Laurent Ferrier Tourbillon Grand SportBy Ken Kessler
Say the name Laurent Ferrier to any watch aficionado and timepieces of superlative quality spring to mind – invariably of a dressy mien. The eponymous founder honed his skills at Patek Philippe, and his watches reflect this, while his offerings have oozed a wonderful mix of formality and panache. What they have not been is sporty.
Back in the 1970s, Ferrier was a racing driver, competing in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans seven times, coming first in the two-litre prototype category in 1977. This proves crucial in an horological sense because this is when he met fellow driver and industrialist François Servanin, with whom he co-piloted a Porsche 935T in 1979, coming an overall third in the competition. Thirty years later, the two would form the Laurent Ferrier watch brand in 2009.
Celebrating their roots, the Tourbillon Grand Sport is pure Laurent Ferrier, but on steroids. Just as the brand mixes the dressy and the chic, so does this marry contrasts. It boasts a smoked taupe-coloured dial, complemented perfectly by orange luminescent hands and indexes, imparting both a sporty vibe and a whiff of elegance. The sapphire crystal is tinted, adding to the almost-earthy look.
With a 44mm stainless-steel case and cushion-shaped bezel atop a tonneau-esque middle case, the Tourbillon Grand Sport emphatically respects the Laurent Ferrier design language, round-yet-not-quite. The dimensions add to the sporting attitude, as it attests to the case’s robustness. Even with such generous measurements, the watch retains the comfort of its smaller siblings.
With a tourbillon seen only through the case back, the new model shows discretion, while the small seconds and protective crown guard add further details to savour. The hand-wound movement – chronometer-certified by the Besançon Observatory – is finished in a stealthy satin-brushed ruthenium, its bridges inspired by pocket watches.
Limited to only 12 pieces, the Tourbillon Grand Sport is supplied in a special box containing a commemorative plaque.
While this beauty will attract both Ferrier followers and newcomers, the traditional models haven’t been ignored. New this year is the exquisite Galet Annual Calendar School Piece with super-cool blue dial, and it is, in its own way, almost as sporty as the larger Tourbillon Grand Sport. Addressing yet another set of values – the rectangular, curved look exemplified by the Patek Philippe Ref 2442 “Banana” – is the sexy-yet-formal Bridge One.
Manual-winding with tourbillon, power reserve of 80 hours
44mm stainless steel, tourbillon visible through sapphire case back, water-resistant to 100m
Taupe rubber with folding clasp