With the ever-more fervent emphasis on alternative propulsion and me, a diehard petrolhead, driving an electric car, is motor racing still relevant? It is if it’s done right, especially when the inspiration comes in the form of Easter eggs rather than completely spelled out. And in the Laurent Ferrier Série Atelier V Sport Auto 40, the clues are as subtle as they are colorful.

Laurent Ferrier has come to the fore as the quietly spoken alternative for the collector who already has a Patek and a few Rolex grails. For me, though, it’s also the choice of a more discerning breed of collector. The brand’s image is one of understated style, with a certain motor racing cachet for those in the know, as Laurent Ferrier himself has stood on the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside Paul Newman.

The Laurent Ferrier Série Atelier V Sport Auto 40

The bold vibe of the Sport Auto case

With the 2022 release of the Sport Auto, Laurent Ferrier changed gears, entering a hotly contested race series. Yes, the Sport Auto was the brand’s first integrated-bracelet sports watch. And it is a superb alternative to a certain porthole-inspired Patek and other ubiquitous legends. But it is a very different proposition. The Sport Auto series is bold and blocky, yet it is imbued with the same soft lines as the Square Micro-Rotor. So the 41.5mm size makes for a bold wrist presence but with a refined and exquisite finish. Distinct beveling is present on each of the cushion-shaped mid-links of the bracelet and all edges, while the soft-square bezel is a bold frame for the dial. Manufactured from strong yet light Grade 5 titanium, the level of finishing and polished bevels is jaw-droppingly impressive if you know how hard this material is to work with.

The Laurent Ferrier Série Atelier V Sport Auto 40

Under the exhibition case back

The dial on the Série Atelier V Sport Auto 40 will undoubtedly grab your attention with its candy-popping color scheme. So let’s first focus on what resides under the case back. The raison d’etre of the Sport Auto comes from by racing. Read the founder’s blog post on the LF home page, and you’ll get it. It is inspired by him lapping the Sarthe circuit at Le Mans in a Porsche shared with racing team partner — now business partner —François Servanin. But, with no offense to Porsche racing engines, the LF 270.01 caliber makes for an exquisite power source, making Porsche’s boxer engine look almost agricultural. Almost half of the micro-rotor caliber is hidden by swathes of horizontally brushed dark-tinged main plate and bridges. With the unidirectional ball-bearing-equipped micro-rotor affixed off-center to the right, it jostles for attention with the balance.

Micro-rotor panache

The micro-rotor has a 950 platinum oscillating weight. This is held in place by an organically shaped, hand-finished, slim bridge. Like the rest of the movement, the anglage is exceptional, and the remaining bridges feature several internal angles, underlining the modern look of the ruthenium-coated surfaces. What strikes you is the delicate balance of contemporary design executed with a meticulous, traditional finish. This is something only a small, specialized atelier like Laurent Ferrier’s can achieve. And with its distinctive features and 72-hour power reserve, what Ferrier has managed with its 215 components within a mere 4.85 millimeters is astounding. Laurent Ferrier tells us that each LF 270.01 caliber alone requires more than 139 manual finishing operations.

A fresh green dial

I am a nerdy petrolhead at heart and got the dial inspiration when I clocked the color combination. For me, car-racing-inspired watches are usually inhabited by too-literal references and logos. But the design of Laurent Ferrier pulls off an unusual hat trick. It is fresh yet understated with its gradient opaline surface, but zoom in for the subtle details. The inspiration comes from the no. 40 Porsche 935 driven by Ferrier, Servanin, and François Trisconi.

I have a much-read book with racing Porsches from 1976 to 2005, so the color scheme is familiar to me. The iconic flat-nosed 935s dominated sports car racing and won every race in 1979 except one. So that’s where you’ll find the beautiful mid-green, the orange of the lume in the 18K white gold Sagaie-shaped hands, and the pink pièce de résistance. You’ll spot the well-known Ferrier crosshair but with a difference. It is rendered in vivid pink, pinstriping the date window. The seemingly quiet small seconds register is a brash depiction of the race roundels on the Porsche, with a big white-on-white 40.

The Laurent Ferrier Série Atelier V Sport Auto 40

My daydreaming conclusion

As a final racing detail within the 41.5mm case, I see the NACA air duct from the rear Porsche flank. It’s right there in the date window’s shape. Could this be the fruit of my furtive imagination? This is something I will ask Mr. Ferrier about in Geneva. This watch is a study of elegant inspiration. Unlike the calming nature of the Evergreen collection, the CHF 51,000 Série Atelier V Sport Auto 40 has powers. It will awaken you and envelop you in a fast-paced daydream behind the steering wheel. And just like the 1979 Porsche 935 Turbo number 40, the Laurent Ferrier Série Atelier V Sport Auto 40 belongs on the podium.

What do you reckon, Fratelli? Is this the thinking man’s racing-themed watch? The Sport Auto could simply be one of the top integrated-bracelet watches to come out of Switzerland this decade. Leave comments, and roll on for Geneva Watch Days!


Watch specifications

Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto
Série Atelier V Sport Auto 40
Gradient viridian green opaline with white opaline small seconds semi-glossy opaline "40”. Indexes in 18K white gold 210Pd with orange Super-LumiNova.
Case Material
Grade 5 titanium
Case Dimensions
41.5mm (diameter) × 12.70mm thickness
Domed sapphire
Case Back
Laurent Ferrier LF2701.01 — automatic winding, 28,800vph frequency, 72-hour power reserve, 215 components/31 jewels
Water Resistance
120m (12 ATM)
Brushed and polished Grade 5 titanium bracelet
Time (hours, minutes, small seconds), date
CHF 51,000
Special Note(s)
To be produced in a limited edition of 40 examples