Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain

In creating the Balancier Contemporain, a white gold 33-piece limited edition, Greubel Forsey imagined providing a particularly compact showcase for its exclusive balance-wheel system. Creating such a moderately-sized new movement and dial imposed the challenge of maintaining well-balanced forms and pleasing proportions, along with clear legibility and cutting-edge performance. Mission accomplished with this powerfully structured timepiece featuring all the Greubel Forsey signature characteristics.

Inventor Watchmakers Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have made their mark on watchmaking history through a number of mechanical creations, notably the Double Tourbillon 30°, the Quadruple Tourbillon, the GMT, the QP à Équation with its Mechanical Computer, along with the Différentiel d’Égalité and the Grande Sonnerie. Artists at heart, they set the scene for these Fundamental Inventions through timepieces featuring unprecedented aesthetics, mastering asymmetry and balance to provide fresh momentum and playing with depth and volume in exploring all three dimensions. Each of these unique architectural accomplishments is crafted with extreme attention to detail with a particularly consummate skill applied to hand finishing. The result is a unique universe perfectly embodied in the new Balancier Contemporain.

This highly original creation is distinguished by its 39.6 mm diameter, a first from Greubel Forsey which generally builds larger timepieces. The challenge here was not only to house the large balance wheel within a limited space, but above all to achieve optimal proportions and an attractive three-dimensional construction, as well as safeguarding the emblematic aesthetic codes of the timepieces built within the Atelier.

Since 2004, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have devoted a significant amount of time to opening up whole new horizons for the most daring mechanical complications. They have also turned their attention to the “fundamentals” of watchmaking, investigating them in a spirit of efficiency and perfection. 2017 saw the unveiling of an exclusively designed balance wheel system, entirely developed and crafted in the Greubel Forsey Atelier just outside La Chaux-de-Fonds. The innovative balance wheel is distinguished by its large 12.6 mm diameter ensuring optimal timekeeping stability. To enable fine adjustment of its moment of inertia, the balance rim is fitted with six gold mean-time screws, recessed in order to guarantee optimal aerodynamics by reducing air friction. This results in enhanced chronometric performance and facilitates adjusting by the watchmaker. This exclusive regulating organ was initially launched in a limited edition named ‘Balancier’, within Greubel Forsey’s iconic asymmetrical case in a white gold 43.5 mm diameter version measuring 13.94 mm high.

With the Balancier Contemporain, Greubel Forsey is offering an entirely new movement within the compact 39.6 mm-diameter, 12.21 mm-high case. An original and engaging display of three-dimensional architecture, this timepiece is suited to all wrists and asserts itself as a new creation in its own right. While maintaining the emblematic large balance wheel, the Inventor Watchmakers entirely rethought this new movement construction so as to trim the dimensions without compromising performance in any way. The manual-winding calibre comprises 255 components, all crafted and finished in the Greubel Forsey spirit of the finest workmanship. It is endowed with a 72-hour power reserve ensuring chronometric performance by means of two series-coupled fast-rotating barrels– one of which is equipped with a slipping spring to avoid excess tension. The movement is also equipped with a crown-activated ‘stop balance’ system enabling time-setting to the nearest second. The white gold case flows into three-dimensional lugs formed from geometry – a subtle and elegant expression of creative skill. These original volumes are accentuated by alternating finishes – polished bezel and lugs, satin-brushed caseband and caseback – creating a play on contrasts that has become a signature of Greubel Forsey timepieces.

The entirely reimagined display side plays with split levels as well as various materials and finishes. In this three-dimensional transparent architecture, drawing the gaze into a rotational movement, each of the indications is perfectly highlighted so as to ensure optimal legibility. The offset hours/minutes dial appears at 2 o’clock with its blued steel hands featuring hand-polished countersinks and flat polished centres, along with its apertures revealing the exclusive Greubel Forsey balance wheel, gear train and three-dimensional tripod bridge. At 10o’ clock, on a slightly lower level, a finely hand-frosted bridge houses the power-reserve display graced by a slender blued steel hand. Just below it, between 8 and 9 o’clock, the small seconds rotates steadily, supported by a frosted and bevelled bridge providing a glimpse of the gilded barrel drum with Greubel Forsey engraving. Proudly showcased at 6 o’clock in keeping with its stature, the exclusive balance wheel is set against the background of a bridge meticulously hand-polished by an experienced craftsman to obtain the famous mirror polish that is a supreme goal for watchmakers. The balance wheel pivots at the top in a slim, carefully bevelled and flat black-polished bridge. This perfectly balanced composition is framed by a slim white gold bezel, while a high-domed sapphire crystal ensures optimum transparency.

Despite being generally hidden from sight, the caseback side of the new Balancier Contemporain, a work of art in itself, is protected beneath a high-domed sapphire crystal and crafted with the same expertly mastered artisanal touch embodied in all Greubel Forsey timepieces. The centre is occupied by an engraved circular red gold plate bearing the GF logo and the individual limited-edition number.

It is surrounded by a white gold bridge, relief engraved with the key Greubel Forsey values and black polished. This credo is further enhanced by characteristic olive-domed jewels in gold chatons, with finely polished countersinks reflecting the deep red hue of the stones. Held by gold security screws, the caseback is signed with raised polished engraving – “Greubel Forsey” and “Balancier” – on a hand-punched background. This timepiece is fitted with a hand-sewn leather or alligator strap, secured by a white gold pin buckle hand-engraved with the Greubel Forsey logo.

Greubel Forsey pairs the launch of the Balancier Contemporain with the diamond set edition becoming a sparkling sculpture where mother-of pearl dials underline its elegance. This lustrous new creation stands out like the Balancier Contemporain for its compact size and its exclusive balance wheel system.

Diamond Set Balancier Contemporain

Its unique proportions are enhanced by the radiance of the diamonds where the bezel, case band, lugs and crown are all invisibly set with the finest IF / D-E quality baguette-cut diamonds. This diamond set edition is fitted with an alligator or rubber strap and the gold pin buckle or folding clasp with the hand engraved Greubel Forsey logo is also invisibly set with baguette diamonds.

Technical details

Balancier Contemporain, Limited edition of 33 pieces in white gold, Hand-wound movement : Timepiece with four hands • hours and minutes • small seconds • power-reserve • GREUBEL FORSEY balance wheel system • stop balance

Balancier Contemporain

Movement

Movement dimensions
• Diameter: 32.40 mm
• Thickness: 9.20 mm

Number of parts
• Movement: 255 parts

Number of jewels
• 33
• Olived-domed jewels in gold chatons

Chronometric power reserve
• 72 hours

Barrels
• Two series-coupled fast rotating barrels (1 turn in 3.2 hours), one of which is equipped with a slipping spring to avoid excess tension
• Barrel with relief engraving “Greubel Forsey”

Balance wheel
• In-house variable-inertia with 6 gold mean-time screws (12.60 mm diameter)
• Stop balance activated by crown

Frequency
• 21’600 vibrations/hour

Balance spring
• Phillips terminal curve
• Geneva-style stud

Main plates
• Titanium, frosted and spotted, straight-grained flanks

Bridges
• Nickel silver, frosted and spotted with polished bevelling and countersinks, straight-grained flanks, nickel-palladium treatment
• Power-reserve bridge with galvanic growth
• Flat black polished steel balance wheel bridge, hand-polished bevelling and countersinks, straight-grained flanks
• Flat black polished gold plate under the balance wheel, polished bevelling and countersinks, straight-grained flanks
• Flat black polished gold plate on the movement side with relief engraved text, polished beveling and countersinks, straight grained flanks with apparent gold chatons
• Central gold plate, “GF” engraved with the individual number

Gearing
• Involute circle profile

Displays
• Hours and minutes
• Small seconds
• 72-hours power reserve on a sector

Exterior

Case
• In white gold with high domed synthetic sapphire crystal
• Transparent back with high domed synthetic sapphire crystal
• Three-dimensional, variable geometry-shaped lugs
• Raised polished engraving “Balancier” and “Greubel Forsey” on a hand-punched background
• Gold security screws
• Hand-polished bezel, caseband with hand-finished straight graining
• Hand-engraved individual number

Case dimensions
• Diameter: 39.60 mm
• Height: 12.21 mm

Water resistance of the case
• Water-resistant 3 atm – 30 m – 100 ft (standard NIHS 92-20/SN ISO 22810:2010)

Crown
• In white gold with engraved and black lacquered GF logo

Dial
• Multi-level in gold, rhodium-coloured, black lacquered hour-ring and minute-circle, with a visual opening for the balance wheel, polished bevel
• Small seconds in gold, rhodium-coloured, polished bevel
• Power-reserve in gold, engraved and black lacquered, hand matt lapped

Hands
• Hours and minutes, small seconds and power-reserve in polished blued steel, hand-polished countersinks

Strap and clasp
• Hand-sewn alligator
• White gold pin buckle, hand-engraved with the GF logo

Diamond Set Balancier Contemporain, In white gold or in 5N red gold with IF / D-E quality baguette-cut diamonds, Hand-wound movement: Timepiece with four hands • hours and minutes • small seconds • power-reserve • GREUBEL FORSEY balance wheel system • stop balance

Diamond Set Balancier Contemporain

Movement

Movement dimensions
• Diameter: 32.40 mm
• Thickness: 9.20 mm

Number of parts
• Movement: 255 parts

Number of jewels
• 33
• Olived-domed jewels in gold chatons

Chronometric power reserve
• 72 hours

Barrels
• Two series-coupled fast rotating barrels (1 turn in 3.2 hours), one of which is equipped with a slipping spring to avoid excess tension
• Barrel with relief engraving “Greubel Forsey”

Balance wheel
• In-house variable-inertia with 6 gold mean-time screws (12.60 mm diameter)
• Stop balance activated by crown

Frequency
• 21’600 vibrations/hour

Balance spring
• Phillips terminal curve
• Geneva-style stud

Main plates
• Nickel silver, frosted and spotted, straight-grained flanks, nickel-palladium treatment
Bridges
• Nickel silver, frosted and spotted with polished bevelling and countersinks, straight-grained flanks, nickel-palladium treatment
• Flat black polished steel balance wheel bridge, hand-polished bevelling and countersinks, straight-grained flanks
• Flat black polished gold plate on the movement side with relief engraved text, polished beveling and countersinks, straight-grained flanks with apparent gold chatons
• Central gold plate, “GF” engraved with the individual number

Gearing
• Involute circle profile

Displays
• Hours and minutes
• Small seconds
• 72-hours power reserve on a sector

Exterior

Case
• In white gold or in 18k 5N red gold with high domed synthetic sapphire crystal
• Bezel and caseband, invisibly set with baguette-cut diamonds
• Three-dimensional, variable geometry-shaped lugs, invisibly set with baguette-cut diamonds
• Transparent back with high domed synthetic sapphire crystal
• Raised polished engraving “Balancier” and “Greubel Forsey” on a hand-punched background
• Gold security screws
• Hand-engraved individual number

Case dimensions
• Diameter: 41.60 mm
• Height: 12.25 mm

Water resistance of the case
• Water-resistant 3 atm – 30 m – 100 ft (standard NIHS 92-20/SN ISO 22810:2010)

Crown
• In white gold or in 18k 5N red gold with engraved and black lacquered GF logo, invisibly set with baguette-cut diamonds

Dial
• Multi-level in gold and mother-of-pearl with a visual opening for the balance wheel, polished bevel
• Small seconds in gold and mother-of-pearl, polished bevel
• Power-reserve in gold, engraved and black lacquered, hand matt lapped

Hands
• Hours, minutes, small seconds and power-reserve in polished gold, hand-polished countersinks

Strap and clasp
• Alligator or rubber
• White gold or 18k 5N red pin buckle, hand-engraved with the GF logo

IF / D-E quality diamonds and carats
• 232 baguette-cut diamonds / 9.58 ct total
• Caseband and lugs : 160 baguette-cut diamonds / 6.21 ct
• Bezel: 60 baguette-cut diamonds / 3.06 ct
• Crown: 12 baguette-cut diamonds / 0.31 ct

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