Scaled down

Greubel Forsey Fit an Incredible Amount of Engineering Into This 39.6mm Watch


January 17, 2019 Watches By Photo by Hunter D. Kelley
This week, the Palexpo facility in Geneva, Switzerland, will become the center of the watch world for the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, a luxury watch show rivaled only by BaselWorld in relevance and prestige. We’ve got a team on the ground, there to bring you the most exciting releases. Follow our coverage here, and also be sure to check out Instagram. We’ll be posting to our feed throughout the week.
Key Specs
Price: $210,000
Availability: 33-piece limited edition
Winding: Manual
Case Diameter: 39.6mm
Case Thickness: 12.21mm
Case Material: White Gold
Water Resistance: 30 atm
Power Reserve: 72 hours
Unique Features: Two series-coupled fast rotating barrels

Upshot: Greubel Forsey is known for watches that are relatively large out of necessity — its watchmakers pack a lot of unique features, mechanisms and displays into their timepieces, so we’re used to seeing them range from 43mm to almost 50mm in diameter. But the Balancier Contemporain is the first watch this brand has produced that’s under 40mm — 39.6mm to be exact. And getting the hundreds of components and intricate finishes into and onto a watch this small is a serious achievement that cannot be ignored.

Who It’s For: Greubel Forsey does a good job of getting its watches on celebrities (see: Robert Downey, Jr. at the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War), but the work it does puts serious collectors top of mind. So if you have a few hundred thousand dollars you don’t need and you appreciate watchmaking taken to the nth degree, you may be interested in this piece.

Hands On: Looking at the dial, it’s easy to forget that the Balancier Contemporain is a time-only watch. It has a small seconds and a power reserve indicator, but it’s not going to tell you the date or the month or read your text messages. The reason it looks so much more complex is that Greubel Forsey takes some pretty great pains to expose the works of its watches. This one suspends the balance wheel and places it where six o’clock would sit on most watches. The bridges give a sense of architecture and depth. Turn it over and you’ll see the company’s values expressed in raised polished engraving, on display for all to see.

And yes, it feels very comfortable on the wrist.

Insight: We’re going to say this one more time: Making something this complex in miniature is seriously difficult, and we have to commend Greubel Forsey for this horological achievement. It’s not a watch for everyone, but for the collectors around the world who’ve bought this brand’s watches before and want a version they could wear to the office without causing too much of a stir during meetings, this is spot on.

More from SIHH 2019

See more of our favorite new releases from Geneva. Read the Story