The Greubel Forsey GMT Sport shows what a sports watch costing over $500k can really doThor Svaboe
The beautifully convex shape and mind-boggling complexity of the Greubel Forsey GMT Sport is one of the most extreme examples of a sports watch you’re likely to see. While undoubtedly tough, this is a creation from the atelier that questions the very existence of the luxury sports watch genre. After all, is anyone truly likely to put a watch that costs more than $500,000 USD through its paces? Fingers crossed that they do. This watch displays a dizzying level of craftmanship in ways that are functional as well as aesthetic.
Like MB&F with their EVO model, and the previous Greubel Forsey GMT Sport on its rubber strap, this is an example of the extreme edge of Haute Horlogerie. In a post-Covid twist, instead of offering us iced-out precious metal, this caters to a different sensibility. It’s for those of us that enjoy outdoor activities and travel with the mantra: life is too short for a plastic-strapped Garmin. Because I want to use my best watches for all activities,and maybe scratch them up a bit too. God knows they’re not meant to live in a humidity-controlled bank vault.
The new Greubel Forsey GMT Sport now combines this principle with an integrated bracelet. But this is anything but your run-of-the-mill three-link oyster-like bracelet, and it couldn’t be any other way from GF. To have any chance of being noticed, the bracelet needs to be earth-shakingly good, just as the dial itself is a knock-out for your senses. To me, this is right up there with the Streamliner from Moser in finding its own path, and it should be a path of enlightenment for those of you that don’t pay much attention to bracelet designs.
Make no mistake, the Greubel Forsey GMT Sport is not a slim watch, and I’m a known lover of more svelte wristwear. This, however, is special enough for me to wear only soft sleeve merino wool jumpers and t-shirts for months, while waiting for a tailor to remake all my shirts with cuffs large enough to fit this brash piece of wrist-engineering. As with its previous emergence, the GMT Sport is a bold presence, but seriously light, thanks to titanium, underlining its sporting intentions and with a serious hit of blue. The convex shape and sapphire is still both ergonomic and a testament to the micro-mechanic knowledge of GF. There is a reason most watches are flat despite our wrists being suspiciously curved, but this is a sports watch being made for the upper echelons of functionality, not down to a price, and it shows.
It shows in the no-cost spared bracelet design for one, the level of finishing a serious blow to the argument that titanium cannot be made as beautiful as 904 or 316L steel. The bracelet is integrated with what seems to be a micro-millimetre precision, and the finishing is, well, it takes some explanation. All outer links are bevelled, with a recessed centre. This is frosted, creating a distinct, elegant contrast to the hand-finished straight grain brush. It’s carried onto a wrap-around section on the case sides plus the sides of the upper three links. I would go as far as naming this bracelet of the year without batting an eyelid, such is the emotion that has gone into the design and execution.
The grade 5 wrist hugging case has a new cleaner bezel, its oblong shape with a brushed top and unequal bevelling width framing the dial. A dial which transcends the mere word, as the 33 collectors that will possess one of the new Greubel Forsey GMT Sports actually have a view to an entire micro city in blue, not a dial. Without starting what is possibly a thesis-length story on the intricate world within, there are enough layers, finishings and functions to allow you to get lost, to the point of forgetting what sports activity you were supposed to perform. The mainplate, bridges, hypnotising globe, second-time zone are all cast in the same deep blue finish. As if that wasn’t enough for your senses to take in, so is the delicate chapter ring surrounding the countersunk tourbillon 24 secondes at 1 o’clock. The polished elements and uber-tech of the smallest detail does perform a fascinating theatre within the 42mm case (45mm on the bezel), but also one of function with its easy-to-read time zones. You will just have to concentrate hard to focus on more than one detail at a time.
The second time zone at 10 o’clock, the power reserve at 3 and rotating terrestrial globe at 8 o’clock all struggle to compete with the dance of the tourbillon, and you just might be lucky enough to partake in the performance as they jostle for attention. The manufacture calibre has a sobering 435 components, 63 olive-domed jewels in gold chatons, and a hand-wound 72 hours of power reserve. The 15.7mm thickness, totalling 17.8mm with the curved, domed crystal is perfectly understandable.
If you are one of the 33 potential Greubel Forsey customers considering a new partner for your sports activities, bear in mind that it will take your focus away from the very same, so don’t expect to be at the top of your game while glancing at the Greubel Forsey GMT Sport. For the more physical sports, the lightness and comfort is also superb on the blue comfort of the rubber strap, so it is worth a serious consideration. Personally, I would have serious problems taking off the bracelet, of which the integration is so seamless as to give impression of being a structural, non optional part of the watch. And with what is surely one of the absolute top three bracelets available today, why would you?
The Greubel Forsey GMT Sport, price and availability:
The Greubel Forsey GMT Sport is CHF 52o,000 ex.tax on the titanium bracelet, and CHF 480,000 ex.tax on a blue rubber strap. For more details, visit Greubel Forsey