Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor
When I look at the Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor, a warm sense of well-being emanates from the pit of my stomach. Where some brands seem obsessed with the gargantuan, the loud, the excessive and the conspicuous, Laurent Ferrier have embraced classicism.
In my native England, it seems there is a ubiquitous thirst for dancing at this present time. Saturday night television seems blighted with fading stars from the spheres of acting and sport, partnering with professional dancers and tripping the light fantastic.
I must admit, the prospect of seeing a portly television presenter perform the tango has as much appeal as pruning my toenails with a chainsaw. However, as my ageing mother regales me with her exploits at “dance club”, I am reminded we are not all the same. Indeed, perhaps I am in the minority.
In terms of ballet, I can appreciate the sight of lithe torsos elegantly moving to the delights of “Swan Lake”. Each nuance of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s music has been beautifully expressed over the years, with deft movement of head and limbs by the most graceful performers.
My appreciation of ballet, comes to mind when admiring the purity of movement expressed by the graceful hour and minute hands on this high-end watch. When I look at this timepiece from Genevan haute hologerie brand, Laurent Ferrier, a warm sense of well-being emanates from the pit of my stomach. Where some brands seem obsessed with the gargantuan, the loud, the excessive and the conspicuous, Laurent Ferrier have embraced classicism.
This is not to say that Laurent Ferrier do not reveal any addictive traits, quite the contrary. It would seem the artisans based at the “Maison” are obsessed with improved chronometric precision and refined, peerless finishing.
Simplicity at first glance
Whilst I must confess to appreciating watches with numerous complications, I do like the seemingly simple purity of Galet Micro-Rotor. Hours and minutes are expressed with 18-carat gold “Assegai-shaped” hands, whereas a baton shaped hand in matching metal is presented on the subsidiary seconds display at 6 o’clock.
Some may perceive simplicity at first glance but they have overlooked the elevated execution of this wonderful watch.
The micro-rotor clearly occupies much less space than a conventional rotor, bestowing the movement with svelte proportions. However, it still has to capture minute movements of the wearer’s wrist to energise the mainspring.
The manufacture movement, FBN Calibre 229.01, is said to have an extremely efficient escapement, necessitating only 200 rotations of the oscillating weight to perform one complete rotation of the ratchet wheel. This is much less than a conventional micro-rotor and helps to bestow the timepiece with an impressive power reserve of 80 hours.
Fitting a giant mainspring may confer an impressive power reserve. However, this could result in excessive torque compromising the accuracy of the timepiece. Laurent Ferrier have chosen to use a double direct impulse on the balance. This means that unlike the majority of movements, the FBN Calibre 229.01 receives two impulses per oscillation. This effectively makes the escapement more efficient, offering better longevity and stability than a conventional Swiss-Lever escapement.
Laurent Ferrier uses a silicon lever. This state of the art material is known for its low-friction, often obviating the use of lubricants. Moreover, it is corrosion resistant and unaffected by magnetic fields.
Concerns regarding the fragility of silicon have been expressed by some in the watchmaking industry and, on a more sentimental note, whether it debases horology. I remain ambivalent on the subject. However, I would argue in the case of this particular Laurent Ferrier timepiece, silicon is restricted to the the lever and has helped to achieve the impressive 80-hour power reserve. Moreover, in this instance, craftsmanship and watchmaking prowess are repeatedly exampled on a myriad of components within the watch.
The balance wheel features a Breguet Overcoil, which enhances isochronism and at the same time pays due reverence to watchmaking tradition. However, it is the finissage which is truly noteworthy.
The bridges are adorned with expertly applied Côtes de Genève motif. They have delectable hand bevelled edges which shine with a mirror-like brilliance. The jewel sinks are polished and the balance cock is expertly engraved and bevelled, including the interior angles, which prove challenging to even the most competent artisan.
However, the pièce de résistance is the black polishing evidenced on the micro-rotor bridge. It is expertly brought to fruition using adroit hands in combination with diamantine paste. The resultant bridge suspends the balance above a sea of matchless perlage that magnificently dances with light.
In a relatively short period of time, Laurent Ferrier have come to the attention of many discerning watch collectors. They demonstrate a fantastic marriage of restrained design language and exceptional execution.
I held the Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor in my hands for only a short time during Baselworld 2013, but I was readily able to ascertain its no-compromise creation. It may well not suit those who choose to flaunt their wealth and conspicuously consume the earth’s resources with repeated flourishes of outré and showy exhibitionism. This watch is about quiet enjoyment, safe in the knowledge that the chosen timepiece will retain its relevance for generations to come. Indeed, this watch is not about the latest dance craze performed by an over the top show-off, but the equivalent of an accomplished artiste performing a Pas de Deux from Swan Lake.
- Model: Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor
- Reference: LCF004 G/R
- Case: 18-carat white or red gold; diameter 40.50 mm; height 10.70 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds.
- Movement: FBN Calibre 229.01, self-winding movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 34 jewels; power reserve 80 hours; 186 parts
- Strap: Black or brown alligator leather strap supplied on matching gold pin buckle or deployant.