Watches: A new candidate for Best Superwatch of 2019

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 24, 2019.

The Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon GMT. Photos by Hodinkee

It is a mega watch with two double tourbillons, two time zones

It has a universal time display/world time function via a miniature globe.

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The Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon GMT looked and sounded like a new candidate for Best Superwatch of 2019 on the basis of the specifications and press release alone. And in person, it is overwhelming. We had a chance to look at it in the metal and talk about the evolution of the GMT complication at Greubel Forsey, with co-founder Stephen Forsey in Basel last week, and it is an extraordinary and I think necessarily divisive watch. Yes, it is absolutely over the top in terms of design, and in terms of price, but it is also over the top intentionally — a mega watch with two double tourbillons, two time zones, a universal time display/world time function via a miniature globe, and more traditional labour-intensive fine finishing that you would find in 10 vintage observatory tourbillon pocket watches put together, is an inherently expensive proposition.

And yet of its kind, it is also an odd sort of value proposition — like the Credor Eichi and Eichi II, it exists in a class which is both defined by, and consists of, only Greubel Forsey. If you are fascinated by watchmaking as an art form, as well as by watchmaking as an obsessive investigation into fundamental problems in chronometry, there really is not anything like the watchmaking at Greubel Forsey. I cannot even remotely afford watchmaking at this level but I cannot afford one of Monet’s Water Lilies either, and I am glad both exist and that I can see them. The only problem with considering watches like this as a form of art (for which I think an argument can be made) is that you cannot see them in a museum and I think it would be a wonderful thing if there were a museum of watchmaking that included both vintage and modern pieces like this — seeing a Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon GMT in the metal, on extended loan from a patron of the horological arts, would be mighty fine. — Bloomberg