Laurent Ferrier’s Galet Annual Calendar School Piece, named for and inspired by its eponymous inventor’s days as a watchmaking student, won out over an impressive field of competitors to claim the Men’s Complication Prize at the 2018 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. One year after its introduction at last year’s SIHH watch salon, the watch debuts in two new opaline-dialed versions at the upcoming SIHH 2019 in Geneva.
The round 40-mm case of the Laurent Ferrier Galet Annual Calendar School Piece Opaline Black and White models, with its straight, thin lugs, was designed to evoke the look of early wristwatches, which were essentially converted pocketwatches. The opaline dials, which Laurent Ferrier says were inspired by the clean, black-and-white look of a chessboard, feature the watchmaker’s white-gold “Assegai” hands to indicate the hour and minute, and a small baton-type hand on the small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.
A center-mounted hand points to the date on a scale of vintage-style Arabic numerals, numbered 1-31, around the periphery of the dial, while the day and month appear in two beveled apertures above the center, below 12 o’clock. The calendar display is slightly different on each new model: white numerals and a red “31,” with a red pointer, on the black dialed watch; blue numerals and burgundy ’31” and date pointer on the white-dialed.
The watches, offered for the first time in “desert sand” 18k yellow gold, are equipped with the same movement as their predecessors, Laurent Ferrier’s manual-winding Caliber LF126.01, which is revealed behind a clear sapphire caseback. In addition to its host of haute horlogerie finishes — côtes de Genève with ruthenium treatment on the bridges, circular graining on the mainplate, manually chamfered sides and angles, polished screw heads — the movement is notable (and, perhaps, judges as award-worthy) for its user-friendly integration of the annual calendar functions.
An easy-to-grip button on the side of the case advances the day of the week, while all other adjustments are made via the traditional (for Laurent Ferrier) ball-shaped crown, which allows for moving the date and month backward and forward with a simple turn in either direction. Of course, like all annual calendar watches, this one requires only one adjustment per year in the ideal scenario that it remains fully wound during that period, from February 28 or 29 to March 1.
Other notable elements: the presence of the long blade-type click ratchet, which debuted in Ferrier’s first manual-wind movement for the Tourbillon Double Hairspring model; and an indicator of the movement’s 80-hour power reserve on the rear side.
The Laurent Ferrier Galet Annual Calendar School Piece Opasline White is mounted on a honey-colored alligator leather strap with Alcantara lining, while the Opaline Black model comes on a matt gray alligator strap with Alcantara lining; both are offered with either a pin buckle or double-blade folding clasp. Prices are expected to be announced at the watches’ official debut at SIHH 2019 in Geneva this coming January.