Greubel Forsey

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Greubel Forsey
Type Watch Maker
Industry Watch Making
Founded 2004
Founder(s) Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey
Headquarters La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Area served Worldwide
Key people - Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey - Co-Founders
- Emmanuel Vuille - CEO
Products Luxury Timepieces
Website www.greubelforsey.com

Greubel Forsey is a watchmaking company specializing in high-end timepieces. It was launched in 2004 by Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey and is based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

Greubel Forsey specialize in inventing timepieces with multiple tourbillons and inclined balance wheels with the aim of improving timekeeping precision. Their approach was validated in 2011 when a Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon Technique won the 2011 International Chronometry Competition held by the Le Locle Museum of Horology.[1]

Corporate history[edit]

Greubel Forsey Manufacture

Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey launched Greubel Forsey[2] in 2004 at BaselWorld with the introduction of their Double Tourbillon 30° (DT30). Both men had been working together since 1992 at Renaud & Papi,[3] where they developed complicated watch movements.

The Richemont group acquired a 20% stake in Greubel Forsey’s share capital in 2006.[4]

In 2006 the company collaborated with American jeweller Harry Winston to make the Opus 6 model.[2]

The company has invented and presented a number of tourbillon-based watches including: the Double Tourbillon 30° (DT30°), the Quadruple Tourbillon à Différentiel, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Incliné and the GMT. At the 2012 SIHH Greubel Forsey presented their first non-tourbillon model, the Double Balancier 35°.

Timepieces[edit]

Greubel Forsey specializes in designing and manufacturing high-end watches that are usually, but not exclusively, based on the Tourbillon escapement.

Double Tourbillon[edit]

Double Tourbillon 30° mechanism

Double Tourbillon 30° (DT30°) Vision/Secret The DT30° was presented in 2004 and features one 30° inclined tourbillon cage rotating once per minute inside another tourbillon cage rotating in four minutes. The company claims rotating one inclined Tourbillon inside another averages out and minimizes gravitationally induced errors on the balance.

Quadruple Tourbillon[edit]

The Quadruple Tourbillon uses two double-tourbillons - four tourbillon cages in total - working independently to average out and minimize gravitationally induced errors on the balance. A spherical differential connects the four rotating carriages, distributing torque between two wheels rotating at different speeds.

The Quadruple Tourbillon Secret, presented in 2012, houses a modified Quadruple Tourbillon ‘hidden’ under a full dial. The movement can be seen through the display back and the two double tourbillon systems – with four tourbillons in all - are configured head-to-tail and are coupled by a spherical differential.

GMT[edit]

GMT in red gold

Presented in 2011, the GMT is the first Greubel Forsey timepiece to feature a complication other than a tourbillon. It displays second time zone at 10 o’clock and world by a rotating, three-dimensional globe at 8 o’clock. The position of the continents on the titanium globe are cross-referenced with the 24-hour chapter ring circling it for an approximate indication of time all over the world. Other indications include an hour-minute dial at 1 o’clock; a small seconds dial on top of that at 3 o’clock and at 4 o’clock a sectorial power reserve indicator. The movement was especially developed for this timepiece and features the 25° inclined Tourbillon 24 Secondes cage.

Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain[edit]

The Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain,[5] launched in 2012, has royal blue titanium plates and bridges with the movement architecture emphasising the technical aspects of the movement. A 24-second tourbillon is suspended by a transparent synthetic sapphire tourbillon. The T24 Second Contemporain is also notable for its round case, as opposed to the asymmetrical cases that Greubel Forsey are better known for.

Double Balancier 35°[edit]

The Double Balancier 35° [6] features two inclined fixed-oscillators coupled with a spherical differential, which provides the average of their rates to the gear train and time display. Between the two visible inclined balances, small seconds at 7 o’clock displays the running instantaneous average of the two regulators, while a 72-hour power reserve indicator at 2 o’clock keeps track of available power.

Art Piece 1[edit]

Art Piece 1 is a collaboration between Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey with British micro-sculpture Willard Wigan. Art Piece 1[7] features integrated magnifying optics on the side of the case to enable the Willard Wigan micro sculpture to be viewed.

Invention Pieces[edit]

Invention Pieces are designed to showcase the important invention/mechanism in the movement rather than simply indicating the time.

Invention Piece 1 (IP1) 2007 Invention Piece 1 features the Double Tourbillon 30° mechanism with a new movement architecture. Red and blue triangles indicate the time under a large polished tourbillon bridge, with a small seconds dial and a ‘power reserve indicator’ above.

Invention Piece 2 (IP2) 2011 The Quadruple Tourbillon mechanism is at the heart of Invention Piece 2. The two double tourbillon systems are configured head-to-tail and are coupled by a spherical differential. A sub-dial at 5 o’clock features a red triangle indicating hours while a concentrically-configured rotating disc indicates minutes. Small seconds are at 10 o'clock and there is a power reserve indicator at 11 o'clock.

Invention Piece 3 (IP3) 2009 The Tourbillon 24 Secondes is the mechanism highlighted by Invention Piece 3. A large 24-hour sub-dial dominates the dial side, with hours indicated by a red triangle. A smaller blue triangle indicates minutes. Small seconds are at 5 o’clock. Opposite the tourbillon at 8 o’clock lies a power reserve at 2 o’clock. Four gold dial plates on the dial are engraved with a message in French from Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey.

EWT[edit]

The company presented in 2005 a proprietary development methodology called EWT (Experimental Watch Technology) to experiment, test and ratify their projects in-house. It's a proprietary research and development platform. It incorporates its own laboratory.[2][8]

Two inventions current in EWT are the ‘Binomial’, a mono-material balance-and-spring wheel combination mechanism using isochronically stable materials, and the "Différentiel d’Egalité", a constant force device based in a spherical differential. This differential keeps providing the same constant force to all the four tourbillons, solving the typical problem where the main spring gives different amount of force depending on how much potential energy it retains.[9]

Prizes and awards[edit]

Greubel Forsey won the Gaïa Prize in 2009 for 'Entrepreneurship';[10] the Grand Prix de l’Aiguille d’Or at the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève in 2010 for the Double Tourbillon 30° Édition Historique in 5N red gold; and the International Chronometry Competition in 2011 for the Double Tourbillon 30 Technique.[1]

Other awards include: Invention Piece 1 won the 2007 Revolution magazine prize for 'Grand Complication Watch'. Montres Passion magazine awarded the 2007 'Special Jury Prize – Watch of the Year' for the Tourbillon 24 Secondes.[11]

Revolution magazine awarded the Quadruple Tourbillon the 2008 prize for best 'Technical Achievement' and in 2009 it also won the prize for best 'Complication Watch' from the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie Asia. The Double Tourbillon 30° Technique received the 2009 'Grand Complication Watch' prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.[12] Invention Piece 2 was awarded the 2011 prize for “Limited Edition Watch of the Year” at the World Watch Awards in India and at the same ceremony, Stephen Forsey received an award for his “Contribution to Haute Horlogerie”. The Invention Piece 2 was later awarded the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève 2012 (GPHG) award for Best Complicated Watch.[13]

Naissance d’une montre[edit]

In 2012, Le Garde Temps, la Naissance d’une Montre (the timepiece, birth of a watch) non-profit initiative was launched by Robert at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva.

“Le garde-temps, naissance d’une montre” is a project by Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey and independent watchmaker Philippe Dufour. The aim of the project is to preserve and propagate traditional horological knowledge and experience by teaching and helping master watchmaker and watchmaking teacher, Michel Boulanger, to make a small series of timepieces by hand using traditional techniques and methods.

Founders[edit]

Robert Greubel (left) and Stephen Forsey

Robert Greubel grew up in Alsace, France and began his horological career by working with his watchmaker father in the family shop, Greubel Horlogerie. In 1987 Greubel moved to Switzerland to join the International Watch Company (IWC), where he helped develop their Grand Complication. In 1990 he joined Renaud & Papi SA (now Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi SA) as a prototypist for complicated movements and rose to become managing director and partner.

Stephen Forsey grew up in St Albans, England, where he was inspired by his father's passion for mechanics and engineering. From 1987 to 1992 Forsey specialized in antique clock restoration and became head of Watch Restoration at Asprey’s in London. From 1988 to 1990 Forsey attended two five-month courses at the WOSTEP watchmaking school in Neuchâtel and in 1992 joined Robert Greubel's team at Renaud & Papi SA (now Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi SA), developing complicated watch movements.

In 1999 both Greubel and Forsey began working independently, and in 2001 they founded together Complitime SA, a company specializing in created mechanisms with complicated movements for up-market watch brands.[2][14][15][16]

At the world watch fair at BaselWorld in 2004, after many years in development, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey launched their first watch, the Double Tourbillion 30° (DT30°), under their own brand ‘Greubel Forsey’.

Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey are founding members of the Time aeon Foundation[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Report on the 2011 International Chronometry Competition by the magazine of Haute Horlogerie
  2. ^ a b c d History of Greubel Forsey, HauteHorologer.org
  3. ^ "Renaud & Papi - Design: company profile", Chronometrie
  4. ^ Richmont/Greubel Forsey, entry in the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry
  5. ^ 24 Secondes Contemporain Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain
  6. ^ Balancier 35° Double Balancier 35°
  7. ^ Art Piece 1 Art Piece 1
  8. ^ EWT article, iW magazine
  9. ^ Différentiel d’Egalité, scan of the announcement of the technology by the company
  10. ^ World Tempus article announcing Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey awarded the 2009 Gaïa Prize
  11. ^ HH Magazine reports The Montres Passion Jury brings out technical watch making
  12. ^ List of 2009 Grand Prix Laureats on World Tempus
  13. ^ Best Watches of 2012: Greubel Forsey Invention Piece 2 at R.G. Holland
  14. ^ Complitime SA, corporate info
  15. ^ Wolsfeld, Paul, "CompliTime SA (Greubel Forsey)", corporatetrivia.com
  16. ^ CompliTime website (French)
  17. ^ Time aeon press release

External links[edit]