SIHH 2017: Greubel Forsey Introduces Grande Sonnerie Wristwatch (With an Incline Tourbillon Naturally)

The most complicated Greubel Forsey to date puts the watchmaker in rarefied company.
Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie 2

Only a handful of watchmakers or brands have ever accomplished a grande sonnerie wristwatch – Philippe Dufour, F.P. Journe, Patek Philippe and Gerald Genta amongst them – a league that is now joined by Greubel Forsey, which may possibly claim the title of complicated watch launched at SIHH 2017. A grande sonnerie is essentially a miniaturised version of a longcase grandfather clock that chimes the time en passant, as it passes with the quarters on the quarters and the hours on the hours.

The Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie is a wristwatch boasting a grande et petit sonnerie and a Tourbillon 24 Secondes, as well as the unusual feature of an automatic winding mechanism for the sonnerie though the base movement itself is manually wound. Made up of 935 components, the movement will run for 72 hours on full wind.

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie 4

But the striking mechanism will last 20 hours on grand strike mode, where the sonnerie chimes every quarter. A button at four o’clock sets the strike mode of the watch: “GS” is short for grande sonnerie, “PS” means petit sonnerie with only the hours sounded, while “SL” is silent mode. Various safety mechanisms built into the movement prevent damage if anything is inadvertantly activated when it shouldn’t. For instance the time setting gearing is disengaged when striking in progress.

Visible in between 10 and 11 o’clock on the dial are the two hammers of the chiming mechanism that strike a pair of cathedral gongs. Long enough to circle the movement almost twice over – conventional gongs are essentially the circumference of the movement – cathedral gongs result in chimes that offer more resonance. And like most grande sonnerie timepieces, this can also function as a minute repeater, by pushing the button integrated into the crown.

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie 3

Just besides the function indicator is the power reserve mechanism. And at eight o’clock is an aperture revealing the Tourbillon 24 Secondes. Rotating at a rapid pace of 24 seconds for a complete revolution, the cage is inclined at 25 degrees, both features that are intended to maximise its effectiveness at eliminating the timekeeping errors caused by gravity while the watch is on the wrist.

The case is titanium, measuring 43.5mm in diameter and 16.13mm high.

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie 1

Price and availability 

The Grande Sonnerie is priced at SFr1.15m before taxes, equivalent to US$1.13m. Only three to five will be made each year.


 

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Introducing the Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday Limited Edition, Available Exclusively Online

Inspired by the Alaska Project III, the latest Speedmaster is a limited edition sold only via Omega's website.
Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday limited edition 4

Catchily named Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday”, the latest Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch is a 2012-piece limited edition offered exclusively online – with reservations done via the Omega website and the watch picked up from one of the brand’s many stores.

A social media habit that began in 2012 when founder of watch blog Fratello Watches first used #SpeedyTuesday, the hashtag has been given Omega’s stamp of approval with its namesake limited edition (Fratello Watches has also published some great photos of the actual watch). While Speedmaster variants are numerous and frequent, the Speedy Tuesday is unusual, and not just because of the sales channel.

Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday limited edition 6

The Speedy Tuesday is based on the Alaska Project III, an experimental wristwatch conceived in 1978, the third in a series of watches Omega produced for NASA in the quest for a timepiece resistant to extreme temperatures. The key feature derived from the Alaska Project III are the radial sub-dials, with markings positioned concentrically on their edge.

But the Speedy Tuesday is not an exact replica of the Alaska Project III, so the rest of its design details are a pastiche of various vintage Speedmasters. They include the applied Omega logo at 12 o’clock, as well as the “Reverse Panda” colour scheme of white sub-dials on a black dial. All three sub-dials, as well as dial markings, hands and hour markers, have been painted with Super-Luminova that glows pale green in the dark.

Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday limited edition 1

The Speedy Tuesday has a standard 42mm Speedmaster case with lyre lugs, but with a brushed finish on every surface, instead of the alternating brushed and polished finish of the ordinary Speedmaster.

The solid case back is engraved with the usual limited edition nomenclature, as well as “RADIAL” in large letters on its rim. Underneath is a rhodium-plated calibre 861, the hand-wound movement based on the Lemania 1873 that’s been a fixture in the Speedmaster since 1968.

Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday limited edition 7

Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday limited edition 3

The 1978 Alaska Project III wristwatch

Limited to 2012 pieces, the Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday is delivered with a leather watch roll that contains a NATO-style strap and strap changing tool.

Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday limited edition 2

Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday limited edition 5

Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday limited edition 8

Price and availability 

The Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday (ref. 311.32.42.30.01.001) is available for order online direct from Omega, with delivery in the summer of 2017. It is priced at US$6500, €5300 or S$8400.


 

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SIHH 2017: Introducing the HYT Skull Pocket Watch

A titanium pocket watch with a miniature dynamo that lights up the liquid time display.
HYT Skull Pocket 3

Soon to be officially unveiled at SIHH 2017HYT‘s first pocket watch is a hunter or savonette, with a hinged lid on the front that lifts to reveal the skull-shaped face. The time display is identical to that of the Skull wristwatch, with fluid travelling through a tiny glass tube that traces the outline of the skull. It indicates only the hours, with the minutes being an approximation.

A pair of bellows visible at six o’clock, where the teeth of the skull would be, push the fluid through the tube. And at the top of every hour, the fluid rushes back to six o’clock before starting over, being essentially a retrograde time display.

More unusual is the lighting device that illuminates the time display. This relies on twin LEDs located at six o’clock and powered by a tiny dynamo – basically an old fashioned mechanical generator that relies on wires and magnetic fields – that is in turn charged by pressing the crown located at five o’clock. Pressing the crown lights up the dial for five seconds in a white-blue light.

HYT Skull Pocket 2

The case is titanium and 59mm in diameter, with the hinged lid released by pressing the tab at six o’clock. Inlaid with leather, the lid can be personalised.

HYT Skull Pocket 1

The Skull Pocket is delivered with a titanium chain.

Price and availability 

Limited to eight watches, the Skull Pocket (ref. 159-TD-49-GF-CH) is priced at US$115,000 and available from HYT retailers.


HYT is an advertiser on Watches By SJX.

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