Early November, Greubel Forsey presented a new timepiece that combines a tourbillon, the “hallmark” of the firm, with GMT*. The least one can say is that this first incursion by Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey outside the legendary complication (which Abraham-Louis Breguet patented in 1801) has hit the spot. “We’ve had unprecedented media coverage,” says CEO Emmanuel Vuille, in Paris for the Belles Montres International Prestige Watch Fair. “This interpretation of world time, with a temporal representation in the form of a rotating globe, combined with precision chronometry seems to have made quite an impression. We’ll be delivering the first watches in two or three days. At Greubel Forsey we make a point of respecting reasonable deadlines, which is why we chose not to mention this watch at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in January this year. Simply because we weren’t ready.”
Greubel Forsey keeps to a calendar of two presentations of its new models a year; one in the autumn and one at the SIHH whose forthcoming edition in January 2012 will see the two master watchmakers arrive with a couple of exceptional new watches. And why change a winning formula? “We passed the cap of 2009 without having recourse to short-time work,” continues Emmanuel Vuille. “This is why we’re positive about watchmaking in general and Greubel Forsey in particular. Of course, the economic situation is still cause for concern and begs the question why wouldn’t we be affected. Hence the need to exercise caution in the current climate. But for us, caution means even more creativity.”
This creativity has already been rewarded. Says Emmanuel Vuille: “For a Manufacture such as ours, winning the 2011 International Chronometry Contest is the best recompense. It crowns work carried out to ensure the reliability and precision of our timepieces throughout the entire power reserve. Here you have the proof that at Greubel Forsey we’re not “polishers” as some have said. This is also proof that our research into the double tourbillon served a purpose, and that it’s not a gimmick. This award confirms our concepts and restores the tourbillon to its rightful place as a horological complication and anything but a mechanical ballet whose sole function is to be pleasing to the eye.”
Despite this recognition, Greubel Forsey has no intention of upping production. “We’ll continue to make around a hundred watches a year. The success of our timepieces doesn’t incite us to chase after big volumes. This is clearly a strategic decision. It’s vital that we maintain a gap between supply and demand to preserve the rarity and exclusivity of our products. We’re more concerned with promoting growth in terms of quality and innovation. We consider our watches to be works of art in which leading-edge technology meets the highest degree of aesthetic. But this also means finding competent staff which these days is an additional dilemma.” For the third consecutive year, Greubel Forsey will be at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie to defend this preservation of skills, with the watches to prove it.
* 2nd time zone GMT display; ourbillon 24 Secondes; rotating globe with universal time display; 24 time zone worldtime display; summer time indicator; worldtime disc with summer time zones; day-and-night indicator; power-reserve indicator; hour and minute display; small second indicator; GMT pusher; equatorial sapphire crystal lateral window