Laurent Ferrier, a watchmaking dream
Laurent Ferrier stands for 40 years of experience in the field of Haute Horlogerie and at last the fulfillment of a watchmaking dream: that of creating timepieces equipped with exclusive movements, decorated and assembled in harmony with the rules of the watchmaking art in the Ateliers LAURENT FERRIER.
When Laurent Ferrier decided to venture into the realm of independent horology, his desire was to take time to do things properly. Watchmakers do indeed traditionally take the appropriate amount of time to polish a component until the result is perfect.
Laurent Ferrier wants to give his team this freedom in order to ensure that the resulting timepieces reflect watchmaking know-how as well as the corresponding attitude. Each movement has been thought out right down to the finest details in order to find its way through time and generations and thereby testify to skills that are more than 200 years old. Laurent Ferrier likes to think that a 22nd century watchmaker will appreciate such workmanship and such respect for horological values and fundamentals.
This demand for quality in all aspects, from development through to assembly is reflected in each model emerging from the ATELIERS LAURENT FERRIER
LAURENT FERRIER offers a genuine alternative for devotees of Fine Watchmaking.
With their pure lines, LAURENT FERRIER creations respect the rules of balance and harmony. But they do so much more, since they also house exclusive movements offering innovative solutions to the quest for precision and reliability. Thus equipped with calibers that are visible exclusively from the back, they display distinguished character imbued with discretion.
Inspired by 19th century pocket watches, the pebble-shaped cases, the “assegai” hands and the exceptional dials embody a blend of elegance and refinement.
Finishes: an imperative requirement at Laurent Ferrier
The attention devoted to finishing details ensures a perfectly orchestrated stage-setting for the movement. In the case of the Tourbillon Double Spiral, Laurent Ferrier has opted to associate straight lines and curves in a smooth and appealing manner.
Horological finishes – satin-brushing, polishing, beveling and circular graining – are performed in an entirely traditional way, harmoniously complemented by a Côtes de Genève motif.
An emblematic component of the LAURENT FERRIER Galet Tourbillon Double Spiral models, the tourbillon bridge combines the three finishes executed in the in-house workshops.
This distinctive guitar-shaped bridge features 6 interior angles, a rounded-off “neck” and a satin-brushed surface.
Interior angles at Laurent Ferrier
Even today, there is no machine capable of polishing an interior angle. This distinctive form of beveling (or chamfering) can only be done manually by experienced artisans.
While many manufacturers have abandoned this skill, it is still alive and well at Laurent Ferrier, where it is done by a person dedicated to this task.
The profession of beveller or chamferer has all but disappeared, and this expertise is handed down from generation to generation through practice alone.
The whole purpose of this technique is to give the part a perfect aesthetic appearance.
In the Ateliers LAURENT FERRIER bevellng is done with a file and polishing with a buff and a diamond powder applied with a hand-cut boxwood peg.
Round polishing the “neck” of the tourbillon bridge requires around three hours of hand craftsmanship in order to reach the level of perfection demanded by LAURENT FERRIER in terms of both the shape and the polish.
Through the regular to-and-fro circular motion of the hand holding the base on which the part is placed, and the other holding the abrasive plate, the artisan shapes the material as required.
Once the rounded curve is clearly defined, the challenge lies in achieving a perfectly polished final result by applying diamond powder with a boxwood peg.
The surface of the metal is drawn out in the desired direction (horizontal or vertical) so as to achieve a matt appearance and a finely striated effect.
Specular (mirror or black) polish
The part is placed on a zinc plate coated with diamond paste and then rubbed in a circular motion so as to achieve a mirror-polish effect. All the watchmaking decorative choices are precisely defined during the development phase in order to be smoothly integrated within the final composition.
Galet Classic - Tourbillon Double Spiral
Invented in 1801 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, the tourbillon is a horological complication designed to compensate for the differences in rate resulting from positions (vertical) that are unfavorable for the regulating organ.
For the first time, this major invention is complemented by a double balance-spring. The two balance-springs are mounted head-to-tail, making it possible to maintain the center of the balance firmly on its axis when the springs are deployed on either side.
The combined advantages of these two devices guarantee high rating precision and enhanced regularity.
Watchmaking choices inspired by traditional Haute Horlogerie
Inspired by the major 19th and 20th century chronometry (precision timing) models, the Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Spiral features a number of nods to the competition watches that testified to the expertise of the finest watchmaking artisans.
For example, a long-blade ratchet pawl was chosen for its horological aesthetic, magnified by a smoothly round-polished finish, as well as for the fact that it was featured on historical pocket watches. Finally, it also features an extremely pleasing sound during winding. The ball-shaped crown makes handling particularly easy.
The Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix
Le Galet Classic – Tourbillon Double Spiral won the Best Men’s Watch Prize at the 2010 Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.
The Échappement Naturel by Laurent Ferrier
Laurent Ferrier offers its own interpretation of an invention by Abraham-Louis Breguet dated 1789: the échappement naturel, or double direct-impulse escapement.
The distinctive nature of the échappement naturel lies in its ability to impart two impulses per oscillation directly to the balance, a system that calls for two escape-wheels and a suitably shaped lever.
To better understand the system, one can look on it as a swing. You traditionally push the swing and then wait for it to return before pushing it again. To illustrate the échappement naturel, simply imagine two people pushing the swing to and fro between them.
For Breguet, the aim was to preserve as much transmissible energy as possible, since an impulse is imparted to the balance with each vibration. This idea thus seemed very promising, yet Breguet fitted it on a very limited number of models.
The main reason was that this escapement resulted in additional friction which adversely affected long-term reliability.
However, with the materials and precision technologies available today, this construction lives up to its intrinsic promise, as Laurent Ferrier vividly demonstrates in its Galet Micro-Rotor model that derives full benefit from the facilitated winding of the barrel-spring.
Laurent Ferrier has opted for a lever made of silicon for its intrinsic lightness and self-lubricating properties; as well as escape-wheels in a nickel-phosphorous alloy for its extreme hardness. The main advantages of these cutting-edge materials are the resulting perfect surface states along with strong resistance to wear and corrosion.