Laurent Ferrier trained at the Geneva school of watchmaking, and, like all watchmakers, completed the course by constructing his own “school piece.” It expressed his ambition of perpetuating fine 19th century watchmaking. In the Galet Micro-Rotor Montre Ecole, Laurent Ferrier celebrates that piece, and translates the pebble-like rounded smoothness of pocket watches into a wristwatch.
Case and dial
The case, with 3 bar/30 metres water resistance, is in differentiated satin and polished finish, with thin straight lugs terminating in circular end-pieces that mirror the design of the crown. It is 40 mm in diameter and 10.95 mm thick. The dial is minimalist, with contrasting areas of satin brushing, sandblasted and snailed finish. The sapphire caseback reveals the movement, which, in the steel-case version, has a finish reflecting that of 18th century British watchmaking with shotblast (microbillé) brass surfaces and mirror black-polished steel surfaces. The watch has an alligator strap with pin buckle or folding clasp. On the gold version, movement decoration is more elaborate, with Côtes de Genève on the bridges and circular graining on the mainplate.
The Galet Micro-Rotor Montre Ecole is powered by the FBN Calibre 229.01, an automatic movement with a 72-hour power reserve. It is the second in-house movement by Laurent Ferrier after his double balance-spring tourbillon. The added complication of the natural escapement is shown by the number of jewels, 35, with 186 components. It runs at a frequency of 3 Hertz, 21,600 vibrations per hour.
The natural escapement is one of Laurent Ferrier’s hallmark features, a type of escapement invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1789, but applied to only a few watches by this master of classic watchmaking. The basic concept is to ensure a higher and more regular transmission of energy to the balance by giving it two impulses with each cycle – in a normal lever escapement, the balance receives an impulse just once every cycle. As a metaphor, a normal lever escapement is like a swing, that you push once every cycle, while the natural escapement would be like having two people on either side, each giving a push at each extremity. Breguet had problems with the system because in his day, it increased the friction of the escapement. Today, the use of silicon technology reduces friction and makes the natural escapement a feasible proposition, and its more regular transmission of energy reduces the total torque required from the mainspring. This in turn reduces the energy needed from the winding rotor, which can therefore be smaller and lighter.
Versions and prices
The steel version of the Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor Montre Ecole is reference LCF024.AC, and it costs 35,000 Swiss francs. The gold version, available in white or red gold, is reference LCF024.G/R, price 45.000 Swiss francs. Further information from the Laurent Ferrier website.