greubel forsey - Tourbillon 24 secondes contemporain
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
greubel forsey - Tourbillon 24 secondes contemporain

Tourbillon 24 secondes contemporain

greubel forsey

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Tourbillon 24 secondes contemporain

Greubel Forsey launches the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain, which is characterised by its round case and the emphasis on the technical aspects of the movement, particularly the tourbillon. 

With the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have once again challenged the frontiers of horological architecture in three-dimensions. 

The depth of vision is enhanced for the first time at Greubel Forsey by the royal blue finish of the plates and bridges. 
The Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain is a unique edition of 33 pieces featuring a titanium movement and platinum case.

 The aim from the very start of its development was to offer a three dimensional view within a circular backdrop highlighting the beauty of Greubel Forsey’s Tourbillon 24 Secondes mechanism. Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey were guided in their architectural and technological creativity by a desire to achieve aesthetic balance in every dimension.

The distinctive 12 o’clock index in relief is an example of the innovative spatial management of the components within this architectural study. A transparent synthetic sapphire tourbillon bridge gives a captivating and hypnotic impression of the regulator floating in mid-air and underlines one of the highly creative challenges which are to be found throughout the timepiece. And what makes it individual to every eye yet brings it a perfect harmony is the marriage of simplicity and complexity. ROYAL BLUE 
The Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain is distinguished by the magical royal blue finish of the titanium movement juxtaposed with the flamboyance of the tourbillon. This unique colour recalls to mind the ocean’s abyss and strengthens the depth of architecture of the movement. The purity of this intense blue finish, achieved through a special oxidation process is the fruit of considerable research and testing and, shimmering in an infinite range of hues according to the light, gives the timepiece an unparalleled vivacity.

The Tourbillon 24 Secondes

This timepiece houses Greubel Forsey’s third fundamental invention, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes: a highly-efficient fast-rotating – 24-second revolution – tourbillon cage inclined at 25 ° which minimises negative effects of gravity on the oscillator, particularly in stable positions.

The movement comprises 267 components, 88 for the tourbillon cage which weighs 0.39 grams and is powered by two coaxial mainspring barrels in series that provide a power reserve of 72 hours. The oscillator features a variable inertia balance with Phillips terminal curve beating at 3Hz / 21,600 APH.

The titanium plate and bridges feature a royal blue anodized oxide treatment and are hand finished with straight graining and spotting. Bridges in nickel silver with nickel-palladium finish are frosted and straight-grained with hand polished bevels. The tourbillon bridge is transparent synthetic sapphire while the tourbillon cage is in titanium. The hour and minute dial is in synthetic sapphire while small seconds dial and power reserve indicator are in gold. The platinum case measures 43.5 mm in diameter by 15.2 mm high and features domed synthetic sapphire crystals on the dial side and display back. The blue alligator strap is hand-stitched with a platinum 950 folding clasp.

Technical specifications

Who's who

“The first time I met Robert Greubel, he was working on Richard Mille’s Planetarium Tellurium. When I saw him at work, I immediately understood that he was a real high-flier – and that at that altitude, he wouldn’t be meeting many other people.” Laurent Picciotto’s earliest memory of the co-founder of what was to become “Greubel Forsey” speaks volumes about the master watchmaker’s personality. For once, the term is no exaggeration: Robert Greubel really does master watchmaking, from design right through to the production of each component.

Robert Greubel grew up in Alsace and began his career in the family business, Greubel Horlogerie. He then moved to Switzerland to work for the International Watch Company (IWC), where he helped develop their Grande Complication. Three years later, he joined independent designers Renaud & Papi (later bought out by Audemars Piguet) as a prototypist for complications. He quickly rose to the position of managing director and then partner. At the turn of the century, his career took a new turn, too. In 1999, Robert Greubel began working independently and met his future partner, Stephen Forsey. Laurent Picciotto holds the latter in the same admiration: “As well as being a man of erudition, Stephen is also the kindest and most approachable person working in top watchmaking”, he says. Stephen Forsey’s career began in England: he was brought up in St Albans by his father, who was deeply interested in mechanics and engineering.

From 1987 to 1992, he specialised in restoring timepieces, becoming managing director of Watch Restoration in London. He travelled to and from Neuchâtel on numerous occasions to follow the WOSTEP watchmaking training course – until the day in 2001 when he made a one-way trip, settling down permanently in Switzerland to set up Complitime with Robert Greubel. Based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the company produces complicated movements for major brands. Then in 2004, the two partners quit their jobs and officially registered their own brand, Greubel Forsey. “Initially, I was mostly aghast, largely due to their business model,” recalls Laurent Picciotto.

“Commercial strategy was the least of their worries; they were focused on doing extremely complex work in order to produce a tiny number of items... It was crazy!” Right from the start of that year’s BaselWorld, the brand’s degree of technical complexity made an impact. The very first timepiece was none other than a Double Tourbillon 30°. The brand’s DNA was already visible – a core business focusing on the tourbillon, with one hundred percent hand finishing to the highest standards of haute horlogerie. Stephen Forsey later explained that an item such as the Tourbillon 24 seconds requires 350 hours of work on finishings.

Harry Winston soon spotted the brand’s potential. As early as 2006, the firm entrusted them with the production of its Opus 6. From then on, Greubel Forsey continued to push back the boundaries of top watchmaking in a constant quest for precision, presenting outstanding items such as the Tourbillon 24 Seconds Incline and the Differential Quadruple Tourbillon. Such an unusual brand was bound to find its place in the Chronopassion collections: “Over time, Greubel Forsey has successfully made its mark with timepieces that ultimately, are self-evident for everybody. Stephen and Robert really are on a quest – they’re obsessed! Their fascination with mechanics is contagious. There’s a sense of “pure research” in their items. At the end of the day, you’re never sure of fully understanding a Greubel Forsey. That’s what makes them so special.”

Journalist : Olivier Müller

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