Horological Action Hero
A sporty presence and chronometric precision come together exquisitely in Greubel Forsey’s Balancier S.
Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey are widely revered in horological circles for making complex creations like their inclined tourbillons as well as the divine finishing that adorns their calibers. This summer, however, the brand’s “inventor watchmakers” made it clear that they’re intent on expanding their resumes to include sports watches with the introduction of the Balancier S.
This is Greubel Forsey we’re talking about, so naturally this new addition doesn’t fit neatly into any typical sports watch category. Instead, it integrates a technically advanced mechanism with ergonomics and aesthetics that are tailor-made for active lifestyles.
It all begins with the watch’s avant-garde titanium case. From above, it appears to be a normal round case. But view it from any other angle, and you quickly realize that it’s actually an arched ovoid topped with a matching sapphire crystal. More than just an eye-catching detail, this unconventional shape also serves a higher purpose. Thanks to the curvature of the case — in conjunction with its integrated lugs and rubber strap — the watch wraps neatly around the wrist for an extraordinarily comfortable fit that belies its robust 45mm diameter.
Rest assured, there are visual benefits too, as the vaulted sapphire crystal provides a revealing look at two key elements that populate the dial of the Balancier S. The first is the arched double bridge anchored in the 4 o’clock position. At its terminus in the center of the dial, the arms support the curved hour and minutes hands. Look closer, and you’ll also see that they’re connected to the movement’s exposed gear train, which is arched as well. The other vital component on display is the large, inclined balance wheel at 7 o’clock that serves as the raison d’être for Balancier S.
Let’s dig a little deep into the balance wheel’s details. Greubel Forsey fans will notice right away that the tilted balance is reminiscent of the brand’s award-winning inclined tourbillons. Those complex tourbillon mechanisms not only raised chronometric expectations for the entire watch industry, but they also helped make the manufacture a darling of the horological cognoscenti.
In the Balancier S, the balance wheel is inclined 30° — a position that limits timing errors caused by the effects of gravity when the watch is resting in a stable position. The wheel, which measures 12.6mm in diameter, is larger than those found in most other watches. It’s interesting to note that this oversized oscillator originated in 2016 when it appeared in the popular Signature 1 collection. However, this inclined version has never been released and is making its debut in the Balancier S. The wheel’s size combined with the speed at which it swings (a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour) ensures that the watch delivers superb chronometric performance for the duration of its 72-hour power reserve.
That standout functionality in the Balancier S is matched by the exceptional craftsmanship that elevates its overall design. As collectors have come to expect from Greubel Forsey’s world-class Swiss atelier, all of the watch’s 308 components have been embellished aesthetically according to the highest traditions of watchmaking’s decorative arts.
From the front, the bezel provides an apt example with its sophisticated mix of brushed and polished finishes, as well as the relief engraving used to create the list of Greubel Forsey’s core values that circle the dial. On the back, this artisanal know-how takes the form of the frosting that covers the titanium mainplate and bridges, as well as the highly polished bevels and countersinks. Together, these decorative flourishes add up to a level of beauty rarely seen in a sports watch.
Although the fascinating mix of craftsmanship and chronometry make it easy to overlook, there’s no mistaking that the “S” in the Balancier S stands for sport. Its sleek case cuts a powerful profile on the wrist, but its titanium construction guarantees the watch is never top-heavy (it weighs less than 110 grams) and always a pleasure to wear. The impressive case is even water-resistant to 100 meters, which means the watch stands ready to accompany you on all kinds of aquatic adventures.
To launch the Balancier S, Greubel Forsey has introduced two versions. The first includes a natural titanium dial and is available globally in a limited series of 18 pieces. The other model — which is available exclusively in the United States — has a blue dial and is also offered as an 18-piece limited edition.
Only Greubel Forsey could bridge the worlds of sports and chronometry in such a wonderful and unique way.
Click here to view the Greubel Forsey collection online at Cellini Jewelers.