Lady F Reinterprets Laurent Ferrier’s Stunning Galet For The Feminine Wrist
The movement beating within the Lady F by Laurent Ferrier is the brand’s emblematic Galet Micro-Rotor movement. Despite all the highly visible outer beauty of this timepiece, its less obviously conspicuous inner beauty is perhaps more important for female enthusiasts to understand.
Caliber FBN229.01 blends vintage ideas from none other than Abraham-Louis Breguet with modern manufacturing technology and an eye for perfection.
The movement, Laurent Ferrier’s third to be developed, assembled and adjusted within the brand’s own Geneva workshops, boasts great harmony between its mechanics and finishing. But horological enthusiasts will likely be fixated on one particular point of interest: the escapement inspired by Breguet’s échappement naturel.
In search of better energy efficiency for his automatic movement wound by micro-rotor that made its original debut back in 2011, Ferrier and his team (which is led by Laurent’s son Christian, but also included Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini of La Fabrique du Temps) stumbled upon a revised version of Breguet’s escapement. One that the extraordinary watchmaker could never quite make work properly.
Laurent Ferrier’s team was able to solve the problem that perplexed Breguet by changing the original geometry slightly: this in itself was only made possible by utilizing a silicon lever and two silicon double direct impulse escape wheels − a solution not available in Breguet’s day − to optimize angles in the escapement and eliminate the need for lubrication.
“Good watchmaking is about optimizing a lot of small things,” Ferrier explained.
The double direct impulse of this escapement style was inspired by detent escapements, considered by many to be one of the most precise types in history. Ferrier agreed with the idea of providing his escapement with two impulses per oscillation (instead of the usual one), finding that it boosted accuracy.
This 31.6 mm, three-hertz movement is automatic, though Ferrier opted to utilize a micro-rotor so as to leave the movement’s mechanics as visible as possible when viewed through the sapphire crystal case back.
Ferrier also replaced the usual ball bearings for the unidirectionally winding rotor with pawls to reduce the noise associated with them. He further reduced noise by adding shock-absorbing anti-vibration pads. Despite all the new elements, this movement boasts a healthy 80 hours of power reserve.
Since Laurent Ferrier’s debut in 2009, one characteristic has accompanied its movements above all else, seriously making the enthusiast heart beat a little faster: the meticulous attention to finishing.
The fine finishing is eminently visible through the case back’s sapphire crystal: côtes de Genève generously applied to the bridges, while perlage is detectable on the base plate. Anglage (highly polished bevels) also play an obvious role, right down to the inner angles that are evidence of skilled handwork rather than machine.
The gold micro rotor has been embellished with hand-applied guilloche. Combined with the harmonious architecture of the movement as a whole, the mechanics are, for me anyway, as lovely to look at as the dial side of this beautiful timepiece.
Dressed for success
The Lady F is very beautiful to look at from the front as well, and the addition of a few embellishing attributes differentiates it substantially from the Galet Micro-Rotor model for men. This starts with the case size, which has been reduced by one millimeter from the men’s 40 mm to 39 mm for the feminine wrist. It comes in either 18-karat white gold or 18-karat red gold.
The dial colors were chosen to complement the case metal. Blue mother-of-pearl for the white gold version, and a shimmering brownish-coppery Tahitian mother-of-pearl for the red gold. Both dial variations were given a refined push with the addition of a stylized fern motif, which is extremely hard to apply to a thin sliver of brittle mother-of-pearl that is a mere 0.4 mm in height.
Adding to the sensuousness of the Lady F are a brilliant-cut diamond placed at 12 o’clock on the dial and a cabochon-cut sapphire set into the beautifully shaped crown.
The case is also available with snow-set diamonds on the case band. Snow-setting is a tricky skill, which only an experienced gem-setter can achieve with authority. Introduced to the watch world by Jaeger-LeCoultre around the turn of the millennium, snow-setting involves the setter choosing a variety of different-sized diamonds to create an effect that looks haphazard, but is in reality planned and difficult.
The various-sized diamonds used on the gem-set Lady F total 1.4 ct (approx. 218 individual diamonds) and have been meticulously selected and arranged to provide the unique carpet of radiance that only this technique displays.
The cherry on top is provided by the beautiful silk strap lined with alligator skin for good resistance to wear and real comfort.
For more information, please visit www.laurentferrier.ch.
Case: 39 mm, white gold or red gold
Dial: Tahitian or blue mother-of-pearl with a brilliant-cut diamond at 12 o’clock
Movement: automatic Caliber FBN 229.01 with silicon double direct impulse escapement and micro-rotor
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Price: 50,000 Swiss francs without diamonds or 65,000 Swiss francs with diamonds