Greubel Forsey Scores Big With The Balancier S²
The La Chaux-de-Fonds-based brand has released a pair of updates for its high-end, time-only sports watch, featuring a new choice of dial tones, a new titanium case and bezel, and a new bracelet option.
For the first decade of Greubel Forsey’s existence, it would have been rare to hear this most exclusive of brands described as a maker of sports watches. Indeed, for the first ten years after its founding in 2004, the brand built its reputation on crafting some of the most complicated and technical dress watches in the world with at least one tourbillon, unparalleled fine hand-finishing, and an assertive case.
Things started to change a little in 2015 when Greubel Forsey launched, at least nominally, its first-ever sports watch: the GMT Black with a black gold dial and black ADLC titanium case. But it is only within the last couple of years, with the release of the GMT Sport – first on a rubber strap, then with an integrated bracelet – and the simpler Balancier S, that the brand has begun laying down its credentials as a creator of sports watches in earnest.
These recent launches were not only characterized by their more casual strap or bracelet. They also used lighter, more high-tech materials for both the movement and the case – notably, Grade 5 titanium – and a more ergonomic, arch-shaped case design that was water-resistant up to 100m.
Earlier this week, Greubel Forsey doubled down on its sports watch offering by bringing out the Balancier S², a pair of updates on the original Balancier S launched in the summer of 2020. The new iterations, unveiled to coincide with the company’s participation at Dubai Watch Week, see the introduction of a new case design, new bracelet option, new choice of tones for the dial and movement, and a few other fresh design tweaks. And as an indication of the watchmaker’s hopes for the Balancier S², the brand is billing the watch as “the new Greubel Forsey flagship.”
The Balancier S
As mentioned, the original Balancier S – with the “S” standing for “sport”– is the comparatively simpler sibling of the GMT Sport. While the latter is a world-time tourbillon, the Balancier S “only” displays central hours and minutes, small seconds, and a 72-hour power reserve indicator as part of a multi-layered dial.
Equally visible on the Balancier S’s dial is the mainspring barrel, geartrain and bridge for the hour-minute hands, and 30°-inclined Greubel Forsey balance wheel. And upholding the company’s commitment to fine decoration, the stepped titanium dial plate is hand-frosted, as are the large movement bridges – punctuated by rubies driven into polished gold chatons – which are on-show through the display caseback.
Updated Dial Details of the Balancier S²
But you may be asking yourself: “So, how does the new Balancier S² differ from the original Balancier S?” The answer is that the differences are in the details, starting with the tone of the dial plate and bridges.
While the original was presented with only a light-gray finishing, the Balancier S² is available with either a light-gray or charcoal-gray dial and movement tones. The former produces a more monochromatic color scheme, while the latter makes the hour-minute hands and their V-shaped bridge pop.
The Balancier S had red, arrow-tipped hour-minute hands supported by a solid, two-tone bridge, plus two-dimensional, lacquered hour indices around the periphery. Whereas the Balancier S² has white lume-filled hour-minute hands and punchy 3-D baton hour indices also filled with white lume. Meanwhile, the bridge of the hour-minute hands is now monotone and skeletonized, creating a lighter feel to the dial.
The design of the visible mainspring barrel lid has also been updated by removing the Greubel Forsey logo, putting smaller text at its center, and including a contemporary pattern of concentric lines around the edge. The brand’s logo is now on the main dial between 12 and 2 o’clock, with a newly designed, arc-shaped power reserve indicator underneath it.
New Case, Bezel and Bracelet Option
The titanium case of the Balancier S² is a tad larger than its forerunner. The new caseband is 43.5mm in diameter instead of 43mm, and the bezel is 46.5mm rather than 45mm. But it is the change in the bezel’s design that is most noticeable: While the upper surface is still brushed, gone are the Greubel Forsey values lasered in relief into the bezel flank, which is now clear of any inscriptions and polished. It is a cleaner look and more coherent for a sports watch.
The Balancier S² comes on a brand-new, gray rubber strap bearing a woven texture, combined with a titanium folding clasp. Also available on demand is a new titanium bracelet with a three-row composition featuring frosted and satin-finished links, plus a folding clasp with a fine adjustment mechanism. Its design, and that of the bezel, is a carryover from the brand’s GMT Sport
The details that distinguish the Balancier S² from the original are subtle yet perceptible. And while the dial and bezel are less busy than before, the cleaner, airier, more monochromatic aesthetic arguably makes this pair of updates a more eye-catching proposition.
While showcasing the Balancier S² at Dubai Watch Week this week, Greubel Forsey CEO Antonio Calce told Watchonista: “The Balancier S² is part of a new price segment that is set to grow. With this creation, we have refined a number of elements to make a contemporary-looking timepiece. We have made the stepped bridges and small seconds stand out more. The hour indexes around the flange are now three-dimensional and more prominent. And we have played with polished, satin, and matte finishes on the movement and the case, which has been resized.”
Pricing & Availability
Only 88 pieces of the Balancier S² with a charcoal-gray finish will be made, broken down into 22 pieces per year from 2022 to 2025. For the edition with the light-gray finish, 64 pieces will be made, with 16 pieces per year delivered over the next four years. The price for either edition with a rubber strap is CHF 205,000, and on the titanium bracelet it is CHF 245,000.