In my experience, beholding any Laurent Ferrier timepiece is like admiring a Best In Show classic car: you stop dead in your tracks when you see the sleek lines of the case and engine of a movement – powered by a guilloché or seashell patterned 18K gold micro-rotor. And just like imagining the rush you’d get from cruising the open road in a Mercedes-Benz Gullwing or Ralph Lauren’s 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic – you probably wonder how a Laurent Ferrier would feel on your wrist…
Unfortunately most of us can only live vicariously through images on Instagram or read watch reviews, as a Laurent Ferrier is seldom seen in the wild – not to mention a tad pricey to own. If you get the urge to test drive one, there’s only a handful of authorized dealers stateside – literally just five. One of those ADs is Swiss FineTiming Atelier Jewellers. Swiss FineTiming has been a Midwest institution for over 20 years, with two locations watch connoisseurs can visit: one on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile; the other in the suburb of Highland Park – a 30-minute drive north of the city.
The limited number of doors retailing Laurent Ferrier timepieces in the U.S. is a microcosm of the independent brand’s production strategy, which is low production in order to maintain the highest standards of craftsmanship. Laurent Ferrier is grateful for the support from business partners, enthusiasts, and collectors, especially in the United States. To recognize this market, Laurent Ferrier has manufactured – for the second time – a very-limited timepiece as a tribute to the USA – a Galet Traveller with an exquisite, hand-applied cloisonné champlevé dial featuring North America.
This special Limited Edition USA Enamel Dial has recently been delivered to select boutiques, including Swiss FineTiming, which has one of the 10 pieces.
If you’re a fan of Laurent Ferrier you’d agree every single collection is an exhibition of the finest in Swiss watchmaking tradition – with a modern flair. The first Ferrier timepiece I remember holding in the palm of my hand was the Galet Traveller World in rose gold, which has a vibrant cloisonné inlay most-appropriately displaying five of the seven continents.
Compared to the first U.S. tribute piece created in 2014 and the aforementioned Traveller World, this latest enamel dial novelty from Laurent Ferrier stands alone by virtue of its dial design. That is, the painting on the dial, which primarily depicts North America, expands across the entire dial vs. being compressed in a centered subsidiary dial à la cloisonné World-Timers from Patek Philippe. The use of the full breadth of the dial within the 41mm case captures the magnitude of land masses and surrounding bodies of water.
At first glance the dial appears to be the classic cloisonné variety, meaning the outline of the image is formed by carefully adhering thin strips of metal to the dial’s surface. However, according to Laurent Ferrier, the technique used to create this dial is know as cloisonné champlevé, which involves carving into the dial – leaving behind a relief of the outline. Both methods yield a blueprint for the artisan to fill in with enamel. The recessed areas inside the land borders are colored according to the climate and topography of the country, whereas outside the land boundaries – the oceans and seas – are colored with shades of blue to indicate varying depths.
Wearing this timepiece is like having a postcard strapped to your wrist: you can daydream about taking off from JFK or LAX en route to an old-world or exotic locale. Of course, since this is a travel watch, upon touchdown you can press the pusher at 8 o’clock or 10 o’clock to adjust for local time; moving the hour hand backward or forward respectively. Your home time will always be displayed in the aperture at 9 o’clock.
The Galet Traveler USA Enamel Dial must be seen in person. Only by trying it on and letting light dance off the dial will you begin to truly see the vivid color and delicate texturing of the enamel work.