February 24, 2011
by Ariel Adams
Over a year ago I was at the GTE 2011 – the first occasion of the “Geneva Time Exhibition.” For 2011 the GTE doubled in size, and looks to be a now standard fixture during SIHH week in Geneva. While at the show last year I was introduced to a nice grandfatherly looking man who did not speak English. His name was Laurent Ferrier. Laurent, as it was explained to me, used to work at Patek Philippe and was now due to start his own brand. He had one of the watches on him and I got a chance to check out the Gallet Classic Double Spiral Tourbillon watch for the first time. I knew then at that instant it would be a big success.
I wrote about the brand and the watch here when I was doing some work for WatchUSeek on their blog. You can see some images there and get an idea of how excited I was at the time. The watch went on to receive wide acclaim, and was eventually judged as the best new men’s watch during the 2010 Grand Prix of Horology (the watch industry’s Oscar awards night). That achievement did not surprise me as the watch combines exactly what most people want in a timepiece – elegance, luxury, fine and complex mechanics, and classicism. As you can see by images of the Gallet Classic Double Spiral Tourbillon on my wrist, this is a sexy and classic watch – no doubt.
While it comes with a white dial, the back dialed version is the best in my opinion because of the onyx dial. That black is so wonderfully deep and looks amazing next to the thin white Roman numeral hour markers and tasteful, thin hands. At 41mm wide, the case size feels proper for the design, and it is wonderfully polished. The shape reminds me of Rolex and Patek Philippe pieces, while it is very smooth to the touch. In addition to the pictured 18k white gold, there is a yellow gold version as well. This is just well-executed classical design incarnate.
Laurent didn’t want this to be an obvious watch-nerd timepiece. On the dial, done in black on black is the statement “Double Spiral Tourbillon.” This hints to two facts -first that the watch has a tourbillon escapement, and second that the tourbillon has two balance springs. Where did we see that recently? Right here on the 2011 Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique watch. Two balance springs in one tourbillon and meant to enhance accuracy. Like some Patek Philippe watches of the past (and present), Laurent Ferrier didn’t want a flashy tourbillon watch with the tourbillon on the dial. As such, the exclusive complication is hidden on the back of the watch for the pleasure of the owner, with the dial being reserved for more important things in life, like telling the time. The only thing that would make this watch more perfect is if it had a micro-rotor and were an automatic.
The movement is really nice to look at and is made by Fabrique du Temps for Laurent Ferrier. Very classic in style with rich looking Geneva stripes and nice anglage. On the wrist the amazingly slick looking case is like a soft pebble in shape and is comfortable on the wrist attached to the alligator strap. And guess what? “Gallet” in French translates into “pebble.” Imagine that. Watches like this make me think about sprinting away with it on my wrist. “That man’s run off with my balance cock! Stop him” Price for the watch is close to 200,000 Swiss Francs, and there is a waiting list. Save up, and in a few years they will make you one. We can dream until then.