Since founding their unique watch company ten years ago in 2004, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have created an indelible footprint, instantly recognisable and firmly imprinted on the world of watchmaking. In the space of just one decade Greubel Forsey have become a benchmark watchmaker, and every move they make is followed keenly by collectors and other watchmakers alike. One of their most famous creations now comes in black: say hello to the Greubel Forsey GMT titanium Black ADLC.
For their latest foray, Greubel Forsey revisit the horological marvel that is their GMT from 2011-2012 and present the Greubel Forsey GMT Black in a new limited edition of only twenty-two pieces (we previously found a unique piece in platinum DLC coated), and you know what, even if blacked watches are not your thing, they’ve nailed it again! It is hugely impressive and even though it’s not a new concept, there is still so much to take in.
The 43.5mm titanium case, round save for where it bulges and swells to accommodate the array of novelties within has been shrouded in a fine coat of ultra-hard wearing ADLC (amorphous diamond-like carbon). This extremely resistant coating was created by Cartier, which uses it, among other watches, in the Santos 100 Carbon. It is known to have an improved hardness (to resist to scratches) and higher elasticity (to prevent delamination) compared to common DLC – Greubel Forsey may rely on the same case-maker or same supplier than Cartier. Beneath, the polished bezel shines through the vacuum-applied black powder, and contrasts against the matt finish of the waist. An oblong pusher located around the 11 o’clock position engages the GMT/second time zone setting, and when used in conjunction with the crown allows the wearer to set a home time via the little silver 12-hour subdial with its triangular red pointer.
Of course it’s that gorgeous blue and silver globe which the eye falls to first. Performing a complete rotation each 24-hour cycle on a pole-to-pole axis, the position of the land relative to the static 24-hour disc, which runs around the equator, gives a close approximation of the hour at that time in the different countries right across the northern hemisphere, and all in one take. The curved sapphire side panel bathes the adjacent portion of the globe in any additional available light as it passes through the hours either side of midday. It might not tell you the precise hour and minute in a particular part of the world, but as a feature, it is such a cool touch. How could anyone fail to be impressed?
Like the globe, the principal local time dial with applied numerals and the 12 in red, the silver small seconds register at the 3-4, the home time dial and the power reserve indicator are all screwed onto the black mainplate, with the screw heads visible, giving the sense of each function as a module, and appreciable in its own right.
And then there is the tourbillon. Greubel Forsey have absolutely mastered that horological grail, and in the GMT have kept it ‘simple’. Or at least in terms of what Greubel Forsey can do it’s simple. Set into its position it fairly whirls around in a 24-second cycle whilst also being offset at an angle of 25°, yet it seems independent from the rest of the movement as it seemingly teeters about on its axis.
Underneath, the spectacle continues, with a segmented wheel bearing the names of 24 major cities representing the timezones around the world sandwiched between two static 24-hour discs, the smaller inner disc showing summer time and the large outer disc for winter, or daylight saving time.
With so much activity, energy is a key consideration, and indeed two barrels ensure that demand for that energy is addressed with an ample reserve of seventy-two hours.
Not one aspect of the Greubel Forsey GMT Black merits a bad word, unless of course you’re buying it as a gift for someone, because if you are, and you’re not going to get to live and play with it yourself, it’s going to set you back around $565,000 (about 470,000 euros) and if that’s going to present a problem, then black might also describe your mood when it comes to checking out.
Costly then, for sure, but historic and appreciating the Greubel Forsey GMT Black might well turn out to be.