished like a stone. It is true, and in a quasi-Rolex design, the Galet Classic case at 40mm wide and 10.7mm thick feels perfectly polished both visually and by touch.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Micro-Rotor Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Micro-Rotor Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As far as I know, no Laurent Ferrier watches are available in steel. You get gold or platinum choices only. And if that doesn't fancy you then I believe he has other customers waiting. What first drew my attention to his designs was the watchmaker's touch. Such as the proper proportions on the dial, the fluid ergonomics, the highly detailed and well decorated movement, and a concept of what watch collectors like.

This automatic version is called the Galet Classic Micro-Rotor. It actually exists as a lower-price alternative to the tourbillon (go figure). While I prefer an automatic movement, I actually prefer the dial of the Double Balance Spring Tourbillon. The Micro-Rotor's dial is a bit more 1950s-1960s, but you do get Ferrier's signature long and thin hour markers and hands, as well as subsidiary seconds dial. The movement is called the FBN caliber 229.01. Aside from the solid gold micro-rotor, its most notable feature is the use of a double balance spring.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Micro-Rotor Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Micro-Rotor Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

These two balance springs alternate in their beat, and you need to look closely to see them. These are known as double direct impulse balance springs and they use a silicon lever in this movement. The idea is that they are meant to cancel out each other's errors to produce a more consistent timing in the movement. The rate of the movement is 21,600 vph, and it has a power reserve of three days. Decoratively, the Micro-Rotor's movement is gorgeous. Lots of fantastic polished, beveled edges, and an attention to detail you find only in top-grade movements.

There is also a beautiful depth to the movement. Rather than try to be ultra-thin, the 229.01 is 4.35mm thick (actually not that thick), but it makes room for you to look inside of the movement and admire all of the parts. While not the world's most complex movement, it is hand finished, limited in production, and very beautiful. Together it feels quite satisfying indeed. Oh, and the movements are COSC certified chronometers.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Micro-Rotor Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Micro-Rotor Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Laurent Ferrier offers a few dial variations of the Galet Classic Micro-Rotor from a brush slate dial to one in a silver tone. Again, while they are quite attractive, I find them less engaging than the very beautiful enamel dials of the tourbillon. Which actually is a rare timepiece with Roman numerals that I like. Still, the dials on the Micro-Rotor should satisfy most. I bet they would customize one for you as well if you asked.

Attached to the Laurent Ferrier watch is a handsome thick reptile strap. The timepiece is dripping with a classy sense of old world perfection. It is more designer than any Patek Philippe, yet so much more restrained than most designer watches. Nevertheless, given the price, movement design, and provenance, you'll need to be a seasoned timepiece aficionado to completely appreciate the watch. Price is 49,000 Swiss Francs.

What do you think?
  • I want it! (4)
  • Thumbs up (1)
  • Classy (1)
  • I love it! (1)
  • Interesting (0)
  • MarkCarson

    That is one beautiful rotor. Actually the whole movement is gorgeous. Nice looking dress watch, very elegant.

  • winterwold

    Just such a lovely watch. Mr. Ferrier has really achieved the perfect balance, proportions and detail for a classy and luxurious watch. This watch could make me a one-watch guy.

    Too bad about the pricerange. I can only dream of maybe one time trying one of these watches on for a few minutes.

    I love the slim pebble case. It is no really all that special but it is classy and very well balanced.
    The real gem for this watch (for me atleast) are the hands. Just so well designed
    The movements are really nice as well and I am sure they all are first class in every way. They don’t seem to be overly decorated and more focus on being and showing of the functionality.

    I agree with you about the versions with Roman numerals. I have never really been a fan of those but Mr. Ferrier has really nailed the proportions of them. I especially like the version with the raised Roman numerals. 
    A dreamwatch for sure.

  • Ulysses31

    Beyond impressive.  This man loves paying attention to the details and it shows.  There isn’t a single part of the watch that hasn’t been given careful consideration by the designer.  The first thing that struck me was those lovely hands, that have the appearance of being sculpted in all three dimensions and polished to perfection making flat hands used in so many other timepieces appear crude.  The case consists of swooping curves without looking over-styled.  That movement is both beautiful yet restrained.  Ferrier knows how not to over-egg the pudding.  So many other manufacturers go overboard, filling their watches with a lot of ostentatious superfluous crap in order to garner some freakshow popularity, but not here.  Ferrier is saying “I could do all that, but I don’t have to”.  It’s a powerful unspoken statement and I admire him for that.  A watch that I think justifies the asking price.

  • Very much with same styling cues to the Patek Calatrava 5107 or 5127 except with very different hands, 12 o’clock marker, crown, and sub seconds dial like some older vintage Calatrava. The apple does not fall far from the tree…

  • bichondaddy

    Very impressive, and beautiful watch.  The movement is a thing of beauty and simplicity at the same time.  If I had one…I don’t know if I could concentrate on doing anything but looking at the movement.  I would just sit and look at it for hours at a time. The micro-rotor is something to behold…just fantastic.  And as one who love gold watches…the one pictured at the top of the article is just stunning!  I am usually attracted to sporty style watches,especially ones that are racing themed or very unusual looking.  But this one is so impressive…even I would love to have one on my wrist.

  • Mitch M

    Gorgeous watch! There is something very sensually pleasing, both visually and tactile, about the Galet (pebble) aesthetic so meticulously captured in this design. It begs to be touched and admired. Just beautiful.

  • Kris C

    I want to love this watch, but I don’t. The craftsmanship is beyond impressive, but that does not save it from being too conservative for me, even as a black-tie watch (which the gold/brown variant couldn’t even be). The movement is a thing of pure beauty, but that does nothing for you or anyone else looking at it while worn. I feel like I’m about 30 years too young for something like this, and by the time my age catches up, there will be just so much more to consider.

    • MarkCarson

      Kris C No, no. Just look at the Patek Philippe ads – when you have a  watch like this are just keeping it for another generation. In this case, you, when you get get to be a generation older. Ha ha ha.

  • Nouveau Riche

    Forget about this one! Seen the model with the Roman numerals?

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  • Ian john horwood

    Gorgeous looking watch , but the movement is really two low tech for what u are paying for really . Should be at least a hi-beat for this sort of money nowadays .