If you’ve ever had the chance to handle and try on a Greubel Forsey, you know how impressive they are. Perhaps the most impressively finished watches on the market, they are notable for their architectural dials that put the movements on full display. Despite their beauty, though, the models of the Collection Convex are equally notable for their large size, which isn’t surprising given the depth and complexity of the display. The brand has finally taken steps to rectify that with new versions of the Balancier Convexe S² and the Double Balancier Convexe, shrunken by 2mm and 1mm, respectively.
The Collection Convexe, of which these watches are a part, is defined by its big, curved case, wide open dials, and sportier overall appearance. We’ve reviewed the previous versions of the Balancier Convexe S² and the Double Balancier Convexe, and I’d recommend you check those out to get a full appreciation of the watches, as they have exceptional photos of the finishing and mechanics and go in-depth with the technical achievements of each. Further, for the most part, those watches are the same as these watches, just bigger. The Balancier Convexe S² is offered in either a blue or gray dial and the Double Balancier Convexe is offered with a silver dial.
Anyone familiar with Greubel Forsey will know that the brand offers some of the very best finishing in the world, and these two models put that front and center. The movements, of course, are partially exposed on the dial, so you won’t ever have to flip the watch over to ogle (in fact, the casebacks are rather disappointing when compared to the dial side). On the dial plate, both watches feature engraved mainspring barrels that carry most of the watch’s branding, as well as a power reserve. GF quotes a “chronometric power reserve” of 72 hours. That is to say, the watch has a PR that extends past 72 hours but runs within chronometer spec for 72 hours. Both watches also feature a running seconds subdial (inclined on the Balancier Convexe S²), a skeletonized, curved handset with lumed tips, and lumed hour markers around the swooping chapter ring.
The differences, of course, come with the movements. To reduce the size of the watches, both movements have been reconsidered and revised; while both are smaller, they have the same layouts but, paradoxically, have more parts than their predecessors. The Balancier Convexe S²’s dial remains solid throughout, sloping to accommodate Greubel Forsey’s signature 30-degree inclined balance in the lower half of the dial. That’s all well and good, but the Double Balancier Convexe has two of the balances, linked together by a constant spherical differential that measures the two balances and averages out their rates, minimizing errors and ensuring optimal isochronism. To accommodate all this extra mechanical wonder, this model features a partial dial.
Even though these are smaller, the decrease isn’t so dramatic that you’d notice it immediately. They are still not small watches, and as we note in our review, the diameter is larger than indicated by the specs due to the large bezels. Both models used to measure 43.5mm, but now the Double Balancier Convexe measures 42.5 and the Balancier Convexe S² measures 41.5mm. These are modest changes but will surely make some difference on the wrist. I think more importantly, but less championed is the reduction of the Balancier Convexe S² from 15.7mm to 14.8mm-thick, which will certainly make it wear more easily. The titanium cases still feature a curved sapphire crystal and the same blend of immaculate finishing and swooping lines as the prior models, and both are offered on rubber textured straps with titanium clasps or an integrated titanium bracelet that matches the finishing of the case.
More evolution than revolution, these smaller versions of two existing models are still likely to excite the narrow field of customers who are in the market for a Greubel Forsey. Because the models don’t present anything new, there’s not a lot for general watch enthusiasts to get excited about. If nothing else, it shows that GF is in tune with trends or at least what its customers are asking for. The Greubel Forsey Greubel Forsey Balancier Convexe S² is priced at CHF 212,000 on strap and CHF 252,000 on bracelet, while the Greubel Forsey Double Balancier Convexe is priced at CHF 305,000 on strap and CHF 345,000 on bracelet. Both models are limited to 88 pieces and will be produced from 2023 to 2026. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.