Laurent Ferrier Introduces the Sport Auto 40, a Personal Take on the Integrated Bracelet Sports Watch

There are all kinds of watches that are tied to motorsports. Horology and racing are inextricably linked, and while the Venn Diagram of people who are into watches and into various aspects of car culture and auto racing isn’t exactly a circle, it’s honestly probably not far off. But when it comes to watches that are inspired by motorsport in one way or another, we find varying levels of refinement and authenticity in the products that make it to boutique shelves. It’s easy enough to slap a logo of a car manufacturer on a dial or make a caseback calling attention to a particular race, but it’s more challenging to draw a real connection between these two worlds, even as they’re so closely linked. One of the things that make the watches made by Laurent Ferrier so interesting is that the connection feels real, a natural result of the history of the team that founded the brand. Before he was a world renowned watchmaker, Laurent Ferrier and his partner Francois Servanin were (very accomplished) amateur racers, and the new version of the Sport Auto celebrates that history. 


For watch fans who might not be familiar with Laurent Ferrier’s personal history prior to the founding of his eponymous brand, he did indeed make something of a name for himself in the automotive world at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1979. Ferrier and his teammates (including Servanin and Francois Trisconi) placed third in that race out of 60, a surprising result for a group of non-professional drivers. They achieved this result in a Porsche 935 Turbo, a race ready version of the Porsche 911 that was introduced three years prior. The No. 40 car driven by Ferrier and his teammates for the race had a green paint job that is the inspiration for the dial of this new Sport Auto 40. 

The Sport Auto is Laurent Ferrier’s entry in the ever popular integrated bracelet sports watch category, and the case features a curvy and aerodynamic design that is largely inspired by the lines of race cars. The case measures 41.5mm and is crafted from grade 5 titanium and features a variety of painstakingly executed finishes, including a circular satin brushed bezel, mirror polished bevels, and vertically brushed midcase. 

The dial has a ton of character, and while it wouldn’t be obvious to someone who isn’t a racing connoisseur that this watch is auto inspired, one look at the actual car that the colorway is borrowed from and it all begins to make sense. The shade of green is a perfect match, and there’s a very subtle crosshair pattern in a pale purple that corresponds with the vehicle as well. The hands and hour markers are a dark shade of tan that could be mistaken for fauxtina, but it’s actually another callback to the No. 40 car’s livery. 

As you’d expect for a Laruent Ferrier, the movement is mesmerizing. The LF270.01 calibre is powered by a platinum micro rotor and has a power reserve of 72 hours when fully wound. According to Laurent Ferrier, the movement has been designed to be resistant to impacts and excessive vibration, as you’d expect for a movement built for a sports watch, but perhaps not for your typical haute horlogerie piece. And this is a piece of haute horlogerie, no matter how you define it. The brand tells us that this caliber requires a total of 139 manual finishing operations, with traditional finishing techniques employed such as hand polished internal angles and a rotor bridge finished with gentian wood and diamantine. 

All of this handwork has a price, of course, and the Sport Auto 40 comes in at an eye watering CHF 51,000. Only 40 will be made. Laurent Ferrier 

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.