Learn more about Greubel Forsey Signature Edition 1
This is not just a simple exercise; it is also a monument to perfectionism.
This is the topic of SIHH in 2016. Greubel Forsey, a watchmaker known for his art of invention, is making a time-limited “simple” watch at a very cheap price. It appears to be land, rather than the usual stratospheric level (admittedly, in a relative sense). Although some people claim that this is a reaction to the market slowdown, these opponents have ignored many factors. After careful observation, they will find that this is a watch that has been in development for a period of time. In fact, the watch had been developed for about six years when it was exhibited at the salon.
In keeping with Robert and Stephen’s outstanding concept of execution and timing performance, this watch just took time to market. Think of the Signature 1 as just a “simple” watch, ignoring the nuances of spending a lot of resources to perfect the timepiece. In fact, even after the watch debuted at SIHH, this pursuit of perfection continued, and different surface treatments were present in the production of watches of men.
When looking at the watch, I not only had the opportunity to wear a Gaupe Fortune watch-which is always worth looking forward to-but also, when I returned the watch to their studio in La Chaux-de-Fonds, I was able to see what was in production. Watch. Therefore, this is an in-depth review that is different from usual because it includes internal observations of “simple” watches. Under the minimalist design, the attention to detail and engineering is the same as the characteristics of watchmaking. Gao Perfuss.
Considering the idea of watches (and related series), there are many initial problems that need to be overcome. The first is the design of the balance wheel and hairspring. These components of Signature 1 are proprietary designs of Koppelforth. Although, as Stephen admitted, as a supplier, they will hardly cause Nivarox trouble, but this is a departure from the company. Before, in other tourbillon watches, they used the accompanying balance wheel and hairspring. The focus is on the tourbillon elements: the design of the frame and the angle of rotation.
Take a look at all the other Cooper Forus watches except this one, and you will find that all the balance wheels look the same. The reason is that Gao Peifusi only focuses on tourbillon design. The idea of developing EWT (Experimental Watch Technology) for all mechanisms is a scientific method: all other factors remain the same, so it is possible to test only one factor that has changed. Therefore, when testing different tourbillon frame designs, all other components, including the balance wheel and hairspring, remain unchanged. In the case of Signature 1, a new balance wheel was developed: it was the main element that changed in the movement in this case.
Once it is decided to develop a new series-Signature, and a new balance wheel (at least for Signature 1)-the actual development process takes time. The Signature series is a series of collaboration watches between Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey and senior watchmakers. The senior watchmaker for Signature 1 is Didier Cretin, who has been working since the founding of Gaupe Fortunes. When reviewing the Signature 1, it’s worth looking at the elements that make this watch unique—whether it’s with other Cooper Fortis watches or other “simple” highly-finished watches on the market.
The first is the design of the proprietary balance wheel. To some people, the design looks similar to Naissance d’une Montres; but it is not. I actually asked Stephen this question, and he said that although he can see and may make observations, Naissance and Signature were developed independently. Yes, watchmakers will compare and discuss, but is one balance a derivative of another? Do not. They are completely independent processes in terms of development. To prove this, Stephen put the balance wheels of Signature and Naissance together, and sure enough, the difference is obvious. The Signature balance wheel was developed separately.
If there is no connection between the two, then the next question is obviously, why is the balance wheel designed this way? Stephen replied that the design was decided by the three of them: Robert, Stephen and Didier. After years of horological work, years of research and learning, the comprehensive knowledge of the three watchmakers is that the balance wheel should look like this. The symmetrical design allows reliable and uniform oscillation. The balance wheel is an adjustable mass type with a balance spring with a Breguet upper ring.
This watch is a condensed version of the more complex Koppelforth watch (only in terms of complexity, not quality). Stephen commented that it is actually difficult to create a simpler watch, but that all the aesthetic specifications and finishing of Gaopefus must be retained. The signature actually seems simple. While visiting the Atelier in La Chaux-de-Fonds, I was lucky to see the parts of the watch. The reason is that before starting production, the prototype is being checked to see if there are any final changes; this provides an opportunity to see what details are hidden under the minimalist bridges and boards. Greubel Forsey fake
On the main barrel, it was decided to black polish the three-jaw splint on the back of the watch. It not only increased the appearance and complexity of the watch surface treatment, but also increased the time and cost of producing each watch-although the price had been agreed before, a decision was made to complete the decision. It’s not surprising for Fuss.
The reduction in complexity allowed Koppelfors to showcase the movement to the greatest extent. You can follow the gear train from the barrel to the escapement, to the hour, minute, and second hands; all of these can be seen through the front and back of the watch.
The design highlights all the finishes that Gooper Forsyth considers standard. Finishing, at this level is not only to extend the service life of the movement parts (reduce friction on the moving surface, etc.), but also to make the watch’s structure more precise. This is not a gorgeous decoration just for decoration. This is the finishing of craftsmanship: show how a hand-made watch is different from a purely machine-made watch. Dr. George Daniels once said that a truly high-level hand-finished watch, if it reaches the highest level, looks like a machine made. But in this case, the perfect finish showcases elements that can only be achieved by hand, such as the horizontal brushed finish inside the case. Slowly, using a “polished” grinding rod, draw lines on the metal surface.
The arrangement of signatures is exemplary. Chamfering, corners, and black polishing are all flawless. The inclined part of the plate reflects light, as well as other parts of the watch. The stepped pattern on the front plate of the watch directs the eyes to the balance wheel and the (perfect black polished) balance bridge, the edges and corners of which are perfectly reflected. The inner parts of the movement are polished by hand; the position of each circle is accurate. Completing at this level is obsessive-compulsive disorder. When does the problem stop; when do you know this is the best state? Now, the finishing department of Koppelforth is doing better than anyone else. http://www.cheapestwrist.com
What I really like about all the Koppelforts watches is the attention to detail. For the Signature 1, this is on par with other Koppelforts watches. The hands of this watch are finished in the same way as other watches of Guberfors; the processing standards of the counter center and the polished tip are the same as the most elaborately processed movement elements. The surface treatment of the “wolf teeth” on the ratchet is equally accurate.
The design of the balance bridge (very reminiscent of the balance bridge in Invention 1) and other details reflect the artistic precision and skill of the trimmer, the accuracy of the square corners, and the perfect plane mirror to complete the full length of the bridge.
The diameter of the case is 41.3 mm, and the height is 11.3 mm. In terms of size, it is also the pioneer of Gao Perfus. I must admit that, as a person who likes retro style and size watches, this kind of variation from the usual Gaopefus size is welcome. Signature 1 is more suitable for the size of ordinary wrists, and its advantage is that Signature 1 can be neatly fitted under the shirt cuffs; this is a watch that is more suitable for daily use. Technically, Signature 1 also provides some new things. Although tourbillons have certain timing advantages, they are also a more complex and therefore less efficient way of adjusting watch mechanisms. Although Koppelforth may have gone further than anyone in understanding the timing/efficiency trade-offs,
The movement is very non-standard in terms of design and construction. The three-tiered ladder element of the front axle is a bit like an illusion, because the boards are not stacked one after another; instead, the modules are interconnected to create this impression. Unlike some other independents who borrowed the basic design and layout of past movements—I thought of the old Jaeger-LeCoultre and Peseux 260 movements—the Signature 1 movement was designed from the ground up.
Some premium labels represent the development and testing costs of new movements, new balance wheels and layouts. This is not about removing an existing movement and installing it on something else; or the design of the movement in the past. This starts with a blank sheet of paper. It is true that the mechanics of chronograph watches are well known. However, I also know that Koppelforth changed the elements of the watch for aesthetic reasons during the prototyping process, and there is no difference here. Signature 1 has some prototypes, some still exist, and some have been dismantled, with different configurations.
Back to SIHH 2016 Ben Clymer’s immediate reaction to this watch-it may be the ultimate chronograph-I think it is right. Although others have compared the Signature 1 with other time-only watches provided by independent companies, other reviews did not consider the differences in the design and construction of the Gaupe Fortune watches. Gao Peifusi did not imitate: the design is proprietary, and designed and completed in its own way. Signature 1 may be a simple chronograph watch, but its complexity is much higher, whether it is structural details or surface treatment, it is completely different from other chronograph vintage watches.