In tune with the season, Laurent Ferrier launches an ‘autumn-inspired’ version of his well-known Galet Annual Calendar School Piece. Created in collaboration with retailer Boutique Montres Prestige in Geneva, the watch in a 40mm steel case with an opaline salmon-coloured dial is a limited edition of just five pieces. And well, it looks really good.
The Galet Annual Calendar Montre École, or School Piece, marked an important milestone in Laurent Ferrier’s career: it was the fifth in-house calibre produced by the independent master watchmaker and his first calendar complication. It was also a nostalgic watch for Laurent Ferrier inspired by his 1968 ‘school watch’, a watch that fledgling watchmakers have to produce to graduate from watchmaking school. When we met the watch at the SIHH 2018, it was love at first sight and the jury of the GPHG were equally smitten awarding it the 2018 Men’s Complication prize.
Looking at the dial of this watch with its golden red tones, it’s hard not to hum the song “Autumn Leaves”. Although the dial might be described as ‘salmon’ it is much warmer and richer, like the autumn scenery it evokes. Unlike some other models in the Galet Annual Calendar collection with two-tone dials, but like this blue version or the black and white models, this autumn edition uses the same colour throughout. The opaline dial features the characteristic sandy matte sparkle that adds texture and interest to the dial and keeps bothersome reflections at bay.
The combination of salmon/autumn-coloured dial with a steel case has already proven successful. This new LF won’t be the exception!
The legibility of the annual calendar functions couldn’t be clearer. Similar to triple calendar watches of the 1940s, the date is indicated in blue Arabic numerals (the 31 is in red) on the periphery with a white ‘pointer’ hand, and the day of the week and month are displayed in two bevelled rectangular apertures in the top half of the dial. Recessed slightly from the level of the dial and snailed in its centre, the small seconds is located at the traditional 6 o’clock position. Another distinctive feature of Laurent Ferrier watches is the ‘assegai’ shape (like javelins) of the white gold hour and minute hands, both treated with ruthenium and finished to perfection.
When he designed his first annual calendar, Ferrier put user-friendliness at the top of his wish list. Instead of recessed pushers in the case band involving fiddly sticks, he incorporated an easy-to-use grip pusher at 10 o’clock to set the day of the week. He also endowed the large ball-shaped crown with extra functionality to adjust the date and month functions by moving the crown backwards of forwards, in addition to the standard functions of setting the time and winding the movement.
A combination of round, smooth shapes like river-worn pebbles (galet is the French for pebble) and the clean lines of 19th-century pocket watches, the Galet Annual Calendar captures the watchmaker’s commitment to beautiful finishes. The polished 40mm case is identical to other models in the Galet Annual Calendar family and has a thickness of 10.10mm without the sapphire crystal (and 12.80mm with it). Small details like the domed circlet on the tip of the crown, which is echoed on the tips of the lugs, attest to Ferrier’s attention to design details.
The Galet Annual Calendar School Piece relies on a proprietary hand-wound movement with a traditional Swiss lever escapement and is fitted with a “long blade click-type ratchet”, a technical feature reminiscent of pocket watches and a feature of LF’s first manual-winding movement used in the tourbillon double hairspring. The 235-component movement oscillates at 3Hz and offers a robust 80-hour power reserve, which is indicated on the reverse side by a circular wheel with a sunburst finish.
The decoration of calibre 126.01 is contemporary and more technical than some of LF’s earlier models. The bridges are decorated with thick Geneva stripes and plated with dark ruthenium thus heightening the contrast with the steel and brass parts. The mainplate is embellished with perlage and the sides and interior angles are chamfered by hand.
Price and availability
The Laurent Ferrier Annual Calendar School Piece “Geneva Edition” comes with a chestnut-brown alligator leather strap and a choice of pin buckle or double folding clasp. Limited to five pieces, the watch will be available worldwide, and of course at Boutique Montres Prestige Geneva too. It will retail for CHF 50,000.