At SIHH 2016, in the new “watchmaker’s square,” Laurent Ferrier will introduce what is possibly their first sport watch with the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Boréal watch collection that will come in two versions. With this timepiece release, the Swiss watch industry once again requires us to engage in some homework, as the press release utterly misses the point of what this watch is all about.
In steel with an automatic movement and new “high visibility” dial, the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Boréal is all about offering a high-end homage to classic sport watches. Not even the “Boréal” part of the name is explained by the brand. It refers to “north” or things in the “north.” Most English-speaking people are familiar with the word as part of the term “Aurora Borealis” (northern lights). Taken together, I am going to assume that Laurent Ferrier is either suggesting the watch is for northern travel or the rich amount of luminant is meant to remind one of the Aurora Borealis lights. You can make your own interpretation because, as of now, Laurent Ferrier hasn’t given us too many more hints on how to understand the name.
Speaking of confusing names, while the overall case does have a squarish look to it, this isn’t a square watch, but rather a cushion-shaped one. Given their great quality and attractive designs, I am going to forgive these rather confusing naming conventions. That said, “Galet Square” does sort of mean “square pebble,” so the rounded edges make sense. But really, this is a cushion-shaped watch.
Whatever the Laurent Ferrier Square watch case lacks in originality, it makes up for in refinement and grace. Produced here in steel (with a price that is… well, less than the gold models) the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square takes on a very sensible personality in a 41mm x 41mm size that is merely 11.1mm thick (not bad for an automatic watch like this. With the crown, the total diameter is 45.35mm wide, so this isn’t a small-wearing watch – which is good when looking for something more sporty.
I am not a fan of all Laurent Ferrier dials, but when they want to do a good-looking dial with pristine quality, they sure know how to do it. The real appeal to these new Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Boréal models are the SuperLumiNova enhanced dials. Rather than luminant on the hands and hour makers only, the dial has a luminant-painted ring that includes all of the hour markers. I will have to see it in person, but it looks pretty nice thus far. The dials has some further light decoration and the hands are in 18k ruthenium-coated gold produced in the brand’s “assegai” shape.
You’ll notice that the two versions of the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Boréal are “green” or “brown” which refers to the color of the luminant. Green will be brighter, and the brown has that more vintage look which people seem to like. The watches come with matching calf leather straps with a useful Alcantara lining (which reduces slip). Interestingly enough, Laurent Ferrier will offer either a traditional ardillon-style buckle or a folding buckle – both in steel. The later costs a full 1,000 Swiss francs more!
Perhaps the only enemy to this watch being truly considered a sport watch is the mere 30 meters of water resistance. I think this is because Laurent Ferrier uses a very traditional snap-on caseback which is not nearly as water tight as a screw-down caseback. Not totally sure why this is, but if you are going to be in wet northern regions, 100 or at least 50 meters of water resistance will make a lot more sense for an actual sport watch. At least, this is a “sporty watch.”
Inside the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Boréal is the very attractive and nicely performing in-house made calibre 229.01. An automatic with a micro-rotor, the movement has a variety of neat features such as a shock-protection system for the micro-rotor and silicon parts in the regulation system such as the escapement (which uses a special double direct impulse system). The movement operates at 3Hz (21,600bph) and has a power reserve of 72 hours (three days).
Laurent Ferrier will easily find more than a few takers for the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Boréal collection in both the green and brown variants. You get a straightforward and legible dial with a beautifully hand-finished and decorated “haute horology movement,” all in a sensible design and steel case. These timepiece aren’t cheap, however, with the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Boréal being priced at 35,000 Swiss francs on the traditional buckle and 36,000 Swiss francs with the folding deployant strap buckle. laurentferrier.ch