Introducing the Laurent Ferrier Classic Micro-Rotor & Classic Origin with Breguet Numerals for Revolution & The Rake

Nudging a year on from our last collaboration with the Master of Neo-Classical Watchmaking, Laurent Ferrier, Revolution & The Rake are extremely proud to present updated watch editions of the Classic Micro-Rotor & Classic Origin.

The world is clearly amid the ecstatic throes of a love affair with independent watchmaking so super heated that it makes Bernini’s famous Ecstasy of Saint Teresa seem altogether chaste in comparison. What’s the reason for all the mercury rising? Well, for one thing, several indies have proven themselves to be the best appreciable assets around. Philippe Dufour’s Simplicity went from a sub one-hundred-thousand-dollar, beautifully finished but fairly basic small sized dress watch to a one-million-dollar unicorn in the space of two years. F.P. Journe’s Souscription Tourbillons similarly exploded into the six-digit realm last year, increasing tenfold in value, causing new watches like his iconic Chronomètre à Résonance to trade at three times retail on the secondary market. To those that would listen, I’ve been championing the extraordinary watchmaking at De Bethune for years. Now, in the past six months, any Kind of Blue watch comes at a premium that two years ago might have bought you the watch itself.

The second reason independent watches are hotter than ever is that in a market where all the most entrenched populist models have now become trophies for rappers, movie stars and hedge funders, a Kari Voutilainen, an MB&F or a Moser demonstrates that your watch knowledge is deep and sets you apart from the culturally homogenous sheep. These two factors combined have created powerfully heated avarice for all things independent.

Says watch industry legend Jean Claude Biver, “In my 50 years in the industry, I’ve never seen anything like this.” But if you look at the indies, there is one that fulfills the neoclassical niche better than all others, and that is Laurent Ferrier. While the majority of other rock star independents range from futuristic like Urwerk, quirky like Konstantin Chaykin, 18th century in inspiration like Théo Auffret, highly technical like Bernhard Lederer or irrepressibly crazy like Vianney Halter, Ferrier has perfectly defined the space of the restrained modern classic. Because he does it just so perfectly.

Deep inside Laurent Ferrier’s imagination, inchoate but present when he made his first pocket watch in 1968 and enriching itself to full maturity over his 37 years at Patek Philippe, was a singular voice of immeasurable horological grace. When he did unveil this vision to the world with the launch of his eponymous brand in 2009, the watch that he created, the Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Spiral, triggered an incredible flood of what Proust would call “involuntary memories.” Since then, he has achieved this over and over again with each successive launch, from the Classic Micro-Rotor, to his Traveler and Annual Calendar, and most recently with his sublime Classic Origin. I would say, more than any other independent brand, Ferrier reconnected us all with the love for classical watchmaking — a remembrance of things past, that we had almost forgotten. Laurent Ferrier is our bridge between the past and the present. His watches are the living, beating repositories of horology’s greatest collective memories. So artfully did he wield nuanced details inspired by 19th and mid-20th century Swiss watchmaking that his vision felt like it had already existed for a century or more, already permanently inscribed into the lexicon of horology’s great canon.

Even more importantly, at a time when watchmaking was becoming bombastic and theatrical, he reintroduced the world to the type of watchmaking that was serene, tranquil, and calm. Says Ferrier, “In art, a baroque period is always followed by an era of renewed classicism. That is the type of watchmaking I wanted to reintroduce to the world. Classic watchmaking as I loved it.” Which is to say watchmaking that is devoid of hyperbole, an ethos of smooth curvilinear forms inspired by the Golden Ratio and the touch of the divine in nature. Watchmaking that champions restrained beauty belied by high powered technical prowess that instantly made Laurent Ferrier one of the most compelling high watchmaking marques around.

Ferrier explains, “I grew up around watchmaking so there was always a sense of predestination that I would work in watches. I imagine, in the same way that it was for my son, Christian. My father was a specialist in grand complications, and I was infected by his passion in particular early on. He would tell me stories of how timekeeping was interlinked with the story of human history. That the marine chronometer was the instrument which allowed man to safely navigate the seas.” But at an early age, Ferrier was also swept up by a passion for auto racing, which he feels added to his interest in watchmaking in a unique way.

For Ferrier, the mental discipline, the rigor of character, the focus necessary to be a great driver was similar to his approach to watchmaking. He says, “In watches, every single element makes a critical difference in the outcome. This is something that I have tried to apply to Laurent Ferrier watches. Ours is a design language that is restrained, some might even say minimalist, but if you look at the details, the color density of the font for each marker, the shape of the crown, the compound curve of the sapphire crystal, every element has been painstakingly considered over and over until we thought it was perfect.”

 

The 2021 Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin for Revolution and The Rake

My immense passion for Laurent Ferrier and his watches resulted in our first collaboration launched last year. The inspiration for this project was a timepiece created by the legendary auctioneer Aurel Bacs, together with his friend, the mythical Auro Montanari, also known by his nom de plume John Goldberger. Their design was for a watch with dial inspired by the “sector” or scientific dial chronometers from the 1930s and ’40s. Our watch was distinguished from the Bac and Montanari model by a seconds indicator, different hands, different crown, a different two-tone dial configuration, a frosted finish manual wind movement from the Classic Origin and a sporty Milanese bracelet. When the rendering for what I felt was an incredibly charming watch was finished, I posted it on my personal Instagram account. To my surprise and gratitude, I received so many DMs that the 12 pieces of the limited edition were spoken for in under 30 minutes. One of these watches which had a retail price of CHF 28,800 went to auction at Christie’s in May 2021. The watch hammered at CHF 40,000; the final price would have been CHF 50,000 including 25 percent buyer’s premium, which meant it had increased in value by more than 70 percent in a few months.

For our follow-up to this project, this year, we will launch two steel cased models, both featuring dials inspired by the same golden era of the 1930s and ’40s. This time, we wanted to feature what we consider to be one of the most beautiful types of indexes ever created, applied Breguet numerals. These stylized Arabic numerals have a charming Latin flair and are featured in the most collectible examples of watches, such as Patek Philippe’s references 96 and 530 time-only watches and the famous ref. 1463 or “Tasti Tondi” chronographs. Indeed, the presence of Breguet numerals and a steel case on a Tasti Tondi increase the value of that watch by more than 300 percent.

Says Laurent Ferrier, “The idea was to remain in the theme of a sector-style dial but to add to it these elements of applied Breguet numerals which, to me, results in one of the beautiful dials we’ve worked on. The three numerals, 12, 3 and 9, are all created from wire erosion on white gold before they are perfectly decorated then treated with a ruthenium coating. These are delicately applied to a dial that features a stunning sunray effect. The lines radiating from the middle of the dial create a stunning, energetic luminous effect, which is again contrasted by the dark black sector ring. This ring features an all-new original design inspired by the ring found in our project last year, but with much bolder and far longer attenuated arms that act as markers for the other indexes. This is a style of dial I find very charming but is perhaps a touch more exuberant than usual for us. But this is precisely why it works as a limited edition between Laurent Ferrier and Revolution. To make the watches even more distinct, both the manual wind and micro-rotor movements feature a frosted yellow gold finish with contrasting high-polished bevels. This is the first time we’ve ever used this finish on a micro-rotor movement and I think the result is sublime.”

Published

October 2021

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