A Closer Look: The Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit
The latest edition of the independent brand’s sports watch impresses with its stunning salmon-pink gradient dial inspired by the sunrise over the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Since its founding in 2009, Laurent Ferrier has become a byword for elegant, neoclassical watchmaking thanks to its gorgeously refined models like the Tourbillon Double Spiral, Galet Micro-Rotor, and Classic Origin.
But four years ago, in 2019, the Geneva-based independent brand incorporated a new style into its repertoire when it introduced its first-ever sports watch, the Grand Sport Tourbillon, inspired by the shared passion for motor racing of the company’s co-founders Laurent Ferrier and François Servanin.
Indeed, both men have driven several times in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, even taking third place at the 1979 edition of the iconic endurance car race in their turquoise Porsche 935.
The first edition of the Grand Sport Tourbillon married a steel case with a brown gradient dial and a sporty taupe rubber bracelet, and its rounded lines were a clear nod to the streamlined profile of race cars. Likewise, it was powered by a high-performance engine: the hand-wound calibre LF619.01, with a tourbillon, double hairspring, and a generous 80-hour power reserve.
Laurent Ferrier followed up that first Grand Sport Tourbillon a year later when it presented a second iteration in steel with an integrated three-link bracelet and blue opaline gradient dial. The brand then raised the luxury level further in 2022 with a sumptuous red-gold version with an integrated bracelet and a chocolate-brown opaline gradient dial.
A New Chapter
First, there is the brand’s choice of a high-tech, lightweight material – natural grade 5 titanium – for the new Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit’s 44mm case and integrated bracelet. And while you could chalk up the use of titanium to its growing popularity in the community, this metal is also very appropriate for a watch channeling the spirit of 1970s motor racing. For you see, it was during the ‘70s that carmakers like Porsche made gains by introducing strong yet lightweight materials like aluminum for its rollcages and engine blocks.
The grade 5 titanium used for the Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit offers robustness and durability, lightness for a very comfortable wear, and its biocompatibility means those with a nickel allergy needn’t worry. It also happens to look the part, too, with a selection of brushed and polished finishes deployed to excellent effect on the case, cushioned-shaped bezel, and bracelet.
However, the star of the show has to be the Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit’s eye-catching salmon-pink gradient opaline dial that is bright in the center and progresses to a darker shade towards the periphery. Moreover, its warm hues contrast nicely with the darker Assegai-shaped hands and drop-shaped applied indices in ruthenium-treated white gold, which have been enhanced with white Super-LumiNova.
The Breathtaking Beauty of Sunrise
According to the brand, the salmon-pink dial tone is meant to capture “the breathtaking beauty of the sky at dawn.” And not just any sunrise, but the one witnessed by the drivers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans after a good 16 hours of racing on the famed Circuit de la Sarthe in north-west France in the middle of summer.
“For Laurent Ferrier and François Servanin, driving at dawn on the 24-hour track was an experience like no other,” states a vivid passage in the brand’s press materials about the watch. “As the rising sun, still hidden, tinted the sky with an orange-pink glow, both men have found themselves alone on the Mulsanne straight, the roar of a Porsche 935 their only co-driver.”
It continues: “Once met by this rosy hue, any notion of victory or defeat, fatigue or ardor – even ambition for the final ranking – faded away. All that remained was immense joy and the thrill of imagining that they were the sole privileged spectators of this extraordinary ballet of light.”
And yet, the sight of this sunrise would, apparently, go on to have an energizing effect on Ferrier and Servanin. The passage ends: “As if reinvigorated by the incredible spectacle they had just witnessed, they pushed their abilities and those of the car to the limit, throwing themselves even harder into the pursuit of victory.”
When it comes to watch brands explaining their choice of a salmon dial, that is certainly one of the more compelling accounts.
Price & Availability
While Laurent Ferrier has decided to immortalize these indelible memories of daybreak on the Le Mans circuit with the Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit, you don’t have to wear Nomex coveralls and a protective helmet to get the best out of it. As our hands-on pictures show, a tweed jacket and a pocket square will do the job just fine.