We occasionally dip a toe into the world of high-end independents around here, a space that anchors no small part of my own enthusiasm for this stuff. There are some remarkable people doing amazing things at the periphery of this hobby (regardless of price point, really) and it’s worth stopping every once and awhile to appreciate that work, even if it does fall well out of reach for the majority of us. A pair of watches that caught my eye and gave me some pause this week came from a collaboration between Laurent Ferrier and Revolution Magazine and The Rake. Yes, they’re expensive and quite limited, but boy, are they beautiful.
Why I Love It: Laurent Ferrier x Revolution & The Rake
These watches build on a theme that began with the first collaborative effort between these parties, the Classic Origins steel sector dial released last year. This time, we’re treated to a pair of watches that draw inspiration from the same era of the ‘30s and ‘40s, while the drama has been dialed up to 11 with oversized, applied Breguet numerals atop sunburst dials of gold or salmon. The white gold appliques are ruthenium treated for maximum contrast with the dial, and they are pure show stoppers as a result. A black sector ring joins the Arabic numerals with much longer, attenuated arms with serifed ends filling in the remaining hour markers.
Each example is built within a steel 40mm case, however the movements differ between the two. The salmon dialed example receives Laurent Ferrier’s micro-rotor equipped caliber 229.01, which is not only lovely to behold, but a technical marvel to appreciate. This movement uses Ferrier’s take on the natural escapement first conceptualized and built by Abraham Breguet himself. This differs from the lever escapement by utilizing a pair of escape wheels (one driving, and one driven) and a single-piece silicone detent between them. This article by SJX on the natural escapement is well worth a read if you’re interested in going down that rabbit hole. The bridges and plates receive a gold toned bead blasted finish which allows the polished anglage to really sing.
The second example features a gold toned dial, and receives the hand-wound caliber LF 116.01, and while it utilizes a more traditional lever escapement, it’s still easy on the eyes with a similar gold toned bead blessed finish. The different movement means a price tag of CHF36,000 rather than the CHF54,000 for the micro-rotor.
We enthusiasts are spoiled for choice when it comes to great collaborations these days, with tantalizing new examples seemingly dropping each month. Many are undoubtedly cool, but what makes a collab great? In my view, it’s a balance of vision between those involved. With these Laurent Ferrier watches, I see the watchmaker represented faithfully, and I also see the Revolution & The Rake stylish influence overlaid in a manner that respects the underlying language of the watchmaker. This relationship is important to maintain in creating a compelling collaboration, and is the reason this pair of watches has been lingering in my head since first seeing them some weeks back.
See more of these watches over at Revolution, where they are exclusively available to purchase, assuming any of the 12 examples of each are still available.