— There is more than meets the eye in the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision
In the past, the brand has used asymmetrical cases to showcase its striking movement and its different way of doing things, but the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision is for the first time placed in a classical, round, thin case.
The challenge was to find enough room in this thin case for the uniquely angled Tourbillon 24 Secondes movement. The watchmakers incorporated a dome into the sapphire crystal exhibition back to provide the extra volume needed. The manual-wind movement, made in-house by Greubel Forsey, inclines its tourbillon cage at 25 degrees, unlike most other tourbillons where the cage is completely linear. Most other tourbillons make one revolution in sixty seconds, while the tourbillon in the Vision does that revolution in 24 seconds.
Greubel Forsey is known for its attention to detail, and this watch doesn’t disappoint. The time indication is deceptively simple, but the extra steps needed to actually produce the dial and the hands are impressive. Take the numbers and the indices for the hours – they are actually engraved into the solid gold dial, then enameled, which means a number of trips into the oven to get them to just the right color. The hands are another case in point – lance-shaped, with the hour hand skeletonized and the minute hand as thin as possible, they are still individually blued by fire and polished by hand.
The view of the tourbillon from the dial side is partially blocked by the large bridge securing the cage, so to truly appreciate the details of the tourbillon, you have to take the Swiss replica watch off and admire the inner workings through the case back, with its domed crystal “light box.” Another bridge secures the backside of the tourbillon, and this bridge is more than just a simple support — its arched and barreled surface is delicately polished by hand. Obtaining a perfectly regular reflection over the whole piece requires such expertise and experience that each bridge finished in this way is discretely signed by the craftsman-decorator who executed it. This standard of decoration is applied to all 288 parts of the movement, a Greubel Forsey hallmark. Many of the parts that are painstakingly finished will never be seen by the owner, but that’s just how Greubel Forsey does things.
With its slate of unique tourbillon movements, including the Tourbillon 24 Secondes, Greubel Forsey has both reinvigorated the complication and revolutionized it.
“For Robert Greubel and myself, from the very beginning, we started out with the conclusion that not everything had been done already, then from that statement we went into the depths of the subject, to really understand the history and confirm what we already knew, then starting from there to come back to a blank sheet of paper and develop what we have today,” says Stephen Forsey. “The only tourbillons in 1999 were miniaturized pocket top fake Breitling watch movements, so you can understand how people said that the tourbillon was just a gadget, and from there we came with our own specific approach. This is not the easiest way to do it. If you want something simple, you don’t go too far away from the beaten track. The harder it is, the more difficult it is to get the right result.”