Introducing Laurent Ferrier Sport AutoBy Michael Weare
“At the start of 2022, I am proud to present a new watch in our collection: the Sport Auto. A tribute piece to the extraordinary adventure that we experienced as young men.” Laurent Ferrier
It was on June 9 1979, on the Sarthe circuit at Le Mans that Laurent and Laurent Ferrier co-founder François Servanin competed for and won third place in the coveted 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
They had taken part in the race together for a number of years, but in this particular year they were among the top of Group 5 thanks to Laurent’s qualifying time of 3:55.080. At 2pm on that day they were placed 20th on the starting grid.
292 laps, 3,988.254 kilometres and 24 hours later on June 10th, after 24 pit stops for various supplies, repairs and changes of driver, team mate François Trisconi finally made it across the finish line. The team placed 3rd overall, just behind one Paul Newman. This was 5 years before Newman’s own iconic Rolex Daytona Cosmograph started to become the collector’s piece it is today.
Spirits were so high Laurent Ferrier, who worked at Patek at the time, gifted François a Nautilus. In gratitude, François, a born entrepreneur, remarked: “What if after this feat, we continued the adventure as a team by making our own watch?!” Thirty years on, the dream became reality and Maison Laurent Ferrier was born.
Although more than forty years have passed since standing on the podium, not a week goes by without Laurent and François recalling this memory.
Their achievement is what the new Sport Auto is all about. This graceful cushion watch with its rounded curves comes in grade 5 titanium and measures 41.5 mm.
Described as a refined interplay of firm and rounded curves, the dial brings together all the maison’s aesthetic codes in shades of blue and an opaline finish. The hands are of white gold and the sleek green indexes gleam in the dark with Super-Luminova. The watch also features a snailed small seconds dial at 6 o’ clock, a sporty bevelled date window at 3 o’ clock and, for the first time, the signature ball shaped crown is a screw down.
Water resistant to 120 meters, the Sport Auto is powered by the new LF 270.01 calibre, a tribute to the micro-rotor with natural escapement. With a power reserve of 72 hours – three times the duration of a 24 Hours Le Mans race – it’s entirely designed, decorated, assembled and adjusted in the LF workshops. Each LF 270.01 calibre requires more than 139 manual finishing operations, with the micro rotor decorated by hand, and with several parts you will never even get to see hand polished to a mirror shine.
The Sport Auto comes on an integrated Titanium 5 bracelet that seamlessly matches the watch.
Now in his 75th year, at a time when most people are content with a bit of light gardening, Laurent Ferrier has produced one of the best looking watches ever to grace his own magnificent collection. With impeccable good taste and obsessive attention to detail, the Sport Auto is worthy of far more than third place on the Le Mans finish line. The Rolex Paul Newman Daytona may outsell the Sport Auto, but it will never outclass it.
Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto, Reference: LCF040.T1.C1GC5
Size: 41.5MM X 12.70MM
Case: Grade 5 Titanium, Screwed middle case, bezel and case back, Sapphire case back, visible movement
Dial: Gradient shades of blue with an opaline finish, window at 3 o’clock, white discs and slate grey date, Small snailed seconds at 6 o’ clock
Functions: Hours, Small Seconds, Date
Water resistance: 120 meters
Bracelet: Integrated bracelet with 3 links in grade 5 titanium, Grade 5 titanium folding clasp