Last week’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, is always a good opportunity to meet with some other brands than those exposing in the aforementioned SIHH. We tend to focus on high-end watchmaking in the first place, and last week we met with a few key players in the (ultra) high-end segment. Meetings like these allow us to get some hands-on time and a good talk about the various elements (technically and aesthetically) of the watches, and one of our first meetings was with Laurent Ferrier, where we had the good fortune of seeing two stunning Galet Traveller watches with Cloisonné Enamel dials.
The Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller US Limited Edition with cloisonné dial was already introduced in September 2014, as a limited edition for the US market. We had only seen the press images of the white gold and pink gold version, and it already looked stunning. Now we had hands-on time with the new Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller World, which comes in white gold and pink gold, each featuring a striking cloisonné enamel dial. A feast for the eye, and it compliments a very clever traveller’s watch, with a cloisonné enamel map of the world.
The Galet Traveller World is, unlike the US version, not a limited edition, and can be obtain from Laurent Ferrier retailers around the world. We were lucky to see both new versions together, and of course had to use this opportunity to photograph the two new version for you.
What is cloisonné enamel?
The dial does not feature “just another” enamel dial, no, this is a so-called enamel cloisonné dial. A cloisonné dial starts by creating compartments (cloisons in French) to the metal object – here that is the dial – by soldering or adhering silver or gold wires or thin strips placed on their edges. These strips remain visible in the finished piece, separating the different compartments of the enamel or inlays. The segments will be filled with enamel powder, and heated according to the regular enameling proces. An important details is that the temperature can’t be as high as for normal enameling, because the gold cloisonné strips would melt.
The Galet Traveller’s case is one of the smallest timepieces coming from Laurent Ferrier, and measures 41 mm in diameter and is (only) 10 mm thick, making it a perfect fit, even when wearing a shirt with double cuffs. This is a gentleman’s traveller watch, it’s refined. It is designed, constructed and finished with attention to every small detail.
Inside ticks the beautiful calibre LF 230.01, which features a micro-rotor and an abundance of hand-finished parts. While the micro-rotor is used to reduce the overal height of a movement, the micro-rotor itself needs more rotations than a full rotor to turn the ratchet wheel, and thus power the main spring. Laurent Ferrier created a 30% more efficient escapement (double direct-impulse escapement fitted directly on the balance) and therefore the micro-rotor needs only 200 rotations for a full turn of the ratchet wheel (instead of the 300 turns it would need with a normal escapement.)
The layout of the movement is very pleasing, and features beautifully designed bridges. The level of finish is impressive, and of course all executed by hand: bridges are finished with Côtes de Genève striping, the main-plate is finished with circular graining (pèrlage), flanks of the bridges are beveled, wheel spokes are beveled, screw heads are polished, interior angles of the balance cock are beveled and polished and the micro-rotor bridge is beveled and polished. This is as good as it gets.
The self-winding movement has around 80 hours of power reserve, when fully wound, and its balance vibrates to a 3 Hz rhythm (21,600 vph). In the left-hand side of the case band are two pushers, which adjust the central hour up or down. The central hour hand, and of course also the minute hand, are to indicate the local time of the traveller. The date (visible through an aperture at 3 o’clock) is linked to the local time, and will adjust accordingly, when the time is set to a new location. In the aperture at the nine o’clock position is the home time indicated with a 24-hour disk.
Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller World with Cloisonné Enamel dial
- Case: 18K pink or white gold three-part case, 41 mm in diameter, 10 mm thick, domed sapphire crystal in front and back, water-resistant to 30 meters, “Ball-shaped” crown in 18K gold
- Dial: Grand feu enamel cloisonné in the centre surrounded by circular satin-brushed motif “Teardrop” hour-markers in 18K gold, bevelled date window at 3 o’clock, dual time-zone aperture at 9 o’clock, 18K gold “Assegai-shaped” hands
- Movement: self-winding calibre LF230.01, chronometer-certified (Besançon observatory), natural escapement with double direct-impulse directly on the balance, micro-rotor in 18K solid gold with pawl-fitted unidirectional winding, fixed between the mainplate and the bridge of the micro-rotor and equipped with a “silent bloc” shock-absorbing system, 21,600 vph (3Hz), 298 parts, 48 jewels
- Strap: hand-sewn blue/brown alligator leather, Alcantara lining, 16 mm pin buckle or double-blade folding clasp, in 18K pink or white gold
The price for this beauty, in Swiss Francs, is CHF 75,000 (before tax). More info: www.laurentferrier.ch