The Evolution of a Revolution
Greubel Forsey Explores the Art of Invention During an Exhibition at Cellini Jewelers
Greubel Forsey and Cellini Jewelers present an exhibition that illustrates the celebrated Swiss atelier’s evolution since its 2004 debut. Open to the public from July 10 to 24, the “20 Calibres Retrospective Exhibition” will be held in Cellini’s boutique at 509 Madison Avenue.
This special engagement offers collectors a rare opportunity to experience Greubel Forsey timepieces first hand. The featured pieces spotlight a number of the company’s greatest achievements and span its entire collection, from the extraordinary Grande Sonnerie unveiled earlier this year to the Double Tourbillon 30° — the first calibre the brand ever created.
One of the most spectacular timepieces at the exhibition has to be the Double Tourbillon 30° Technique Sapphire, which features a case carved from a single piece of sapphire crystal. Greubel Forsey will only produce eight of these timepieces and the one on display is among the last in the limited-edition series.
More than just an impressive feat of engineering, the clear case also provides an unrestricted view of the timepiece’s highly complex Double Tourbillon 30°. Patented in 2001 by watchmakers Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey, the mechanism’s distinctive design enhances chronometric precision by using two nested tourbillon cages. Its outer cage rotates once every four minutes, while the inner cage — which is set at a 30° angle — rotates once every 60 seconds. Through the years, the Double Tourbillon 30° has appeared in several different cases, but the visual effect of the two cages turning inside this transparent case is particularly mesmerizing.
Simply put, there are no other watch companies today that are creating tourbillons quite like Greubel Forsey. The long list of accolades earned by its horological inventions includes winning the International Chronometry Competition in 2011 with the Double Tourbillon 30° Technique and, most recently, the grand prize (Aiguille d’Or) at the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève for the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision.
The company’s technical ambition is evident in the QP à Équation. It features a tourbillon that’s set at a 25° angle and rotates once every 24 seconds. But that’s only the beginning. Its remarkable list of functions also includes: a bi-directional perpetual calendar, equation of time, power reserve indicator, day/night indicator, and function selector, as well as indications for seasons, solstices and equinoxes.
Without question, Greubel Forsey’s reputation for creating ingenious tourbillons is well deserved, but it’s not the company’s sole focus. Its exceptional collection also features timepieces like the GMT, whose striking design comprises a Tourbillon 24 Secondes, but also a second time zone GMT display, rotating titanium globe with universal time display, summer time indicator, world timer with summer time zones, day/night indicator, and power reserve indicator.
However, one of the most technically advanced non-tourbillon pieces the brand offers is the Double Balancier. A portion of its dial is cut away to uncover the timepiece’s mechanical raison d’étre. Positioned in the opening are two separate escapements, each with a balance wheel set at a different 30° angle. The rates produced by the individual escapements are continuously averaged by the sophisticated differential gear mechanism located near the center. The purpose of the design is to enhance time-keeping accuracy, but it’s easy to lose sight of that important point when you’re watching the captivating performance of the balance wheels.
At the exhibition, guests will see the one-of-a-kind, blue-dial version of the Double Balancier that Greubel Forsey made exclusively for Cellini.
All of the timepieces selected for the exhibition underscore Greubel Forsey’s insatiable eagerness to push the limits of watchmaking. But it goes beyond the company’s willingness to challenge what’s possible mechanically. What’s also clear is how highly the company values the traditional art of hand finishing.
The Signature 1 unveiled last year is a perfect example of this. The minimalist design of this time-only watch is a virtual showcase for Greubel Forsey’s obsessive approach to finishing. A close inspection reveals certain aspects that can only be achieved by working the metal by hand, like the sharp internal angles and crisp bevels found on the movement’s plates and bridges. But the true star of the show is the black-mirror polishing applied to the balance wheel bridge. This gorgeous finish — which has become a Greubel Forsey signature — is rarely seen in watchmaking because it’s extremely time consuming and so difficult to execute properly.
That also happens to be a fitting metaphor for Greubel Forsey’s overall approach to watchmaking. Regardless of whether the objective is aesthetic or mechanical, the company has always embraced the challenge of going beyond what’s possible to create timepieces without compromise. More than anything, that’s what the “20 Calibres Retrospective Exhibition” celebrates.
Don’t miss your chance to enjoy these exceptional timepieces from Greubel Forsey firsthand.
Click here to view the Greubel Forsey collection online at Cellini Jewelers.