The Grande Sonnerie represents the very pinnacle of watchmaking and a complication that was a notable omission in the catalogue of Greubel Forsey. To borrow an analogy from the movies, imagine Leonardo Di Caprio without an Academy Award for Best Actor in his trophy cabinet. It’s a bit of an obvious omission. Well even Leo has an Oscar (for The Revenant in 2016) now and in the lead-up to SIHH this year, Greubel Forsey unveiled its first grande sonnerie timepiece, a watch that’s been 11 years in the making.
This is a thoroughly modern Grande Sonnerie, what with its asymmetrical titanium case and water resistance up to 3 ATM. Designed to be easy to use, this timepiece has powerful acoustics thanks to a titanium resonance cage (basically the more empty space in a case, the better it will be in terms of acoustics). And it solves a problem that most grande sonnerie watches face – a healthy power reserve.
This watch is no shrinking violet thanks to its asymmetrical case, which measures 43.5mm in diameter with a height of 16.33 mm. It’s not the kind of watch that’ll slip under your shirt cuff easily, but it remains easy to wear because of the use of lightweight titanium. The multi-level dial has a cut-out to reveal the striking hammers and cathedral gongs of the chiming mechanism. The brand’s characteristic 24-second tourbillon with the black polished tourbillon bridge is also visible on the dial.
The 935-part movement is manually wound and offers a power reserve of 72 hours. However, the chiming mechanism has its own self-winding movement with a power reserve of 20 hours. Both these power reserve indicators are visible on the dial.
The minute repeater and its additional striking mechanism sounds the exact time on demand, down to the minute. This timepiece has three modes to choose from: Grande Sonnerie (which strikes the hours and the quarters in passing), Petite Sonnerie (which strikes the full hours in passing) and Silence (which does not strike in passing).
There is a function indicator on the dial marked PS (Petite Sonnerie) GS (Grande Sonnerie) and SL, for Silent mode. It is worth mentioning here that the timepiece is equipped with a silent striking regulator. This watch also has a minute repeater chiming on demand.
There are 11 security functions that have been incorporated into the movement to ensure the smooth running of the watch and the striking functions. This is not a limited edition watch but Greubel Forsey says production will be limited to five or eight pieces a year considering the complex nature of the watch.
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