Laurent Ferrier is coming up for its tenth anniversary this year and celebrates with the release of this Classic Origin Opaline watch in a 40mm Grade 5 titanium case and the pared-down elegance we have come to associate with Laurent Ferrier. The first time the brand recurs to titanium, this straightforward time-only model with small seconds at 6 o’clock has an elegant dash of sportiness with touches of burgundy and grey on the dial. And in addition to that, there’s also a version of the brand’s proprietary movement inside.
From strength to strength
Not many watchmakers found a brand, produce a watch and win an important prize in the same year. The son and grandson of watchmakers with a long career at Patek Philippe as creative director, Laurent Ferrier went solo in 2010 setting up shop in Geneva. His first watch, the Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Spiral secured the men’s watch prize at the GPHG 2010. Its deceptively simple dial with no trace of a tourbillon belied the sophisticated mechanics below.
As you can see, the essential layout of this tenth-anniversary piece is similar to the inaugural Galet Classic model but interpreted in a more contemporary design language, in a sportier titanium case, sans tourbillon, and with a much simpler (yet still superbly finished) movement.
Curvaceous titanium case
The Grade 5 titanium case has a diameter of 40mm and a thickness of 10.70mm and features the hallmark ball-shaped crown that is featured on all Laurent Ferrier watches, a throwback to the onion-style crowns of 19th-century pocket watches that he so admires. The advantages of Grade 5 titanium are manifold: it can be polished, it is lightweight, corrosion-resistant and hypoallergenic. The case is polished throughout highlighting the round smooth surfaces that have become a trademark of this brand. The name Galet, a reference to the smooth worn shapes of river pebbles that was once used by the brand to describe the sensual cases, really sums it up. Today, the Galet appellation seems to have disappeared.
A composed, elegant dial
The dial of this watch is classic Laurent Ferrier, a winning combination of design elements and muted colours that give the watch its sophisticated and timeless appeal. The silvery opaline background provides a neutral canvas for the elements. Naturally, the elegant white gold Assegai (or javelin-shaped) hands we all associate with LF are used to indicate the hours and minutes. The railway-style track for the hours and minutes is picked out in a slate grey colour to contrast with the warm burgundy colour of Arabic numbers from 13-24.
The three applied white gold hour markers at 12, 3 and 9 o’clock feature impressively executed shapes that taper from a cylindrical top to finish in a sharp point. The rest of the hour markers are represented by thin straight lines echoing the grey colour scheme of the track.
A grey crosshair traverses the centre of the dial adding a technical touch that appears on a number of previous models, including the Annual Calendar model. A large, slightly recessed small seconds counter is placed at 6 o’clock. With burgundy markings and a snailed interior, the small seconds is also read with a white gold hand. The overall impression is one of elegance, symmetry and serenity and underscores Laurent Ferrier’s impressive talent as a designer.
Hand-wound Calibre LF 116.01
Turning the watch over reveals the hallmark Laurent Ferrier ‘lip’ on the bottom of the caseback, another reference to yesteryear pocket watch movements that could be accessed by lifting the lid. Although it is being touted as a ‘brand new calibre’, the movement running inside this watch uses the same base, noticeably simplified, as the sophisticated movement powering the Galet Annual Calendar – calibre LF 126.01. The calendar module and the power reserve indication have been removed from the annual calendar calibre along with the more complex “dual impulse” escapement found in the micro-rotor watches, replaced here with a more conventional Swiss lever.
The movement is equipped with a free-sprung balance and a Breguet overcoil, a combination that mitigates positional errors and improves isochronism. It is also fitted with the long-blade ratchet system of Laurent Ferrier watches, the component responsible for producing the distinctive sound and feel when winding the watch. Like the more sophisticated annual calendar, the movement oscillates at 3Hz and offers a robust 80-hour power reserve.
The finishes of calibre LF 116.01 are decidedly contemporary and in line with the high-end finishes of other Laurent Ferrier models. The bridges have been microblasted and display a matte black finish heightening the contrast with the brass parts. As always, the bridges display hand-polished chamfers and jewel sinks.
The Classic Origin Opaline comes with a casual light-brown Barbialla calfskin strap with white stitching and a Grade 5 titanium pin buckle. The retail price is CHF 28,500 (Excl. taxes), making this watch the most accessible LF in the collection.
For more information, please visit laurentferrier.ch.