Greubel Forsey Introduces the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture Watch

Greubel Forsey's newest creation pays homage to art, architecture, creativity and a lot of other things.


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a city designed for the future? One that showcased what modern urban living would look like in the next few decades and gave us hope that our futures were going to be brighter and better than ever? I think that’s what Milton Keynes was built for, but, er, the less said about that the better. The press blurb about the new showstopper Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture from Greubel Forsey mentions how the movement of the watch is like a city on the wrist, and I think they’re bang on.

Let’s be clear about one thing; this isn’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill watch. It’s never going to be as accurate as a Casio or as rugged as a Seiko, and at $500,000, it’s probably never going to be sitting in your watch case, or mine. To judge this as simply “a way to tell the time” is to miss out on the other half of the watchmaking industry, the arguably more important half. Mechanical watches have been fundamentally redundant for 50 years, they’re not required to fill the roles they once were, so the notion that they can only be a tool is, well, wrong. A well-made mechanical watch is a piece of art, performance art if you like. It doesn’t just look pretty, but it tells the time, which is a bonus. The difference is the appreciation of the watch’s appearance, design and the sheer skill that went into making it takes precedent over how accurate it is.

Once you’re past that, this new Greubel Forsey is a lot easier to understand. The titanium case can, from some angles, look odd, but it’s been designed to be comfortable to wear and showcase the movement within. Apart from the ellipse shape it seems to take on from some angles, the most striking thing about it is its sapphire crystal caseband, allowing a view through the side of the watch to the inner workings. The wording around the dial is intriguing, an homage to the influences of the watch and the drivers of the team at Greubel Forsey in general. Another oddity of the design is that the case is wider at the bottom (47.05mm) than at the top (45mm), allowing it to fit the big movement while appearing smaller. The thickness is 16.8mm, and it has a water resistance of 50m.

Speaking of the movement, the 354 pieces that make it have been designed and finished exquisitely. As I wrote above, this movement is big for a wristwatch. While in most “normal” watches, movements generally range anywhere from 20mm in diameter to 30mm, the movement of this watch measures 38mm x 12.35mm. Organising the pieces the way they have been, with the escapement, barrel, power reserve and connecting wheels all spaced out like this means it needs a bigger case. Remember that delightful Breguet Tradition 7047 we covered recently? It’s the same deal.

The movement’s layout is big enough to allow that 3D effect to happen, making it look like a tiny city on the wrist. All that artfulness doesn’t mean that science and chronometric performance have been shoved into a corner. Three barrels give this watch a 90-hour power reserve, and the balance wheel features a Phillips curve and a 3Hz beat rate. The tourbillon and the balance have been inclined at 25 degrees, and the tourbillon performs one rotation every 24-seconds rather than the usual 60 seconds. Greubel Forsey says this setup is much better for counteracting the effects of gravity while the watch is in motion on the wrist compared to the traditional tourbillon layout. I’m not even going to touch on the exquisite finishing of the components. It speaks for itself and speaks very loudly. It’s nice to see that Greubel Forsey hasn’t omitted the practical touches such as the SuperLumiNova on the hands and a power reserve display cleverly hidden on the dial.

All this comes with significant cost. As I mentioned near the start, the price tag is high. Further, the unique complexity of the watch and Greubel Forsey’s small team size means this is going to be hard to get hold of. Eleven are being sold in 2022, and then there will be a further eighteen annually from 2023 to 2025. In total, Greubel Forsey will be making 65 of these. Man, am I jealous of those customers.

Visit Greubel Forsey here.