Laurent Ferrier’s just announced two new executions of the Square Micro-Rotor, both with fresh dial designs. Offered in stainless steel and 18K 5N red gold, the 41mm x 41mm case of the watch is a classic silhouette from the watchmaker, but the details on the dial are unfamiliar.
That’s because with these Square Micro-Rotor timepieces, Laurent Ferrier is exploring Arabic numerals for new aesthetics. According to the Laurent Ferrier, these stylized Arabic numbers are called “pilot numerals” and are meant to offer a more sporty outlook to the timepiece, while remaining well and legible. Of course, framing these with Laurent Ferrier’s typical scientific dial markings, ensures that the original identity of the watch is not lost in trying new elements.
For the steel cased version, Laurent Ferrier has gone with a delicate silvery white dial that has an opaline center for a sense of contrast against the circular satin-brushed exterior. The charcoal grey section used for the hours match with the color of the Arabic numerals and small second markers, making for a great set of textures and colors, and therefore, added character. The 18K 5N red gold has been given a charcoal grey opaline dial but here the various markings and scales are in matte white, again with the idea of optimizing legibility.
Moving over the to the self-winding FBN 229.01 calibre that’s contained within both watches, here are a few facts to remind ourselves of its brilliance. The architecture and construction of the movement is world class, having often been compared to the work of Laurent Ferrier’s peers and master watchmakers from the past. Firstly, the movement uses the double direct-impulse escapement. The mechanism was inspired from Breguet’s 1802’s “natural escapement,” allows the possibility to eliminate the more traditional Swiss lever assembly and instead uses two nickel-phosphorous escape wheels to act directly on the balance wheel. The wheels and silicon blocker are made using LIGA and DRIE technologies, therein giving the movement the added advantage of anti-magnetic properties. Another advantage of the use of this unusual escapement is that a smaller mainspring can be used to account for a minimum of 72 hours of juice.
There’s yet much more we must discuss about the micro-rotor implementation on the FBN 229.01. As opposed to more contemporary rotor mechanisms, Laurent Ferrier’s is one that uses ratchets and a jeweled staff. The center of the gold rotor includes the rotor staff, which is set with jewels on either ends. Thereafter, there is a large bridge that supports the winding pivot. Two pawl ratchets then are responsible for converting energy from the rotor into energy that is stored within the mainspring. The primary advantage here is s quiet and smooth system, as opposed to the slight noise and wobble that most contemporary self-winding timepieces are known to have.
With an unassumingly simple dial execution, a case that’s of just the right proportions and what more with a movement as intelligent as the FBN 229.01, it’s easy to see that simple things aren’t always as simple as they appear to be. But when simple things are done right, the total effect of is often, simply undeniable.
Movement: Self-winding FBN 229.01 calibre; natural escapement; unidirectional pawl-fitted micro-rotor; silicon escapement featuring a double direct impulse on the balance; indications: hours and minutes in the centre; small seconds at 6 o’clock; power reserve: 72 hours
Case: 41mm x 41mm in stainless steel or 18K 5N red gold; height: 11.10 mm; water-resistant to 30m;
Dial in Steel Case: Opaline silvery white at the center and circular satin-brushed hour circle; charcoal grey Arabic numerals, hour circle and logo decals; small seconds at 6 o’clock, with fine azurage and charcoal grey markers
Dial in 18K 5N Red Gold Case: Opaline charcoal grey at the centre and circular satin-brushed hour circle; matte white Arabic numerals, hour circle and logo decals; small seconds at 6 o’clock, with fine azurage and matte white markers
Strap: Hand-sewn dark grey or khaki velvet alligator strap, Alcantara lining; pin buckle in stainless steel or 18K 5N red gold