Greubel Forsey Plans Major Manufacture Expansion

The glass cube grows and so will production.

Greubel Forsey has revealed plans for a significant expansion of its manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Set to nearly triple the current size of the distinctive, sloping building, the CHF20 million project signals a broader strategic move for the brand as it seeks a larger share of the high-end sports watch sector.

The expansion, scheduled to commence next year, will not only increase Greubel Forsey’s research and development capacity and provide additional amenities for guests and staff, but it will also enable the brand to increase production. This move aligns with the brand’s recent shift from producing mainly complex tourbillon watches to introducing simpler, sportier watches that target the segment dominated by Richard Mille.

In addition to the expansion, the brand is poised to launch its eighth “Fundamental Invention” this year. 

Nearly tripling in size

The manufacture expansion is a key pillar of chief executive Antonio Calce’s ten-year vision for growing the brand and professionalising its operations. According to Mr Calce, the expansion will enable Greubel Forsey to pursue “ever greater creativity and excellence in hand finishing.”

Antonio Calce

The planned expansion of the manufacture is ambitious; the floorplan is set to nearly triple in size, from 2,000 m2 to 5,460 m2. Fortunately, the expansion will not alter the current building’s recognisable architecture of a glass box rising out of the grass. Instead, the expansion will build on and around the existing building, continuing its upward trajectory and retaining its signature style.

Greubel Forsey’s output has already increased under the leadership of Mr. Calce, doubling from around 130 pieces in 2021 to 260 pieces in 2022. Once the expansion is complete in 2026, the extra space will allow the brand to further increase its output. Mr Calce has stated that he hopes to ultimately produce about 500 watches per year. 

Most of this growth will be part of the brand’s Collection Convexe range of ultra-luxury sport watches. According to the production numbers listed on its website, the brand intends to limit production of its core tourbillon pieces, such as the Hand Made 1 and Quantième Perpétuel à Équation, to about 10 watches per year.

This growth is noteworthy since Greubel Forsey has historically produced watches at a ratio close to one watch per employee per year; near the top of the industry by this metric. While the recent increase in production has likely diluted this number somewhat, any detrimental impact on quality is likely offset by the brand’s changing product mix, since simpler watches require fewer parts and cumulatively take less time to produce. 

A sporting chance

These changes signal a strategic shift for the brand, as it manoeuvres to compete head-on with Richard Mille, the leader in the luxury sports watch market. Richard Mille has carved out a lucrative niche for itself thanks to its highly distinctive design language and decadent pricing, but is vulnerable to criticism on the basis of its comparatively industrial style of movement finishing.

Greubel Forsey, on the other hand, has a well-earned reputation for hand craftsmanship but has not enjoyed the commercial success of its rival. Reading between the lines, Mr Calce must believe this is due in part to the brand’s historical focus on making large, complicated dress watches. 

The Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture that exemplifies the brand’s direction

Whether this strategy proves successful will depend on Greubel Forsey’s ability to gain market share against Richard Mille, or help grow that segment of the market. Richard Mille has been extremely successful in the ultra-luxury sport watch niche over the past few years, achieving an estimated revenue of CHF1.3 billion in 2022. Richard Mille’s success suggests that this segment of collectors is more interested in design and the use of unusual materials than the kind of painstaking hand finishing that Greubel Forsey is known for. 

That said, Greubel Forsey’s projected growth is modest compared to the annual production of Richard Mille, which is estimated to be around 5,300 watches per year. If just 5% of these buyers are persuaded by Greubel Forsey’s superior craftsmanship, that alone would enable the brand to close the gap between its current production of 260 watches per year and its goal of 500 watches per year.


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Atelier de Chronométrie Introduces the AdC30 “Only Watch 2023”

Tastefully restrained.

For its second outing at Only Watch, Barcelona-based Atelier de Chronométrie (AdC) created the AdC30, which takes the independent watchmaker’s proven formula to a new level with an in-house movement, a new case design, and a handmade dial. 

Initial thoughts

The AdC30 stands out from most of the other lots in the upcoming Only Watch auction due to its restraint. While most of the other lots are characterised by their use, or overuse, of bright colours, the AdC30 sticks to the mid-century motifs that have enabled the brand to establish a distinctive brand identity in just nine years – no easy feat for a brand that exclusively produces one-off watches by special order. This coherent aesthetic is no doubt thanks to founder Santi Martinez’s cultivated eye for detail.

AdC’s watches are perhaps best described as a love letter to classical designs and the single-minded chronometric purpose of wristwatches of the 1940’s. Since its founding in 2014, the brand has focused on producing bespoke watches built around vintage Omega and Venus movements, which are upgraded in-house to meet contemporary haute horlogerie standards. 

But earlier this year, AdC introduced the AdC22 featuring the M284, the brand’s first in-house movement. The AdC30 is the second publicly announced watch to use this movement, though the gap between the model numbers (which are usually consecutive) suggests there may be other watches with this movement that have been commissioned by collectors. Regardless, every AdC watch is a special order, meaning that no two watches are alike. 

Beyond the movement, the AdC30 introduces a new, more elaborate case profile, with a more pronounced step on the lugs. This enhanced detail compliments the other elements that make AdC’s cases so satisfying, namely the hand-soldered lugs and concave bezel. These antiquated production techniques give AdC’s watches a distinctive look and feel, somewhere between vintage and modern.

Within the context of haute horlogerie, AdC’s watches tend to offer unusually good value at retail. And while Only Watch results certain have a built-in premium, the AdC21 sold for CHF95,000at Only Watch 2021, which was nearly double the high estimate of CHF55,000, but still one of the more affordable watches from an independent watchmaker at the event.

Going into this year’s edition, the AdC30 carries an estimate of CHF50,000 to CHF70,000. This increase reflects both the brand’s strong showing in 2021 and the value of its new in-house movement. 

A new movement

The M284 is very traditional both on paper and in terms of its design. Given the fact that AdC takes its inspiration from the best watches of the 1940’s, this makes sense. As expected, the movement is manually wound and beats at 18,000 beats per hour. The movement is meticulously finished and demonstrates mastery of numerous finishing techniques including frosting, anglage, perlage, and black polish. 

The standard M284 as seen in one of AdC’s custom orders – the AdC30 will be the same movement with a different finish

One departure from the brand’s previous movements is the fact that the balance is not free-sprung. While I typically prefer a free-sprung balance, the choice here makes sense and is consistent with the historical inspiration. Furthermore, the black polished steel swan neck spring is elegantly formed to match the shape of the balance cock, a delightful detail that adds a welcome degree of visual interest to this part of the movement.

While the M284 in the AdC22 was finished with traditional Côtes de Genève, the movement in the AdC30 will be differentiated with a frosted finish and rose gold-plated bridges. Though pictures of the AdC30’s movement have not yet been released, I have no reason to doubt that it will be expertly finished with crisp inner and outward angles. 

An in-house dial, and a new case

The AdC30 features a 37 mm white gold case and a handmade rose gold dial. The hour and minute hands are also made from rose gold, giving the dial a monochromatic appearance. At six o’clock, the flame-blued steel small seconds hand contributes a small pop of colour.  

Although the AdC30 is the second watch to feature the M284 movement, it’s the first to feature a dial made in-house at the brand’s manufacture in Barcelona. Composed of numerous separate handmade elements, the dial features a sandwich construction that comes across as an abstracted version of a sector dial. Like other AdC dials, the design is fresh but familiar, offering a tasteful riff on mid-century motifs.

Conducted by Christie’s, Only Watch 2023 takes place on November 5, 2023 at Palexpo in Geneva.

Key facts and price

Atelier de Chronométrie AdC30 Only Watch

Diameter: 37 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: 18k white gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: Unavailable

Movement: M284
Features: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency:  18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Winding: Manual
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: 2 leather straps included

Limited edition: Piece unique
Availability: To be sold at Only Watch on November 5, 2023

Estimate: CHF50,000-70,000

For more, visit


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