Since the inception of Laurent Ferrier, the manufacture has kept a pretty conservative approach to their design language. This was very much the case with the Galet Classic and Micro-Rotor, with its rounded, bevel free case, smooth thin lugs and onion shaped crown which became emblematic of the manufacture’s understated elegance. It took a whole five years, but eventually an entirely new case shape was introduced in the form of the Galet Square featuring a pebble shaped case. Despite this, many of the subtle design cues were maintained, mainly in the fluid form that its predecessors possessed, further reinforcing the vision and philosophy of Laurent Ferrier.
This year, at SIHH, Laurent Ferrier unveiled a brand new line, called the Montre École, which translates to ‘school watch’ and though new in design, it is no different from the rest, in keeping with the brand’s core philosophy.
The story of the Montre École pays tribute to watchmakers as artisans and protectors of traditional watchmaking, something that Laurent Ferrier, man and manufacture, is certainly representative of. In watchmaking school, every watchmaker has to make what is called, their ‘school piece’, which becomes the first whole watch they ever make. Surrounded in a very emotional context, it represents a sort of ritual of initiation for each watchmaker as they enter into the world of horology. Philippe Dufour himself talks of his montre école, and how putting the crown wheel and ratchet wheel together on the bridge and seeing them mesh together for the first time as just ‘magic’.
With the Laurent Ferrier Montre École, the design reflects this tribute, where the watch comes in a new rounded case representative of a converted pocket watch, reminiscent of what pioneering watchmakers used to do. The 40mm symmetrical bassiné case comes with thin straight lugs with traditional ‘pastille’ end pieces that is detached from the case shape, as supposed to the more characteristic smooth connected lugs we have become used to.
While the form has changed, the dial layout remains quintessentially LF, with the beautiful spear hands and simple painted indexes. The dial, is a two-tone vertical satin-brushed finish in a dark silver hue creating a great depth to the overall look.
There is a reason the strong move slow. Some may call Laurent Ferrier conservative, and sure it is, but I don’t believe it does the manufacture justice. It is no coincidence that they have established such a strong and recognisable design language today as a result of this.
The Laurent Ferrier Montre École is available in steel, red-gold and platinum on request. The steel version is priced at 35,000 Swiss Francs and 45,000 Swiss Francs in gold. For more information on the new Montre École, visit the official Laurent Ferrier website.