Making only several dozen watches per year, Laurent Ferrier is a true independent manufacture, producing pieces with a quality and know-how which is long lost in many corners of the watch world. It is headed by Ferrier himself, who worked at Patek Philippe for several decades years, finishing as their creative director.
Though it may not be apparent from the design of the watches themselves, the inception of the brand took place on a racetrack. Whilst at Patek Philippe, Ferrier used to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's oldest active sports car race in endurance racing, with his friend François Sérvanin. This even culminated with the pair coming third in 1979, which Ferrier marked by gifting Sérvanin an engraved Nautilus 3700. Following their joint success, the two friends decided to launch the brand together, as Sérvanin was retiring and wanted to invest in a new venture. As Ferrier puts it,
"He wasn’t a collector or connoisseur, he gave me carte blanche in terms of the approach and design. It was of absolute importance, in my mind, that we develop a calibre from scratch, so myself and my son Christian, set about making that happen."
Capturing his dedication to his new eponymous brand, Ferrier developed a double spiral tourbillon movement as his first project. This would set the tone for what would come next. Combining traditional manufacturing techniques and design principles with contemporary innovation, the manufacture now creates pieces that combine watchmaking classicism and modern reliability.
This Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor has a distinctive amorphous, bevel-free shape. The case features a rounded bezel, thin lugs, and the manufacture’s signature onion-shaped crown. The entire watch is polished and mirror finished, while the crown itself equally engraved. The watch also features a screw-down caseback, adding additional protection to the grand-feu enamel dial, which is beautifully accented by subtle blue coloration around the sub-seconds. On top of this, are inlaid black roman numerals and Laurent Ferrier’s signature assegai-shaped hands.
At 41mm, this Laurent Ferrier is 1mm bigger than the conventional size of a Micro-Rotor. Enamel dials have previously only featured on the Galet Traveller and Tourbillon, with no series-production Micro-Rotor ever made available in platinum. Only 2 to 3 grand-feu enamel dials have been produced each year since the end of 2015, and with the added size and weight of its platinum case, it wears exceptionally well on the wrist.
Powered by the in-house, self-winding calibre LF 229.01, it has an incredibly high-quality movement that combines traditional watchmaking, with modern innovation. Interestingly, where haute-horlogerie often favours a manual-winding movement that’s not blocked by a rotor, Laurent Ferrier decided that contemporary needs, called for an automatic movement. The solution was the incorporation of a micro-rotor as a winding mechanism, allowing the architecture of the movement to be shown completely. The fan-shaped micro-rotor is made of solid gold and is suspended by a large bridge, together, intended to create the impression of a bird standing on one foot. Furthermore, it uses a pawl, allowing it to wind in a unidirectional manner, adding efficiency and reliability.
Impressively, the Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor also utilises a double direct-impulse escapement, which improves the efficiency of the movement through its ability to use less power and maintain amplitude, achieved through the escape-lever being locked down between two escape wheels. The finishing of the movement is a major focus for the Galet Micro-Rotor, with contrasts established between the perlage backdrop and the thick circular-grained Geneva Stripes on the bridges. The incredibly precise finishing of the interior angles is achieved using a burin, and the handwork of the manufacture’s skilled craftsmen.
The timekeeping of the Galet Micro-Rotor is equally impressive - it is chronometer-certified by the Besançon Observatory, outperforming its more commonly, COSC-approved peers. It also has a power reserve of 72 hours. Only 18 were made, with 2-3 delivered each year, from the end of 2015.
This Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor is accompanied by its original box and papers.