La Chaux-de-Fonds, a city in the Swiss Jura hosting some of Switzerland's most exclusive watch manufactures, is also home to a company so small that only watch experts know about it. Greubel Forsey is like a hidden jewel, but once you have seen one of these timepieces, you can't get enough of their beauty and soul.
You've never seen a Greubel Forsey timepiece in a boutique? No surprise, as only 100 pieces are produced every year. Those who have the privilege to own one are already waiting for the next creation, as the risk of getting addicted is high.
Their offices are beautiful as well. The old part, the Farmhouse, dates back to the 17th century, and it has been integrated into the second, modern part called the Atelier, with the development and production workshops. Here, the focus is on light and glass. Everything looks open and transparent, open to the world. The premises reflect the Greubel Forsey approach, that you have to respect and understand the past in order to build the future
Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey had been working together for a long time before deciding to open their own company in 2004, with the objective of devising brand new mechanisms and creating the timepieces of their dreams. Robert, born in France, had since childhood developed a particular interest for watches as his father was a watchmaker himself.
Very quickly he developed an amazing expertise in Grand Complication movements. Stephen Forsey, born in England, specialised in antique watch restoration from 1987, and became a master in this art. It was perhaps inevitable that when they met for the first time, they would one day pool their skills in order to create something unique. They co-founded CompliTime in 2001, and then launched Greubel Forsey in 2004.
Seventeen different timepieces have been created since then. Let's take a look at just one to understand what makes them so different. The GMT in white gold with its mechanical hand-wound movement has a power reserve of 72 hours. It features a second time zone display, and has a 24-second tourbillion.
But have you ever seen a rotating globe in titanium, with universal time display, featuring not only the 24 time zones worldwide, but also a summer time indicator? In addition to all that, a world time disc with the summer time zones and a day and night indicator? Now perhaps you can imagine why it can take up to six years to develop such a complex timepiece, with 437 parts for the complete movement and 87 parts just for the tourbillon cage! Each piece is polished by hand, even those that you cannot see, and undergoes strict quality control processes.
Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey are sculptors of time, choreographers of the passing hours and architects of watch movements. They take all the time they need to create a new horological invention piece. For them, just as for us all, time is our most precious luxury.