Greubel Forsey GMT Earth Final Edition: Saving The Best For Last
by Martin Green
About a decade ago, I was attending the press presentation of a brand who had made a stunning minute repeater in a titanium case. On this occasion, the brand representatives explained in-depth why titanium was superior to precious metals for the transmission of sound.
A year later, that brand introduced the same watch in precious metal. When I asked why, referring to the previous year’s presentation, the brand representatives said that at this price point people simply demanded gold and platinum cases even if it meant poorer sound performance.
Fast forward ten years and see how things have changed. I am not talking about the prices paid for stainless steel sports watches, but the development that the highest-tier watch brands have gone through.
And the latest Greubel Forsey GMT Earth is a perfect example of this: it was initially launched in gold, followed by a version in platinum, and now the brand concludes the lifecycle of this model with a limited edition of 11 pieces in titanium.
Greubel Forsey GMT Earth: a continuous quest for excellence
For the record, the GMT Earth does not have an acoustic complication so the watch’s performance would never be compromised by the choice of case material. Neither Robert Greubel nor Stephen Forsey would ever allow that: they are on a continuous quest for excellence.
Because of that quest, standard rules of markets and marketing don’t apply to Mssrs. Greubel and Forsey. This also gives them the freedom to create watches unlike any other. Greubel Forsey is the brand that not only dreams the most outrageous dream watches, but makes them real. This is to me how the GMT Earth still feels, even, if not especially, in its third iteration.
Both Greubel and (in particular) Forsey have a lot of air miles under their belts, so perhaps that is why displays of multiple time zones have such a prominent place in their collection. Alongside GMT Earth, the brand also has the GMT, GMT Quadruple Tourbillon, and GMT Sport models as part of the collection.
Setting the stage
The dial of this new GMT Earth is nothing more than a ring of smoky sapphire crystal serving the hour and minute hand; the bridges form this watch’s “stage.” They are made of nickel silver (also known as German silver) and decorated with a frosted finish and nickel-palladium treatment.
The case features gold plates screwed into the case band upon which Greubel Forsey’s “statement of purpose” is engraved, which we also see in part on the bezel. While that is a lot of text, it is also a lot of texture – giving the GMT Earth a unique appearance.
The best part of the watch to me is that Greubel Forsey found a way to make the globe – the watch’s main feature – even more present by having it fully visible on every side.
A titan in titanium
The brand is now ready for this model to take its last trip around the earth with a final version of 11 pieces. For this, Greubel Forsey not only crafted the case in titanium but also focused on a darker finish. This makes the final version of this watch distinctly different from its siblings, not only in looks but also in feel.
The titanium makes the watch significantly lighter than its predecessors, while at the same time it is about eight times stronger. Calling it a sports watch might be a bridge too far – and cutting into the territory of the GMT Sport – but it comes very close.
It is particularly light feeling and looking when fitted with the rubber strap Greubel Forsey offers. It is also a watch that must have caused quite a few headaches at the Greubel Forsey manufacture because – unlike many may think – titanium is a challenging material to work with. In particular, when extreme hand-finishing is the order of the day. Knowing this makes you even more appreciative of the new GMT Earth.
The good things stayed the same
The movement combines a few stunning and most desirable complications. Alongside the fascinating rotating globe, the watch also offers a second time zone that can easily be adjusted using the pusher on the side of the case.
The back of the watch is not only pleasing with its superb finish, it also features a world time disk that even considers daylight savings time where applicable. This not only increases the functionality of the watch – even if you have to take it off to use it – but it is also visually very appealing.
Its look always reminded me somewhat of the gun barrel sequence at the beginning of a James Bond movie.
High precision is also at the core of Greubel Forsey’s “DNA.” And so the GMT Earth is fitted with a 24-second tourbillon inclined at 25 degrees secured with a superlatively hand-polished titanium bridge. Running at a frequency of 3 Hz/21,600 vph, this tourbillon escapement features two coaxial fast-rotating serially operating spring barrels providing a power reserve of 72 hours, which is indicated on the dial side.
One thing that did surprise me is that Greubel Forsey offers this watch on a rubber or a hand-sewn strap made of alligator leather. Earlier this year, the boutique brand proudly announced that all of its straps starting January 1, 2022 would be made of plant-based materials (vegan).
While that date hasn’t been reached yet, I wouldn’t have thought that Greubel Forsey would still be introducing new watches on exotic leather straps. This is nitpicking, though, because all told, I would say that Greubel Forsey did save the best for last with this final version of the GMT Earth.
For more information, please visit www.greubelforsey.com/en/collection/gmt/gmt-earth.
Quick Facts Greubel Forsey GMT Earth
Case: 45.5 x 16.18 mm, titanium
Movement: manually wound caliber with 453 components, 24-second tourbillon inclined at a 25-degree angle, 72-hour power reserve thanks to two coaxial serially operating fast-rotating spring barrels, variable-inertia balance, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve indication, second time zone, 24-time zone universal time
Limitation: 11 pieces