Greubel Forsey just announced the impending release of its fourth exclusive model for North America—a version of its Double Balancier model enclosed in a full case of synthetic sapphire. “These unique editions represent some of the most desirable work the brand has done,” says Steven Rostovsky, president of TimeArt Distribution, the North American distributor of Greubel Forsey. These editions represent a unique development process for the ultra-high-end brand.
“These watches are a unique collaboration,” continues Rostovsky. “We provide some input on what our collectors want and they develop the drawings and refine the product in Switzerland. The pieces are very specifically designed for North American tastes, and we are already developing product for 2019 that’s totally different from what we’ve done before.” TimeArt’s special edition program began in 2015 with a stainless steel edition of the brand’s Signature model, which was the most affordable watch in Greubel Forsey’s lineup at the time. Since then, the collaboration has produced a $1.15 million sapphire-cased version of the Double Tourbillon 30° Technique model and a more affordable rendition of the Balancier Asymmetrique. The Double Balancier Sapphire ($695,000) owes its relatively reasonable price to a less complicated movement, as well as the fact that with an 11-piece edition (unlike 8 for the Technique), the brand was able to secure more favorable pricing from its sapphire case supplier.
Collectors seem to be responding to these editions, which are often sold before they can be stocked on shelves. While their production numbers are not very different from other watches in the brand’s highly limited, yearly output, the fine-tuned aesthetics, geographic exclusivity, and word-of-mouth communication seems to enhance the perception that these pieces are all the more desirable. The Double Balancier Sapphire is set to begin arriving in July, with 6 of the 11 total pieces expected to be delivered this year.
Like the original Double Balancier, the sapphire model averages the rates of two inclined balance wheels with a differential system, without the use of a tourbillon. Special apertures have been cut into the baseplate to allow a greater degree of light into the movement, maximizing visibility with the sapphire case. A partial dial in black polished gold with a lustrous blue treatment also sets off the components. “We fell in love with the mirrored blue dial,” says Rostovsky. “We feel that dial is one of the most gorgeous executions they’ve ever done.”