Greubel Forsey is one of the biggest names in the highest levels of haute horology. The brand is renowned for its asymmetric cases, tourbillons, and superlative levels of finishing. In 2007, Greubel Forsey released its first Tourbillon 24 Secondes Asymétrique watch, which was notable for its asymmetric case and inclined tourbillon which made a revolution every 24 seconds, hence the name. And now, 10 years and roughly 180 pieces later, Greubel Forsey is bringing the curtain down on the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Asymétrique. But not without one last hurrah. So to commemorate one of the brand’s most popular and iconic models, they announced the Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Edition Historique at SIHH 2017.
Interestingly, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Edition Historique is the second Edition Historique is the brand’s history. The first was in 2010 when Greubel Forsey decided to end the Double Tourbillon 30° Contemporaine collection. And in true Edition Historique fashion, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Edition Historique has features that are unique to it and not present on other Tourbillon 24 Secondes watches.
To begin, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Edition Historique will be limited to just 11 pieces each in 5N red gold and platinum. The case measures 44mm wide and is asymmetric, sticking out slightly at 8 o’clock to accommodate the sizable inclined tourbillon. The bezel is fairly thick and is mirror polished, which makes the dial look smaller than it actually is. The sides of the case feature straight graining and all of the finishings were done by hand. And as is clearly visible, there is a lot of text on one side of the dial, explaining the Greubel Forsey philosophy in depth. The text itself is quite small and appears to be decorative from a distance but is definitely readable when examined up close. It’s really an objective design preference matter, but I can’t imagine this text won’t irk some people.
Though the watch has meticulous finishings throughout, it is easy to recognize that the design has been “phoned in” a little bit. Meaning that it’s very typically Greubel Forsey, while not really offering anything creative or new, which is a letdown. That’s not to say there aren’t design aspects that I quite enjoy and appreciate here. For example, a neat thing about the case is that the asymmetric section features a sapphire display window at the case side, offering the wearer a side perspective of the inclined tourbillon. In addition, on the sides of the case are plates of red gold or platinum that feature engraved, hand-finished text that proclaims the watchmaking philosophies of the brand. This is likely to be a divisive design choice, obviously. The fairly large crown also has an engraved raised logo of Greubel Forsey, which is banal and usually would not be on the top list of design choices I admire from a brand like this.
The dial, as you’d expect from a Grebeul Forsey, is delightful (though, again, a little unremarkable given what we’ve grown to expect from GF). The dial has a lot of depth and detail, and is crafted out of a plate of solid gold. From afar, the red gold model looks as if half of its dial is silver and the other half is black. The dial is indeed silver, but the dark half is actually an engraved piece of sapphire disc that expresses the philosophies of the brand. On the platinum model, the silver half of the dial is rendered in anthracite.
At 2 o’clock, there is a power reserve indicator rendered in the form of a simple pointer with a rotating disc underneath. And in between 5 and 6 o’clock, there is the subsidiary seconds indicator, which is also depicted in the form of a pointer and a rotating disc underneath. This way of showing the power reserve and running seconds is new and unique to the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Edition Historique.
Other noteworthy details on the dial are the hands and hour markers, which are all crafted out of solid gold and given an interesting black treatment that makes them stand out against the silver hour ring and dial to improve legibility. On the platinum model, the solid gold hands and hour markers are given a mirror polish that contrasts against the anthracite dial.
And of course, at 8 o’clock you have what is the highlight of this piece, the inclined tourbillon. The tourbillon is inclined at a 25° angle and makes a rotation every 24 seconds. The entire tourbillon assembly is made up of 88 parts and the cage is made out of titanium. The titanium is used because it is light (at .39g) and therefore requires less torque and consumes less energy to rotate.
The fast spinning tourbillon is also very exciting to look at. The entire assembly is exquisitely decorated with prominent beveling and different finishes. The tourbillon bridge, for example, is made out of steel and given a barrel polish. And under the tourbillon is a black PVD-coated titanium platform with a polished backdrop.
Turning the watch around reveals an expansive sapphire display case back and shows off the movement in all of its glory. Finishing is a Greubel Forsey specialty, and even though much of the movement is hidden under large bridges, there is still a lot to see and admire. For instance, the bridges all have a unique frosted finish and extremely pronounced polished bevels. The jewels are slightly domed and are seated in gold chatons with polished countersinks. There is a lot to admire about the movement.
All in all, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Edition Historique is a fitting farewell for Greubel Forsey’s iconic 24 Secondes Asymétrique collection. It has design elements that are unique to this model and it is wonderfully crafted and features the magnificent levels of finishing that we have come to expect from Greubel Forsey. I especially like the piece of sapphire on the dial that features the engraving of the brand’s philosophy. I think that is a very neat touch. The Greubel Forsey Art Piece Edition 2 Replica Tourbillon 24 Secondes Edition Historique is limited to just 11 pieces in 5N red gold priced at $370,000 and 11 pieces in platinum priced at $395,000. greubelforsey.com