The Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon Golden Brown Is A Chocolate-Infused Grail Watch
Yes, I know. I have stated this before (maybe even three or four times), but the term “grail watch” is not static. Rather, it is as dynamic as the watch market is. But I’ll tell you this: I am not all that objective when it comes to Laurent Ferrier’s pieces. In fact, I should be disqualified right now from writing this article on the Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon Golden Brown. But this is Fratello, not The New York Times. Most stories will be colored by our personal taste, which is why we invite your comments. Even if they are severely critical of my own point of view, it’s all good.
Our passion for watches doesn’t have a cheat sheet, nor can it be entered into an Excel document for calculation purposes. For me, it means an ever-changing love of timepieces that might be swayed by the smallest of details, say, an awkward date window or too-stubby hands. This time, however, there is an actual comparison to my Patek Philippe Nautilus fave, a ref. 5711 in rose gold with a chocolate-rich dial. And this, my friends, is the perfect alternative (though, with my budget, it’s a virtual one).
My insatiable appetite for chocolate has me hooked
Yes, I crave chocolate, and I will have some every day, even if it’s only a small amount. It is tantamount to my health, as are dials that offer more than matte black solitude. A subjective stretch of the truth perhaps, and the Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon doesn’t even need it. You might think this is a reboot of the Sport Auto but think again. Unlike the LF 270.01 movement in that watch, the hand-crafted LF 619.01 caliber in this one is hand-wound with a double balance spring. A hidden, spinning mechanical jewel will also be revealed. The vibe is modern, but with these warm colors, it is distinctly ’70s with a big glam factor.
Forget about stealth wealth, and embrace the warm glow
The Grand Sport Tourbillon Golden Brown is clad in an on-trend 5N red gold case, making it anything but stealthy. I wouldn’t want my chocolate served any other way than with a dose of glamour, and LF doesn’t disappoint. The Grand Sport design is, on its own merits, a chunkier and more studied alternative to the Patek Philippe Nautilus. And I don’t just mean the hyped-up, discontinued ref. 5711; the Nautilus is still alive and well with complication-laden references. The 5N red gold here is brushed like the “everyday” (as if!) 904L steel version is, and both the case and bracelet are transformed. Each brushed link with its soft-angular cushion shape looks like a miniature gold bar, and the soft, skillful execution of the 44mm cushion case is sublime.
With the serious weight (310 grams) of 5N gold, you will be very aware of its Grand Sport Tourbillon’s hefty presence. As we’ve come to expect, the Sport dial is a dègradè example for others to follow. The soft transition this time takes on a hue of molten chocolate, like staring into a deep cup of cocoa. The choice of red gold whoops up the cost, but nothing sits better with the dark brown hue. It’s arguably even a better match than on the rose gold Nautilus, my previous, now-forgotten choco-grail watch. Laurent Ferrier’s Assegai hand design is a lot broader on the Sports references to include areas of lume, and the same goes for the elongated indices. A lighter shade of cocoa makes the recessed small-seconds register at 6 stand out and brings a welcome balance to the discreetly crosshair-equipped dial.
Sell the cars, honey — there’s a tourbillon in here!
This chocolate-laden Laurent Ferrier is not stealthy in any way, except for its mechanical heart. And that is part of the big, independent charm of the brand. The movement comes from the GPHG-winning Classic Tourbillon and remains a very private joy. The mainplate and the taut lines of the bridges are modern in their understated satin gray finish. And yes, there is an almost apologetic tourbillon at 6; why flaunt it? This manual-wind caliber has an 80-hour power reserve and beats at 3Hz. It is faultless in its pleasing layout and simply serves as a perfect counterpoint to the magic of gold and chocolate. But at CHF 225,000 for one of the 24 pieces, this version of the Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon is a serious investment. Then again, with some steel-cased Patek 5711s on Chrono24 for a ridiculous €400K–500K, this is a big value. Can you come with me when I tell my wife?
Fratelli, my Fratelli, is this the golden integrated-bracelet grail you have been waiting for? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, regardless of whether your budget is real or virtual.
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