Geneva Watch Days 2023: Laurent Ferrier’s Sport Auto 40 is a Tribute To a Racing Legacy
Inspired by the legendary Porsche 935 Turbo No. 40 that Laurent Ferrier and his teammates raced in the summer of 1979’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, this timepiece is a homage to that very moment.
On 9 June 1979, François Servanin and Laurent Ferrier were out on the fast roads of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Porsche 935 Turbo. Unbeknownst to these two semi-professional race car drivers, who would later on be the founders of Laurent Ferrier, they would emerge in third place after 297 laps – just after Paul Newman.
To celebrate, Ferrier gifted his race partner a Patek Philippe Nautilus; Ferrier was working at the Genevan manufacture at the time. According to Servanin, he admitted that it was a beautiful timepiece, and it was a gift he treasured, not just because the watch instantly became one of sentimental value, but because he mused that to own a Patek Philippe timepiece is to own one of the most beautiful watches in the world, yet to attain one is impossible. To this, Ferrier proposed that they make their own watches, but it was merely a remark that he didn’t mean to pursue at all.
Now long story short, in 2008, that idea was revisited, and Servanin lent his support to found Laurent Ferrier. This journey of ‘Becoming Laurent Ferrier’ is an amazing story, therefore I insist that you have to hear it from the man himself. In presenting the new “Série Atelier” Sport Auto 40 in a video interview with Revolution, Ferrier tells Wei Koh about the brand’s beginnings, his approach to designing a steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet (that’s unlike anyone else’s), and why this watch has everything to do with that moment in Le Mans – which is what I would love to get into.
Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto 40
The Sport Auto 40 is more than just the brand’s connection motorsports – it’s a piece of history of Laurent Ferrier himself. To first understand the use of the outlandish color palette (and I mean it in the best way possible) of green, yellow, and fuschia, one has to turn to the aforementioned Porsche 935 Turbo No. 40: The car’s livery were in those very colors. In translating this to the timepiece, a ‘Valiant Green’ gradient was applied, where colorful contrasts of yellow and fuschia add to the dial’s maximalist look.
The opaline finish and semi-glossy lacquer create a stunning canvas for the faint fuchsia crosshair, which then frames the chamfered date aperture at 3 o’clock. The minute track gets a bit of color too, and white gold indexes are adorned with orange Super-LumiNova, adding an extra layer of dynamism. The number “40” imprinted on the small seconds is very cleverly camouflaged in white to minimize distraction. These details only make sense to those who know it, and that’s the discreteness of Laurent Ferrier.
The 41.5 mm grade 5 titanium case boasts a combination of finishes that are mirrored in the integrated titanium bracelet, forming a cohesive and striking aesthetic. Under the hood, the self-winding LF270.01 calibre powers the watch. The micro-rotor self-winding system is positioned between the main plate and the rotor bridge, providing stability and optimal winding power, providing a power reserve of 72 hours.
With only 40 numbered pieces available, this limited edition “Série Atelier” is priced at CHF51,000 CHF and is exclusively available on the Laurent Ferrier official website.
Tech Specs: Laurent Ferrier “Série Atelier” Sport Auto 40
Movement: Self-winding caliber LF270.01; 72-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours and minutes; Small seconds; Date
Case: 41.5mm; Grade 5 titanium; Sapphire crystal case back; Water-resistant to 120 meters;
Dial: Gradient viridian green opaline dial; Matte white opaline small seconds with semi-glossy opaline “40”; White gold indices with orange Super-LumiNova
Strap: Grade 5 titanium bracelet with folding clasp
Price: CHF51,000 (excluding taxes)
Availability: Exclusively available on the Laurent Ferrier official website
MORE STORIES ABOUT GENEVA WATCH DAYS
|Movement||Self-winding caliber A-500; 60 hours power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date|
|Case||42.5mm; titanium; water resistant to 30m|
|Dial||Salmon (6N gold plated) with gené or frosted area; Super-LumiNova filled Arabic numerals|
|Strap||Ballistic gray rubber; titanium folding clasp|