During Baselworld, and afterwards, we heard people call the new Laurent Ferrier Galet Square, a “dress Panerai.” How dare they?! Are we calling every sports watch with a rectangular case a sporty Cartier Tank? Are we nicknaming every square watch a Bell & Ross replica? No. So please, it’s not because a watch is coming with a cushion-shaped case that you can call it a Panerai. No offense toward the Officine but this new Laurent Ferrier Galet Square is not playing in the same league. Even if it comes with a stainless steel case (a first for the brand except a few limited / unique editions), it’s pure delicacy and elegance. Here are our thoughts.
Laurent Ferrier is not a new-comer in the watchmaking industry; the brand celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. However, before launching its own watches, Laurent Ferrier became creative director at Patek Philippe in 1974. (If you want to read more about the brand and its history, we encourage you to check this article). What is easily recognizable about the watches from LF is the elegance of the case, what they call a Galet (pebble in English) due to the very round and smooth shape. What is also hardly debatable is the beauty of the movements, designed in-house and manufactured with very, very nice finishings. For Baselworld 2015, the brand comes with a brand new design, a new entry-level watch that, thankfully, keeps all the attributes of the previous creations.
While all the watches previously introduced were coming with the ’round Galet’ shape – for instance the Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller World, the Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor or the Laurent Ferrier Tourbillon Double Spiral – this new Laurent Ferrier Galet Square comes with… a square case. Well, in fact, it’s more about a cushion-shaped case, meaning a mix between a round and a square shape – although some people dared to compared to a Panerai Radiomir. The case is in fact, like the previous creations, very rounded and smooth. There’s no salient or cutting edges and the full mirror polishing is one of the nicest ever seen. Together with this new shape, there also a new material. You’d expect Laurent Ferrier to come with gold or platinum cases. This one, as an entry-level, is made of stainless steel – and here is the only conceding to the quality and luxury – if we can ever say that stainless steel is not qualitative.
The Laurent Ferrier Galet Square exists in two editions. The first one is a classic for the brand, with its vertically brushed blue dial, its thin drop-shaped hour-markers in 18k white gold and its “Assegai-shaped” gold hands. It comes on a matching blue alligator strap. The other one however is both more original and clean at the same time. It comes with a gold-toned dial with a sunburst pattern, the same hands as the blue edition, however only 3 hour-markers. The result is a very pure watch that enhanced the shape of the case and only focusses on the time-reading. It comes on a sporty light brown barbialla calf strap. We have to admit that it doesn’t renew the concept of the brand but it gives a slightly more casual approach.
The case is not that small on paper at 41mm x 41mm but the cushion shape virtually reduces its presence on the wrist. It remains an elegant dress watch that can easily be worn with a suit – especially the blue edition – while the other one will definitely be wearable in every situation. The use of stainless steel offers several advantages: a reduced weight, a greater resistance to scratches and, of course, a reduction of the price. Don’t expect it to be extremely affordable but let’s say that it will enlarge the potential clientele. The lower price tag however is not linked to any technical changes, as the movement remains the same as the Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor – with the same superb finishing.
The Laurent Ferrier Galet Square is equipped with the Calibre 229.01, a micro-rotor self-winding movement that boasts 3 days of power reserve and that comes with several interesting feats. The first noticeable sweetness is the finishing, with large and hand-made bevelled and polished angles, engraving on the gold rotor, bevelled wheel spokes, black polishing on the steel part – take a look at the amazing rotor bridge – and large Geneva Stripes on the bridges. The layout is also very pleasant for the eyes. In one word, what a nice movement! Technically speaking, it also offers quite lot of pleasure. Alongside the use of a micro-rotor – that helps the movement to be thin at 4.35mm – it features a silicon escapement with double direct impulse on the balance. The balance is impelled twice per oscillation, a principle that requires two escape-wheels and an appropriately shaped lever. It maximizes energy efficiency, thereby guaranteeing a high amplitude of the balance. This reduces the amount of mechanical force required to wind the mainspring and thus optimizes winding.
This new entry-level is certainly one of the nicest creation of the brand and also the more affordable / less expensive one, as it will be priced at CHF 35.000 / USD 38.000.
The gold edition to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the brand
Together with these two stainless steel editions, Laurent Ferrier also introduces a rose gold edition to celebrate the 5th anniversary of its brand. It uses the same scheme than the other 5-year non-limited editions, meaning a chocolate brown dial with a vertical brushed pattern, a 18k rose gold case and milky white hands and indexes.
Of course this Laurent Ferrier Galet Square in gold will be more costly than the steel edition as it will be available for CHF 45.000 / USD 53.000.