It must be refreshing to work in the environment of watchmaker Laurent Ferrier. Whereas these days everything is rush, rush, rush, and there’s never enough time to do things properly so that time has to be found to do them again, and again, Laurent Ferrier insists on taking the time to do things properly the first time around.
Watchmakers traditionally take the appropriate amount of time to polish a component until the result is perfect. Laurent Ferrier gives his team the freedom to take their time in order to ensure that the resulting timepieces reflect watchmaking know-how as well as the corresponding attitude. Each movement has been thought through right down to the finest details, and each piece testifies to skills that are more than 200 years old. Laurent Ferrier likes to think that a 22nd century watchmaker will appreciate such workmanship and such respect for horological values and fundamentals.
This demand for quality in all aspects, from development through to assembly is reflected in each piece to see the light of day from the atelier. With their pure lines, Laurent Ferrier creations respect the rules of balance and harmony. The watches are powered by exclusive movements offering innovative solutions in the quest for precision and reliability. The calibres are visible exclusively from the back, and display distinguished character imbued with discretion.
Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Spiral
Recently, Laurent Ferrier decided to adorn the Galet Classic Tourbilllon Double Spiral with a sparkling of 48 baguette-cut diamonds (3 carats) in tribute to his first model.
The diamonds were set according to a demanding technique representing a unique skill. Invisible setting is indeed extremely complex, with the diamonds mysteriously held in place as if by magic, thereby ensuring perfect harmony around the bezel.
Moreover, the stones are arranged in such a way that they appear as if moulded to the sapphire crystal. The combination of these two processes endows this creation with a highly distinctive aura.
The manual-winding Tourbillon Double Spiral calibre is an exclusive Laurent Ferrier movement with two head-to-tail mounted balance-springs. This device serves to compensate for the effects of gravity by maintaining the centre of gravity of the balance aligned with its axis.
The movement is inspired by the 19th and 20th century chronometry models. It features several nods to the competition watches that used to be testaments to the skills of the greatest watchmaking artisans, including a winding system with a very soft, pleasing design that does without the modern spring for the winding-stem pull-out piece lever.
The horological aesthetic also features a “long-blade” ratchet pawl and a smooth-polished finish. This movement is designed to be both accurate and robust. It has been carefully developed down to the smallest details while testifying to an expertise going back more than 200 years.
Preserving the watchmakers art
Laurent Ferrier also has a passion for preserving the traditional, but sadly diminishing, arts of the watchmaker. This finely hand-crafted model has a number of finishes, such as the many interior angles and smooth-polished surfaces that can only be performed by experienced watchmaking artisans. Horological finishes – satin-brushing, polishing, beveling and circular graining – are performed in an entirely traditional way, complemented by a Côtes de Genève motif.
Even today, there is no machine capable of polishing an interior angle. This form of beveling (or chamfering) can only be done manually by experienced artisans. While many manufacturers have abandoned this skill, it is still alive and well at Laurent Ferrier, where it is done by a person dedicated to this task. The profession of beveller or chamferer has all but disappeared, and this expertise is handed down from generation to generation through practice alone. The whole purpose of this technique is to give the part a perfect aesthetic appearance. At Laurent Ferrier, bevelling is done with a file and polishing with a buff and a diamond powder applied with a hand-cut boxwood peg.
Round polishing the “neck” of the tourbillon bridge requires around three hours of hand craftsmanship to achieve perfection in terms of both the shape and the polish. Round polishing consists in uniformly filing the part so as to give a semi-cylindrical shape to an originally rectangular component. Through the regular to-and-fro circular motion of the hand holding the base on which the part is placed, and the other holding the abrasive plate, the artisan shapes the material as required. Once the rounded curve is clearly defined, the challenge lies in achieving a perfectly polished final result by applying diamond powder with a boxwood peg.
The surface of the metal is drawn out in the desired direction (horizontal or vertical) so as to achieve a matt appearance and a finely striated effect.
Specular (mirror or black) polish
The part is placed on a zinc plate coated with diamond paste and then rubbed in a circular motion so as to achieve a mirror-polish effect.
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