Greubel Forsey Jumps Out Of A Helicopter To Launch Its GMT Sport
How do you make a splash during a week packed with world records and groundbreaking new timepieces? Having your Head of Marketing and Communications jump out of a helicopter should do the trick.
Greubel Forsey is known for its ultra-complicated, impeccably finished, and very expensive timepieces. And while many of its watches have had an avant-garde, contemporary design, they aren’t what you would call sporty. But as part of a new brand strategy, Greubel Forsey debuted a new GMT watch on a titanium bracelet at Watches & Wonders 2021 by jumping out of a helicopter.
Introducing the Greubel Forsey GMT Sport
The GMT first debuted in 2011, but this year, it’s gotten a bit of a makeover. Now, Greubel Forsey debuts a “sporty” look with the GMT Sport on an integrated Grade 5 titanium bracelet – the first metal bracelet the brand has ever produced – that weighs just over 60 grams. Titanium is, of course, very sturdy and durable, making it the perfect choice for this sporty model. And to keep the watch on your wrist as securely as possible, it has a quick adjustment system so you can adjust it by a few millimeters for the perfect fit.
It also has a new bezel with hand-finished horizontal straight-graining on top and smooth polished sides. The contrast in finishing is beautiful, and the bracelet also mixes different finishes, including straight-graining, frosting, and hand-polished beveling.
The bright blue dial contains a wealth of information and also displays some of the movement. The eye immediately goes to the openworked suspended arched bridge and gear train and the 24-second tourbillon.
It still has a large titanium globe that rotates in real-time and enables you to tell the time anywhere in the world at a glance. There’s a 24-hour sapphire ring surrounding the miniature Earth that also serves as a day/night indicator with light and dark backdrops. If you need to know the precise time somewhere, the back of the watch has a swirling display of all 24 time zones, including both daylight savings and Universal (UTC) time – an impressive feat.
Additionally, the second time zone, displayed at 10 o’clock, can be set easily with a pusher on the side engraved with the word GMT. The 72-hour power-reserve indicator is at 3 o’clock. Finally, the curved hour and minute hands are suspended over all of these features and required a special design to fit in the domed watch.
Then, to drive home the point that this new watch can handle an active lifestyle, Greubel Forsey did something completely unexpected. With a soundtrack worthy of a hotly anticipated action movie playing in the background, Michel Nydegger, Head of Marketing and Communications at Greubel Forsey, took to the skies around the Jura mountains in Switzerland aboard a helicopter. And while wearing the new GMT sport, he proved its mettle by skydiving out of the aircraft and landing elegantly in front of the Greubel Forsey manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
We must admit it’s the first time Watchonista has seen anything of the sort for a watch launch (and we hope he got a raise, or at least hazard pay). And later, Greubel Forsey CEO and Executive Board Member Antonio Calce told Watchonista, “Over the past couple of months, Robert Greubel and I have defined a new product strategy, distribution strategy, and communications strategy for the brand, all of which go hand in hand. So it was time to put it in action!”
A Bold Strategy for the Future
Calce’s appointment as CEO last year marked a new chapter for Greubel Forsey. The marque is known for its high-horology timepieces with rare and difficult complications, including the Grande Sonnerie, QP à Équation, and Hand Made timepieces. However, it will be reducing the number of unique pieces it creates each year from eight to three to keep them limited and exclusive.
It will also be reinterpreting some of its unique calibers. Greubel Forsey has introduced 30 calibers since it launched, and many were and still are positively groundbreaking and mindboggling. So, instead of constantly pushing for something new at the expense of making calibers that took years to develop obsolete, Greubel Forsey will reinterpret the timepieces with new looks and refine an existing movement wherever possible.
At the same time, the brand is focusing on a less expensive (for Greubel Forsey) 200,000-350,000 CHF range and has planned four launches for next year. This aggressive growth strategy will bring new clients to the company and introduce more Greubel Forsey watches to the real world on real wrists. This doesn’t mean they’ll be dramatically increasing production – the GMT Sport is limited to just 33 pieces.
Whether the brand will launch these new releases by jumping out of a helicopter, only time can tell, but the bar has been set pretty high.
(Images © Greubel Forsey)