For some years already, the market of luxurious sports activities watches – perceive watches with built-in bracelets combining robustness and mechanical refinement – has been stronger than ever earlier than. We’ve seen new entries to the class, in just about all segments of the market, from accessible to ultra-high-end. Even indie watchmakers are embarking on the idea. And with the 2 fundamental icons (Nautilus and Royal Oak) being at turning factors of their careers, the pattern will not be going to cease. Nonetheless, there’s room for extra confidential watches, fashions with extra soul and keenness. And for that, we’ve the model new Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto, a time-and-date automated mannequin primarily based (however not solely) on the Grand Sport watch offered with a tourbillon a few years in the past.
The Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto isn’t the primary try of the model to enter the highly-competitive market of the posh sports activities watch. Two years in the past already, LF offered a watch that confirmed most attributes of the class, with an built-in design, a mixture of robustness and superior mechanics, and a moderately private contact to make this Grand Sport distinctive within the sports activities watch discipline. But, the manufacturing was extremely confidential and the worth, because the watch was geared up with a fancy tourbillon motion, was equally unique. Based mostly on the good reception this watch obtained when offered, the model now introduces a mannequin that feels much more related, with a less complicated (kind of) automated motion and a traditional time-and-date show. And if the look feels acquainted, the habillage has advanced too.
Behind the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto – as you’ve in all probability guessed by the title – is a narrative of a friendship and keenness for motorsport and watches. The model Laurent Ferrier was based by two long-time buddies; watch business skilled Laurent Ferrier on one aspect, François Servanin, entrepreneur and investor on the opposite aspect. The creation of the unbiased watchmaking firm is, nevertheless, simply one other step of their shared odyssey, which started subsequent to racing circuits. In June 1979, behind the wheel of a Porsche 935 Turbo, the 2 buddies will handle to complete third general, simply behind a sure Paul Newman, on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As a token of gratitude, Laurent provided Servanin a Patek Philippe Nautilus (do not forget that Ferrier spent greater than 35 years working at Patek). The reply of Servanin to this reward was the start line of the subsequent journey “What if after this feat, we continued the journey as a workforce by making our personal watch?!” And thirty years later, in 2009, the watchmaking model Laurent Ferrier was born. The brand new Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto is the place the friendship between the 2 males, in addition to their ardour for watches and sports activities vehicles, meet.
The brand new Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto
This new Sport Auto isn’t a completely unprecedented watch, as it’s constructed across the design launched by the Grand Sport Tourbillon of 2019. Nonetheless, there are quite a few updates to this new watch to make a much more related mannequin, not solely as a result of its value is a number of classes decrease, but additionally as a result of a fragile tourbillon motion with a double steadiness spring won’t be probably the most enough on this sporty context.
The form of the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto will probably be acquainted to recurring readers of MONOCHROME and to followers of Laurent Ferrier, for the straightforward motive that it’s mainly the identical because the Grand Sport. As such, it takes on the traditional codes of the posh sports activities class, with its barrel-shaped central case, an built-in bracelet and a raised, formed bezel on high. Nevertheless, Laurent Ferrier brings a moderately private contact right here, avoiding the traditional sharp traces and angular circumstances of the class, favouring a refined interaction of rounded curves. It feels sporty but far smoother than many of the rivals. Even the crown guards on the aspect of the case are built-in in a curved, very fluid approach. The aspect additionally exhibits the signature ball-shaped crown, which could not be to everybody’s style on this context.
This easy and curved profile, formed just like the aerodynamic bodywork of a quick automobile, creates the hyperlink with the remainder of Laurent Ferrier’s manufacturing, identified for his common use of fluid and rounded traces. This continues with the domed sapphire crystal on high. Opposite to the Grand Sport and its outsized case, the brand new Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto has been redesigned to be extra nice on the wrist. The case measures 41.5mm in width and 12.70mm in peak, and feels much more compact on the wrist – it gives the look of a 40mm case. And so as to add to the consolation, it’s fabricated from grade 5 titanium, making it comfortable and lightweight on the wrist. The case is completed with brushed surfaces throughout, highlighted by discreet polished accents on the perimeters. Because of a screw-down crown and screwed caseback, it gives a cushty water-resistance of 120 metres.
A luxurious sports activities watch wouldn’t be one with out its built-in bracelet and the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto is thus delivered on an identical grade 5 titanium bracelet, constructed round a 3-link structure. Similar to the case, the hyperlinks are curved and easy, bringing a really nice tactile really feel to the wrist. It’s closed by a triple folding clasp.
The dial of the brand new Sport Auto additionally brings again the design launched within the Grand Sport, but with delicate updates. The bottom depends on traditional codes of the style, with a darkish blue color. Its opaline, matte texture is right here mixed to a gradient impact, which mixes with the silver crosshair in the midst of the dial, creates a focus. It additionally depends on the model’s signature drop-shaped utilized markers and Assegai-shaped fingers. Each have been enlarged for the event and are executed in white gold, then stuffed with mild inexperienced Tremendous-LumiNova and mixed with a extra current minute monitor on the periphery. The show additionally features a snailed small seconds at 6 o’clock and, new for Laurent Ferrier, a date at 3 o’clock, built-in inside a bevelled window.
A brand new micro-rotor motion
What really issues with the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto is the introduction of a brand new automated motion, geared up with a micro-rotor (sounds acquainted perhaps…) and constructed across the concept to mix the model’s traditional mechanical refinement with extra robustness as a daily-wearable sports activities watch. As such, the bottom is well-known, being the calibre with micro-rotor and pure escapement discovered within the Galet, Montre Ecole and Sq. fashions. LF might have used the hand-wound motion discovered within the Origin watches too, however having a self-winding mechanism definitely feels extra applicable on this sports activities watch context.
The brand new Calibre LF270.01, designed, adorned, assembled internally, replaces the fascinating however comparatively delicate pure escapement with a traditional Swiss lever escapement, extra proof against shocks and vibrations. In the identical vein, if the motion retains the micro-rotor structure, the normal ratchet system has been changed by a unidirectional ball-bearing mechanism. Your complete self-winding system is solidly held in place by a transversal bridge to make sure stability and the oscillating weight is fabricated from 950 platinum, a dense materials, offering extra winding effectivity. When totally wound, this motion shops as much as 72 hours of energy reserve. The escapement beats at a contemporary 4Hz frequency.
Despite the fact that its structure has been barely simplified, this motion stays however a typical Laurent Ferrier calibre. And as such, it’s finely adorned by hand. The bridges are straight brushed and ruthenium-coated, offering nice distinction with the polished bevels, and the brass or silver-coloured cellular components of the motion. Defending the micro-rotor, the transversal bridge is meticulously adorned by hand, with a mirror-polished high floor and angles which are softened then completed with gentian wooden or diamantine. Beneath, the platinum micro-rotor exhibits a really distinctive ornament, with miniature literature in optimistic reduction, paying tribute to the motorsport previous of the model’s founders.
Whereas the earlier Grand Sport mannequin paved the way in which in a barely too extreme approach – too massive, too complicated, too unattainable – the brand new Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto looks like a really promising launch. Whereas the watch clearly depends on the codes of the class, it additionally brings a really private contact to the imaginative and prescient of the posh sports activities watch. Sure, the Sport Auto is a high-end sports activities watch and as such contrasts with the traditional, dressy design of the model. However additionally it is a Laurent Ferrier watch via and thru.
The execution, the case/bracelet (the usage of titanium makes it a pleasure to put on) and the motion are, objectively, all very spectacular. The design, being fairly private and bolder than the remainder of LF’s manufacturing, will definitely create stronger reactions. However this stays a extremely subjective subject. Relating to the query of value, at about 50k with taxes, the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto is definitely not low cost and surpasses many of the heavyweights within the luxurious sports activities watch class. However when you think about the present scarcity and the truth that this watch gives much more soul and keenness, in addition to a high-end motion, it turns into extra acceptable.
Availability & Value
The Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto Titanium/Blue (reference LCF040.T1.C1GC5) is launched as a part of the everlasting assortment and isn’t a restricted version. It’s priced at CHF 46,000 (excl. taxes). For extra particulars, please go to laurentferrier.ch.