Greubel Forsey Downsizes The Balancier Convexe S² and Double Balancier Convexe
Greubel Forsey has downsized two of its impressive Convexe watches. That alone isn’t something that would necessarily trigger us to write an article. An existing design is just scaled down, maybe re-arranged a bit, and Bob’s your uncle. But not with these two. Downsizing Greubel Forsey-style is a beast of a different nature altogether.
Most watches feature coin-shaped calibers in round cases. Scaling down is a matter of reducing the space around the movement, bringing everything in a bit. With Greubel Forsey, the caliber is an architectural structure that informs the entire case shape. So scaling down means redesigning the whole thing from the ground up. And if the thing you start with is already mind-blowingly complicated, you can imagine how daunting a task this is.
Greubel Forsey Balancier Convexe S²
The Greubel Forsey Balancier Convexe S² now measures 41.5mm across. That doesn’t sound small at all, but you have to take the extreme curvature of the case and the absence of lugs into account. The curve is the characterizing and nominating feature of the Convexe series, and it is quite the thing to behold. Especially the two curved sapphire crystals on the top and bottom are spectacular and make for a highly ergonomic and elegant fit on the wrist. Or, I should probably say: around the wrist.
The titanium case is home to a unique combination of a dial and movement that intertwine. This is very different from your average skeleton dial. Between ten and five, you have a partly open-worked black frosted dial. It then radically slopes down between five and ten. Here, you will find the oversized balance wheel angled to 30 degrees.
The original Greubel Forsey Convexe S² measured 43.5mm across. Shaving two millimeters off, as I mentioned before, required redesigning the entire movement. Even the curve of the case and crystals is redesigned, yet maintains the desired wrap around the wrist. The handset has been moved closer to the crystal, which gives the unique optical illusion of them being right up against the glass. With this model, you can have your pick of a black or blue variant.
Greubel Forsey Double Balancier Convexe
Thor described the original 43.5mm Greubel Forsey Double Balancier Convexe last year. The new version is downsized by one millimeter. This sounds inconsequential, but again, it required a full reworking, like with the Balancier Convexe S².
The Double Balancier’s party piece is the pair of balance wheels angled at 30 degrees. There is one at five and one at eight-thirty. In the middle, there is a spherical differential that takes best running averages in four-minute sequences, to optimize precision. To present all this complicated handwork, the open portion of the dial is quite a bit larger than on the Balancier Convexe S². The resulting overall aesthetic is even more complex and awe-inspiring.
Greubel Forsey doesn’t ever take the easy route. I don’t think anyone would have blamed them for making the movement plates out of brass. Instead, GF opts for titanium, which is notoriously hard to frost like this. The resulting texture, especially in this almost black guise, stands out against the brass parts of the caliber beautifully.
Pricing and availability
Both watches will be available from June 2023, either on a strap or a full titanium bracelet (on demand). Production is limited to 88 pieces of the Greubel Forsey Double Balancier Convexe. The Balancier Convexe S² comes in blue and black; both will see 88 pieces made. You can see the mesmerizing calibers in action on Greubel Forsey’s website, which is worth a few minutes of your time, even if you are not in the market for one. It is quite the thing to behold.
The Balancier Convexe S² is priced at CHF212,000/US$240,000 on the strap and CHF252,000/US$283,000 on the bracelet. The Double Balancier Convexe comes in at CHF305,000/US$345,000 on the strap and CHF346,000/US$392,000 on the bracelet.