For those of you who, like myself, have been fortunate enough to know someone starting on their watchmaking training, the graduation ‘school watch’ that s/he puts together is a significant event. It marks the point at which they feel a justifiably huge sense of achievement, and for Mr. Laurent Ferrier, was a moment that he has not forgotten, as 2017 sees a new model created as a tribute to his own ‘montre école’ watch.
Although nowadays the school watch is a wrist watch, they were traditionally pocket watches, and this history has influenced the new case for the Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro Rotor ‘Montre École’, which also comes with a new dial.
Where the pocket watch influence is most pronounced is in the case, both visually and in a tactile sense.
It is 40mm (10.95mm thick), comes in white gold, red gold or stainless steel, and is a remarkably smooth and pebble-like (as per the name) three-piece ‘bassiné case’ with two satin bands. A combination of matte and polished surfaces, it is all curves, with no sharp lines at all.
There is a two-tone dial for the gold versions, silver toned vertical satin brushed finish for the centre and circular satin brushed finish for the outer dial. The dial is spartan in its decoration. The central section a dark silver with a vertical satin-brushed finish in a dark silver, with a minute track that has a contrasting circular-brushed finish. The small seconds sub dial is similar stark, with just the use of two contrasting finishes – snailing in the centre and a sandblasted outer area. The Assegai-shaped hands are white gold hands.
The stainless steel version has a dark silver-toned vertical satin-brushed finish.
It’s an interesting exercise in contrasts : a watch whose dial aesthetics are meant to reflect the almost prototype-like nature of a school watch but finished to incredibly high Laurent Ferrier standards and available in white gold and red gold. The metal of the numerals matches that of the case material.
Inside is the automatic FBN Calibre 229.01 with the well known Laurent Ferrier micro-rotor fixed between the main plate and micro-rotor bridge (which has a shock protector system), and a 72-hour power reserve. The finishing on the gold versions is the same as that already seen on their Micro Rotor models, but the Montre École stainless steel model offers something different – a more basic micro rotor decoration, intended to be a nod to how ‘basic’ school watches tend to be finishing wise, and also the use of brass, which is again a vintage pocket watch nod. The movement is hand-finished with the use of shot-blasting and mirror polishing. The frequency is 21,600 VPH.
The white and red gold versions come on a brown alligator strap and the stainless steel, on a silver coloured alligator strap.
The RRP for the white gold and rose gold models is CHF 45,000 and for the stainless steel version, CHF 35,000.