GREUBEL FORSEY BALANCIER CONTEMPORAIN offers three styles, two gem-set styles and a white gold unadorned version. Every face of the timepiece shines with the brilliance of the clock. In short, the fascinating aesthetic is combined with perfect surface treatment and excellent mechanical properties.

In the rare world of fine watches, the watchmaking industry has continued centuries of purist traditions. Some companies have been operating for two or three hundred years. History often gives legitimacy and implies a certain degree of expertise. However, sometimes some practitioners of advanced watchmaking abandon this recognized wisdom.

Greubel Forsey was founded in 2004 by Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey. Based in the suburbs of La Chaux-de-Fonds, the watchmaking capital of Switzerland, this relatively young Maison has earned a reputation for meeting the needs of the most discerning drinkers.

This respected company is famous for its tourbillon. However, Greubel Forsey not only copied the 1801 invention of Breguet (Breguet), but also conceived a clever adaptation of the “whirlwind” that dreams demand. For example, the double tourbillon 30° includes two cages that rotate at different speeds and are positioned at different angles. This “invention” provides excellent accuracy and averages position errors due to gravity. This proprietary technology has been used in models of multiple brands.

Double tourbillon 30°

Despite the originality of the 30°Double Tourbillon, Greubel Forsey has never wavered and is constantly seeking innovation. As the name suggests, four tourbillons use four tourbillons connected to a spherical differential. The system gives “accurate and reliable timing rates, especially in stable positions”. The quadruple tourbillon is Maison’s second invention.

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Quadruple Tourbillon

Innovation is at the core of the Greubel Forsey paradigm. This aggressive company has planned a total of seven inventions. It has provided solutions to problems that almost nobody wants to ask. However, the answers provided have been recognized by industry insiders. This brand’s relentless pursuit of perfection is extraordinary.


I often write articles about high-end watches and am amazed. I especially like hand-beveled bridges. The purpose of chamfering or polishing is to form a 45° angle between the bridge deck and its sides. The best example of this technique shows that the bevel width does not fluctuate or change. In addition, the chamfered edges present a bright sheen, which is in sharp contrast to the adjacent surface.

The most challenging type of surface treatment to be achieved by finisseur is black polishing (sometimes called “mirror polishing” or “mirror polishing”). This mirror-like finish can almost become black at some angles, and white at other angles. Black polishing can capture light and provide excellent contrast. Generally, this type of surface treatment is achieved using tinplate and fine diamond paste. The final finish should be perfectly smooth and flawless.

Although Greubel Forsey may not be the oldest brand, its youth has nothing to do with its expertise. I can say clearly that I think Greubel Forsey is the best representative of the financial industry.

My favorite Greubel Forsey model so far

Over the years, I checked various Greubel Forsey discount watches and temporarily placed them on my wrist, keeping in mind the coveted cost. Some examples I like, completely follow the original aesthetics, technical virtues and unparalleled decoration. On the contrary, the appearance of some watches is not what I like. However, regardless of the style of the model, there is always mechanical accuracy and completeness. Quite simply, watchmaking is no better than this.

At the 2019 Geneva International Watch and Jewellery Show (SIHH), the Swiss company launched a new watch, Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain. The model is housed in a medium-sized gold case and offers three variants, one is the unmodified version and the other is two models with gemstones. Normally, I avoid a gem-set watch, but when the platinum version is attached to my wrist, I immediately succumb to its charm.


Although many dials are flat, in addition to prominent time scales, Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain also uses a three-dimensional structure. The countless levels of clocks and watches have given people great interest.

The hours and minutes are displayed on the eccentric dial at 3 o’clock. This multi-layer gold dial is set with mother-of-pearl and decorated with small polished beveled circles. An opening between 6 o’clock and 8 o’clock allows you to see the balance more clearly.

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The power reserve indicator is located on the frosted surface directly below the hours and minutes display. A soft hand moves along the curved track above the neat scale. When both barrels have been wound, the movement can run automatically for 72 hours (chronograph power reserve – see below). The mirror-polished scale of the power reserve reflects the beautiful light of the engraved spring barrel nearby.

At noon, a gold watch nail sits in a polished sink, adhering to superb watchmaking craftsmanship. The smaller taper shank is located nearby, almost hidden by the hour and minute display above.

The small second hand is displayed at a position lower than the power reserve indicator. The dial of the small second hand is mother-of-pearl, blending pure black brushstrokes. Similar to the main hours and minutes display, the small seconds display shows polished beveled small circles.

Note the hollow dial and mirror finish below the balance wheel.

The last stage acts as the host for the large balance wheel and its supporting bridge. The bridge has hand polished bevels and holes, light black polished and straight grained sides. On the undecorated model, the balance bridge and escapement are located on the vast mirror-polished sea surface, making the scene of the balance wheel swinging back and forth clear and bright. The frosted effect of the gem-set version is lower than the balance and no black polishing is required.

The decision to create a multi-level dial inherited the noble design language of Greubel Forsey. It abandons the flat appearance of many dials, but adopts a sculptural appearance, and is filled with many layers, textures and surface treatments. This method does increase the depth of the head, but its final thickness of 12.25mm is not puzzling.


After adding gems, the diameter of Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain has increased by 2 mm (the diameter of the gem-set version is 41.6 mm). The difference is that the Swiss brand chose to use a larger case to set gems, thus leaving more space on the bezel to accommodate diamonds. In some companies, the so-called “bean counter” will say “economy of scale” and insist that “one size fits all methods.” Fortunately, Greubel Forsey does not approve of this cynical watch production method.

This model represents a new chapter in the history of the brand. To date, all models are larger and may alienate some potential buyers. I suggest that the undecorated version with a diameter of 39.6mm actually fits all wrists.

What makes this watch so good is that despite its moderate size, the design still uses the three-dimensional dial structure that the Swiss company is famous for, and it shows the adjustment mechanism in all the bare brilliance.

Greubel Forsey swiss offers white gold Balancier Contemporain for unmodified and gem-set variants. In addition, this gem-set watch also offers 18 carats of 5N rose gold. The gem-set case is decorated with 232 baguette-cut diamonds (a total of 9.58 carats). Everything exudes effervescent beauty.

Some gem-set watches may look ostentatious, but for Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain, there is no such criticism. Indeed, the model of superb watchmaking is impeccable and the model of taste.

The back of the case is domed sapphire crystal glass. The bottom cover under the dome is engraved with engraved lettering, which is presented in relief. These words are called “Greubel Forsey Key Values” and are embellished with black polish. The center of the bottom cover is a red and gold plate with the Maison logo. Three gold cases are inlaid with rugby-shaped jewelry. The highly polished countersink highlights the color of ruby.


The manual winding movement is composed of 255 parts, 33 of which are jewelry. The diameter of the movement is 32.4mm and the thickness is 9.2mm.

Two “fast rotating barrels (1 turn in 3.2 hours)” connected in series have a 72-hour timekeeping function. The watch will continue to run after the above 72 hours, although its accuracy will be reduced. I chatted with Stephen Fawsey and asked if he had considered a shutdown, which caused the watch to stall after 72 hours of operation. Stephen explained to me that the space inside the case is too small to accommodate this function, and inevitably, the addition of a stop device will result in a higher selling price. I feel unable to refute these compelling arguments.

One of the barrels is equipped with “sliding springs to avoid excessive tension”.

A balance equipped with a simple index adjuster (racket) will clamp the balance spring. Moving the index adjuster can increase/decrease the effective length of the hairspring, thereby changing the swing amplitude accordingly. However, the problem with this method is that the hairspring cannot breathe concentrically, thereby reducing accuracy.

Greubel Forsey has equipped Balancier Contemporain with a variable inertial balance wheel. Adjust the speed by tightening or loosening the screws on the rim of the balance. These heavier screws affect the moment of inertia and the speed by default. In this case, the balance wheel is equipped with six golden usual screws on the inside. By fixing the screws on the board, air turbulence can be reduced and accuracy can be improved. The frequency of the balance is 21,600 VpH (3 Hz).

The hairspring is secured by shiny bolts in Geneva style. The hairspring has a Phillips end curve. By increasing the final coil of the hairspring, the concentricity of the spring is enhanced, thereby contributing to accuracy.

The internal balance is paired with the brand’s own balance spring. This is amazing because the company only produces 100 timepieces per year, so the cost of each spring must be many times higher than using the fixed pin option. However, although Greubel Forsey could have obtained a cheap helix from Nivarox and others, it was still very independent and apparently wanted complete control of the balance wheel and hairspring. This is just one of several examples of the correctness of the brand’s watches.

Greubel Forsey has equipped Balancier Contemporain Balancier Contemporain with a “stop balance” system, which allows the wearer to easily time and synchronize with the reference clock.

Behind the sturdy bottom cover is an impeccable cornucopia. The list of finishing techniques is long, including matte, specks, chamfers, polished countersinks, straight lines and the brand’s favorite fetish, black polish. The bridge and plate are treated with nickel-palladium. Despite not seeing many craftsmanship, it still has an unwavering technical beauty.

The dial of Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain is very practical. The thick lan hour and minute hands indicate the current time with a clear loudness. But despite its impressive readability, it cannot escape the deep beauty of the dial.

Frosting gives the dial a magnificent appearance. The three-dimensional layered dial composition further enhances the attractiveness of the model. Nonetheless, all these discussions reminded me of the large balance wheel at the bottom of the dial and the perfect bridge to hold it in place. Almost no other scene can rotate back and forth beyond the balance wheel, the hairspring breathing and the balance bridge sparkling.

Despite the technical complexity and the use of a three-dimensional dial structure, Greubel Forsey has meticulously produced moderately resistant watches with high wear resistance. The gem-set version is slightly larger, but it should not overwhelm most wrists. My preferred model is an 18-carat white gold gem-set version set with beautiful, invisible baguette diamonds.

The movement incorporates many watchmaking technologies and is the core of Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain. Its composition is the result of long-term consideration. No matter where the eyes stay, they will be perfect. For example, the noble manual retouching seen on Greubel Forsey watches takes about four months to complete. Indeed, if you look closely, you will find that some examples of “manual finishing” cannot be achieved by the “mechanical finishing” method.

In the end, Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain’s brilliance cannot be overstated. So far, this is my favorite Greubel Forsey. Nevertheless, with creativity and innovative spirit at the core of its culture, I hope there will be more Greubel Forsey watch luxury in the future, which will increase my heart rate and attract my soul.

Technical index

Model: Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain (Gemstone Inlay Model)
Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 41.6mm; height 12.25mm; waterproof 3ATM (30 meters); sapphire crystal glass front and bottom cover
Functions: hours; minutes; small seconds and power reserve
Movement: H and winding meter ovement; Frequency 21,600 VpH (3Hz); 33 jewels; Chronograph Power reserve 72 hours; 255 components
Strap: Alligator or rubber strap with 18-carat white gold pin buckle
Also available in 18 carat rose gold
Model: Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain (undecorated model)
Case: 18 carats white gold; diameter 39.6mm; height 12.21mm; waterproof 3ATM (30 meters); sapphire crystal glass front and bottom cover
Functions: hours; minutes; small seconds and power reserve
Movement: H and winding meter ovement; Frequency 21,600 VpH (3Hz); 33 jewels; Chronograph Power reserve 72 hours; 255 components
Strap: Alligator leather strap with 18 carat white gold pin buckle