“Charmed” best describes the reaction that greeted Laurent Ferrier’s wristwatch called the Montre Ecole, or “School Piece”. It represented the watchmaker’s earliest development, returning to the basic pieces which forged his abilities as a watchmaker. It also possessed the qualities that would make it a “watchmaker’s watch,” minimalist yet complete. It was a watch that would speak to horologists who have been there, learning the basics – one they would love to wear themselves.
What will surprise those who thought it may have been a cul-de-sac, a standalone expression of respect and nostalgia for the roots of his education is that the Montre Ecole has evolved into precisely what any instructor would hope for such a timepiece: a platform that invited further projects. For the second model to use the School Piece case, Mr. Ferrier has turned to the layout that isn’t merely familiar to watchmakers. It is one that also represents a type of clock which would have been used to guide the watchmaker when making, servicing or regulating a timepiece.
For 2017, Laurent Ferrier will launch a new Regulateur display on a base of a Galet Micro-Rotor movement, housed in a School Piece case. Its visage is classical, with the most important of the three indicators – the large, centrally-positioned hand – displaying the minutes. Above the centre, at 12 o’clock is the hours display, while below it, at 6 o’clock is the seconds subdial.
While regulators suggest the utilitarian and the functional, Laurent Ferrier is incapable of releasing a watch that is prosaic. The movement is the FBN Calibre 228.01, with automatic winding courtesy of a pawl-fitted micro-rotor, delivering a 72-hour power reserve. The 40mm stainless steel case or white gold is water resistant to 30m and is fitted with sapphire crystals for front and back, for a perfect view of the movement. Alongside the Côtes-de-Genève motif on the bridges and the circular graining on the mainplate, the wheel spokes are bevelled, the screw heads are chamfered and polished and the interior angles are hand-crafted.
For the dial, a silver toned, vertical satin-brushed finish has been chosen, with the minute and seconds counters recessed and contracted with a nickel snailed finish. The small hours dial bears Roman numerals in black, while the minutes are shown on a “railway track” ring in slate grey with blue painted Arabic numerals at 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes. The hands for the three functions include a “leaf-shaped” hand for the hours and “assegai-shaped” hand for the minutes and a baton-shaped hand for the seconds. All three hands are in white gold 18K/210Pd with a black ruthenium treatment.