Eleven years of research and development, no fewer than 935 parts and two patents barely sum up Greubel Forsey’s development of its first Grande Sonnerie model debuting at this year’s SIHH.
For every watchmaker even slightly fascinated by the history of watchmaking excellence, the Grande Sonnerie represents a culmination, a pinnacle that is often not reached in the space of a lifetime.
Since the beginning of their partnership, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have been thinking about what their own resolutely contemporary interpretation of the complication could be, commenting that for 11 years it shaped their day-to-day life as they worked in secrecy on the project.
The result is an incredible timepiece featuring a titanium acoustic resonance cage producing an extremely pure sound. Despite its complexity the watch is ergonomically designed for optimum ease of use, while an exceptional repeater power reserve enables it to run for about 20 hours in “Grande Sonnerie” mode. The timepiece is equipped with a silent striking regulator and a Tourbillon 24 Secondes, all housed within the standard dimensions of a typical Greubel Forsey case.
The most important elements and indications (such as the tourbillon, the cathedral gongs, the striking hammers, the power reserve and mode indicators) have been incorporated with care to ensure architectural balance. It was no mean feat housing the 935 parts comprising this timepiece and its exterior in a space measuring 43.5 mm in diameter and 16.13 mm high.
This timepiece is Greubel Forsey’s most complex creation to date. The movement is manually wound, but the striking mechanism features a self-winding system which provides about 20 hours of power reserve in Grande Sonnerie mode. The minute repeater and its additional striking mechanism sounds the exact time on demand, down to the minute.
There are three modes to choose from: Grande Sonnerie (which strikes the hours and the quarters in passing), Petite Sonnerie (which strikes the full hours in passing) and Silence (which does not strike in passing).
Five to eight pieces will be produced a year.
Rating the Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie: a very special watch for those who can afford to appreciate the best.
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