Laurent Ferrier has got to be one of the most interesting independent watchmakers out there for more than one reason. The man is a veteran in the industry, having worked for some 37 years at Patek Philippe before starting his eponymous watch brand. During that time, he dabbled in amateur racing and was a pretty accomplished in that field as well. In 1979, he raced in the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans and came in third in his class, behind a certain Mr. Paul Newman. And one of the loveliest watches that he makes today is the Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Square Sector Dial Tourbillon Double Spiral watch. Why do I think it’s so great? Read on and I will tell you.
For our non French-speaking readers, galet is pebble, and for a long time, the pebble was the inspiration behind Laurent Ferrier’s Galet watches. Last year, Laurent Ferrier decided to update the collection with an entirely new cushion-shaped case under the Galet Square line. The Galet Square was immediately well-received. The case retains the soft lines that the Galet is famous for, and remains exceptionally elegant-looking.
The new Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Square Sector Dial Tourbillon Double Spiral watch has that same fantastic cushion-shaped case that made last year’s Galet Square watches a hit. The case is 18k white gold and measures 41.5mm wide, which is just the right size, we feel. It’s not too big as to become chunky, and not too small that it is completely inconspicuous. Predictably, the case is executed and finished to an extremely high level.
The dial is where the magic is at. As its name clearly states, the watch has a two-tone sector dial, which is more aesthetically pleasing to our eyes when compared to the minimalist and almost sparse dials of last year’s Galet Square watches. A railway minute track surrounds a circular satin-brushed chapter ring, which highlights the printed hour markers and applied indices at 12, 3, and 9 o’clock. The applied indices, in case you are wondering, are made of blackened gold.
The hands are called “assegai-shaped” and are a specialty of Laurent Ferrier. Assegai refers to the spear that is used by tribes for hunting in Africa. The hour, minute, and second hands are all made out of gold and are hand-polished before being treated with ruthenium, which explains their unique color. They also contrast vividly against the silvery dial, which makes the watch very legible, despite the thin hands.
And then there’s a running seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock with a matching sector-style ring for the seconds. The sub-dial is slightly recessed and decorated with circular guilloche. And the middle of the dial bears the mark of Laurent Ferrier and the words “Tourbillon Double Spiral” which hints at something special.
The movement is truly special, and not just because of its unique architecture with its lovely shaped bridges and extremely intricate finishing, but also because it has a rather unusual tourbillon. You see, instead of a single balance spring, two balance springs are mounted one on top of the other, which supposedly improves timekeeping. It also looks really impressive. Add that to the fact that the tourbillon makes a full rotation every minute, and what you have is a very visually arresting movement.
And of course, you have all the finishing flourishes that befits a Laurent Ferrier watch, including Côtes de Genève on the bridges, delicious chamfering, gleaming polished jewel sinks and screw heads – basically, the works. And it looks absolutely fabulous. The movement, dubbed the Caliber LF 619.01, consists of 188 parts, 23 jewels, and has a power reserve of 80 hours – well over three days.
In summary, the new Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Square Sector Dial Tourbillon Double Spiral watch is a very much welcome addition to the brand’s Galet Square collection. The two-tone sector dial is exceptionally executed and adds a bit of visual pizzazz. And on the wrist, the watch wears well and is, to our minds, almost of the perfect size. Some readers might wonder why the tourbillon isn’t made visible on the dial side. Well, Laurent Ferrier watches have always been known to be discreet, and we are glad that they are adhering to this ethos. The Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Square Sector Dial Tourbillon Double Spiral has a price of $208,000 USD. laurentferrier.ch