After spending thirty five years at Patek Philippe, Laurent Ferrier had finally come of age to open his own independent manufacture. His skills and experience at the renowned brand would come in handy in his new endeavor, and this was soon manifested in his stunning creations. Interestingly, Laurent Ferrier actually has a little history in professional racing. In particular, he raced the 1979 twenty-four hours of Le Mans and came in third! This specific bit of his history began with a certain Lotus 18, which he bought with his friends when he was just 20. This connection is usually apparent in his dynamic timepieces. Here is our pick of the top five Laurent Ferrier watches of all time.
1. Galet Classic Square Sector Dial Tourbillon Double Spiral Watch – $208,000
Galet is the French word for pebble, and was the inspiration behind Laurent Ferrier’s Galet timepieces for a long time before the collection was updated with a completely new case. The case maintains the same soft lines synonymous with the line, as well as the elegant appearance. The cushion-shaped case is 41.5mm wide and features 18k white gold. But perhaps the most interesting feature is the dial. As the name suggests, the watch comes with a 2-tone sector dial that is exceptionally pleasing to the eye. A circular satin-finished chapter ring is surrounded by a railway minute track and highlights the watch’s printed hour markers and indices at 3, 9, and 12 o’clock.
The applied indices are made of blackened gold. The hands are “assegai shaped,” referring to the spear used by African tribes for hunting. All the hands are made of gold. They are hand polished and then treated with ruthenium, which is responsible for their unique color. This attribute also creates a beautiful contrast between the hands and the silvery dial, making the watch highly legible.
2. Swiss FineTiming Limited Edition Galet Square Vintage America I Watch – $42,700
The Swiss FineTiming Limited Edition is a classically designed timepiece with the characteristic Galet Square look that is instantly recognizable. The vintage styling includes an eye-catching dial and a stainless steel case embodying the 41mm x 41mm watch. It is water resistant up to 30m. The outer dial comes with a round, satin-brushed finish that produces a captivating contrast with the vertical-brushed visage on the inner dial. The inclined chapter ring contains hand polished cabochon cut touches adorned in black nickel gold. There’s a small seconds sub-dial at the 6 o’clock mark, as well as painted Arabic numerals supplementing the dial.
The gold hour and minute hands are treated with Ruthenium and the back-case of each timepiece, which are limited to just ten copies, features the individual watch’s serial number. The Galet Square is powered by a self-winding FBN Calibre 229.01 created by the in-house production team. The movement, which houses a silicon escapement and 35 jewels, comes with a pawl-fitted rotor and a power reserve capacity of 72 hours. The watch is currently priced at about $42,000.
3. Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro Rotor ‘Montre Ecole’ Watch – $48,000
At first glance, the Micro Rotor “Montre Ecole” timepiece looks simple and subdued – but that has been the basis of Laurent Ferrier watches since their debut. Most of the magic happens in the case. The watch features a 3-piece case that merges both polished and matte surfaces. The case is also contoured on the case back and dial side, leading to a rounded presence below and above the wrist. The dial is inspired from the watchmaker’s very first creation – his “School Piece” – and boasts a perfect execution of sandblasting, snail finishing, and vertical brushing. As a result, the timepiece has a unique depth and contrast that makes it really stand out.
The anthracite painted indexes and assegai-shaped hands complement the minimalist design and blend excellently with the dark silver hue on the dial. The movement – a FBN Calibre 229.01 – is just as impressive as the case finishing. It highlights keen material contrast, mirror polishing, and microbillé finishing. Technical refinements include a silent block-shock protection system for the movement’s micro-rotor, as well as a silicon escapement.
4. Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller Globe Night Blue Watch Hands-On – $87,000
The Traveller Globe is an iteration of the earlier edition of the Galet Traveller, which featured a fascinating movement that operated admirably. This version goes beyond adding a globe on the dial, but it is still the center of attention. The central design is held in raised areas of highly-furnished 18-karat white gold, with blue enamel surrounding the Night Blue model. The oceans on the Traveller Globe Night Blue are covered in spectacular blue enamel (translucent) that glows brighter towards the continents. The continents, which are made of white gold, have been crafted so masterfully that they tend to stand out from the oceans visually. The enameling design on the display is called champlevé, which is the French word for “raised fields.” It refers to the compartments cut into the white gold material to accommodate vitreous or fluid enamel. The liquid enamel, once applied, is heated to extremely high temperatures (up to 1,000 degrees C) in an oven. It has a close resemblance to cloisonné enamel, but with a less intricate design and much thicker walls.
5. Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Boréal Watch
With a steel styling and an automatic movement, the Galet Square Boréal is one of the most elegant Laurent Ferrier watches ever produced. The term “Boréal” means “north” and is part of the phrase “Aurora Borealis,” which refers to northern lights. Perhaps it’s fair to assume that the name was inspired by the luminance produced by these lights, or suggests that the watch was designed for northern travel. On the other hand, Laurent Ferrier hasn’t given away any hints as to the name’s meaning, so it is open to your own interpretation.
Additionally, although the name of the watch suggests that it is shaped squarely, this is not a square watch – more like a cushion shaped one. Despite the confusing naming, the watch itself comes with attractive designs and is exceptionally high quality. The case, while not particularly new in terms of design, is finished elegantly. It is produced in steel, with the whole watch condensed in a 41mm by 41mm size. It is just 11mm thick, which is great for this kind of automatic watch, and the crown has a diameter of 45.35mm. The watch goes for around $35,000.