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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

Greubel Forsey unveiled its very first carbon creations during the Geneva Watch Days. The light and noticeably more slender Balancier Convexe S² and the Double Balancier Convexe will be only available between 2023 and 2026.

There has been much happening around the Greubel Forsey manufacture in the last few years. In 2020, Antonio Calce (former CEO of Corum and Girard-Perregaux) joined Greubel Forsey – first as a consultant to Robert Greubel before being appointed Chief Executive Officer (succeeding Fabrice Deschanel) and Executive Board Member, announced in December 2020. He started to set up the new strategy and to create a 10-year plan for the company.

The same year, Greubel Forsey acquired Richemont’s shares (20%) in the company. Robert Greubel the Chairman of the Board and majority shareholder, Stephen Forsey Technical Expert and Antonio Calce CEO and Executive Board Member are owning all the shares in Greubel Forsey. 

Changes in the production and distribution

From the annual 100 timepieces in 2020, this year are already anticipating 260 watches manufactured. The demand is high and Greubel Forsey is pushing for doubling this figure in a few years. CompliTime, originally founded by Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey in 2001 for conception, design and development of watch movements used to work on other brand models, such as Richard Mille Planetarium or the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon. It has recently been integrated into the main company and all 140 employees are now producing Greubel Forsey timepieces. 

Not only the number of units will do up, but Greubel Forsey is planning to take the production of all components in-house, including the hairsprings and cases. Of course, the top quality and insane finishing one can expect from Greubel Forsey cannot suffer by any expansion, therefore the independent manufacture  is expanding the workforce to the around 220 persons.

The increased production capacity needs space and the famous ‘farmhouse’ will see another expansion. Pierre Studer, who designed the current manufacture building that integrates with the 17th century farmhouse, has dreamt the new section too. The construction is expected to commence in 2024 will be fully operational by 2026. The floor plan will grow from 2000m2 to 5460m2 and will be home for a bigger Hand Made workshop and different R&D departments addressing special research needs, too.

Greubel Forsey Atelier, photo: Greubel Forsey

The distribution strategy has also been going through changes. Instead of being sold in 25 multi brand stores, Greubel Forsey will create half the number of flagship stores with its retail partners and take care of distribution in-house. These stores will give a glimpse into the Greubel Forsey universe and help future (and current) clients to understand and appreciate the brand even more.

Updates of the product strategy

Since the inception of Mr. Calce’s 10 years strategy in 2020, strategic changes on the product lines have also been applied.

Although the annual production numbers go up, Greubel Forsey has announced strict limitation principles in order to protect the exclusivity of their pieces. The vast majority of the 30 calibres are being retired and the company will apply a 5 years production limit on all movements. This means that no movements are produced again after the 5th year. Additionally, it will only produce 3 to 88 pieces from any reference.

As we learned during Geneva Watch Days, new Greubel Forsey inventions will surface already probably this year and other complications never seen in a Greubel Forsey piece are expected – stay tuned!

Carbon cases

New materials have became part of the Atelier’s collections, and in 2021 the company announced its commitment to using vegetable leather straps only. At this years’ Geneva Watch Days the brand presented its very first carbon cases. Carbon is a material that Greubel Forsey has studied and faced many challenges with for many years. 

The complex shapes of the Greubel Forsey cases require different technical solutions and approaches. For example, an extremely precise combination of temperature and pressure. Heat makes the carbon more flexible to work with; pressure gives it its shape. A conventional case usually requires 2 tonnes of pressure per square centimetre. For Greubel Forsey’s signature convexe case, it was necessary to apply 16 tonnes, 8 times more of the conventional.

By multiplying the 1 to 5 microns thick layers of carbon, Greubel Forsey has obtained a much denser carbon case with an almost identical weight. To achieve the signature Greubel Forsey finishing was also crucial. For its carbon version, the new pieces have traditional finishes for the case, lugs and crown. The bezel and lugs alternate between matt and grained finishes, while the crown asserts a bold matt finish.

Balancier Convexe S² and Double Balancier Convexe in carbon

The new carbon cases offer enhanced lightness and resistance for the new Balancier Convexe S² and the Double Balancier Convexe. Lightness is not the only novelty here, as the timepieces are also smaller in diameters and thinner. 

The Balancier Convexe S² redesigned in a 41.5mm carbon case, is presented in the limited series of only 22 pieces. 

Balancier Convexe
Greubel Forsey Balancier Convexe S² in carbon

The new Double Balancier Convexe has a 42.5mm carbon case – one version has a dominant iridescent green finish, while the other is fully black. Only 22 pieces will be produced in each variation, with the first available from August 2023.

Aligning to the new product strategy, the two timepieces will be only available between 2023 and 2026.

Greubel Forsey at the Geneva Watch Days 2023
Greubel Forsey Double Balancier Convexe in carbon, green dial
Greubel Forsey at the Geneva Watch Days 2023
Greubel Forsey Double Balancier Convexe in carbon, green dial

Photo credits: Loupiosity.com, Greubel Forsey
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