Haute Timepieces: Double Tourbillon Technique Watch

The world of haute horology often focuses on celebrating the mechanical nature of watches. A mere quartz watch would never do, it is only purely mechanical masterpieces that are celebrated. A recent and growing trend has been to expose the inner workings of a watch. This is often referred to as “skeletonization,” or “open dial” watch making. The heavyweights in the mechanical watch making arena not only produce their own movements, but design them as well. This practice requires a tight integration of micro engineering prowess, as well as refined artistic insight, to create something as magical looking as what you see here.

Very few small teams are able to combine both of these ideals so successfully, and those that do are held in high regard by the luxury watch community. The popular timepiece award event, Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve recently awarded one such team with the “Best Complicated Watch Award” for 2009. No doubt Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey of the boutique brand Greubel Forsey deserved the recognition for their irresistible eye magnet, the Double Tourbillon Technique watch. It isn’t so much what the watch does, or how it is does it, but how well you are able to view it, doing it. The complexity here involves the highly intricate double tourbillion (tourbillion within a tourbillion), as well as the almost impossible construction of the three-dimensional microcosm of gears, metal and sapphire you see, when looking (literally) into this watch.

The timepiece begins with one of Greubel Forsey’s first inventions, the double tourbillion that sits at a 30 degree angle. A one minute spinning tourbillion that contains the escapement is literally placed inside of another tourbillion that spines once each four minutes. The Calibre GF 02s movement is manually wound and has a long 120 hour power reserve (distributed among four stacked barrels). The dial has prominent lume tipped hour and minute hands, a power reserve indicator, and another subsidiary seconds dial to compliment the one near the tourbillions.

The 43 jewel, 385 part movement sits inside of a large 47.5mm wide 18k red or white gold (platinum also available) case. Everything on the inside and outside of the watch is delicately hand finished and assembled. Quite impressive is the ability of the watch to remain readable given the emphasis on showing off the movement – that has been specifically designed to be ogled rather than hidden. One trick to accomplishing this was the use of transparent sapphire crystal pieces in the watch to allow for greater viewing of the entire movement. Greubel Forsey has masterfully set a high bar for all future high-end open dial watches, with the Double Tourbillon Technique timepiece. The watch arrives with a choice of colored hand-sewn alligator straps and a small plate on the side of the watch with a message from Stephen and Robert themselves. Price is 470,000 Swiss Francs. www.greubelforsey.com.

Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com


Image Points:

  1. One minute tourbillon inside of four minute tourbillion
  2. 120 hour power reserve indicator
  3. Four stacked mainspring barrels.
  4. Subsidiary seconds indicator
  5. Internal sapphire ring with applied hour markers
  6. 47.5mm wide case in red gold, white gold, or platinum
  7. Plate with message from Greubel Forsey on case side.