If you’ve seen a white porcelain dial up close, you can attest to the warmth it projects. Maybe its the slight creamy hue of such dials, or their retro feel (porcelain-like enamel dials were often a feature of early pocket watches) that evokes such a reaction. And in most cases, genuine porcelain typically decorates something of high intrinsic value, serving to raise that estimation to the next level.
While Laurent Ferrier’s watches need no higher profile, last week the esteemed independent watchmaker decorated a limited-edition white gold Galet Square watch with a white porcelain dial. It’s Ferrier’s first time using such a dial for a Galet micro-rotor watch (he’s offered porcelain only with a few Classic collection tourbillon models in the past). The result here is magnificent.
You’ll recall that the Galet collection is Laurent Ferrier’s first, debuting in 2010 with round cases. The cushion-shaped Galet Square debuted five years later in 2015 with only blue or gold dials. Ten anthracite Breguet type numerals and a red number 12 give the new watch a more classical demeanor than those earlier Galet Square models. The Gold dots that denote the minutes, plus the four diamond-shaped gold markers at 3, 6, 9 and 12, are just as complicit as the white porcelain in altering the feel of this new dial.
As Laurrent Ferrier explains, the process of making porcelain watch dials is extremely complex. The dial discs are made by hand from kaolin (a hydrous aluminum silicate), fired at 2,550°F, and then coated with a layer of transparent enamel. The porcelain discs must be perfectly profiled to ensure a perfect fit inside the watch case.
The movement here is the same impressive self-winding FBN 229.01 caliber that powered the first Galet Square watches in 2015. The in-house movement is equipped with a unidirectional micro-rotor fitted with a silicon escapement and featuring a double direct impulse on the balance. This technology makes the movement highly efficient, reducing the amount of mechanical force required to wind the mainspring.
As you’d expect from Laurent Ferrier, the caliber is as beautifully finished as the dial. Alongside the Côtes de Genève motif on the bridges and the circular graining on the mainplate, Ferrier bevels the wheel spokes, chamfers and polishes the screw heads and hand-cuts and finishes all the interior angles. Price: $64,000.
Laurent Ferrier GALET Square Porcelain Limited Edition
Movement: FBN calibre 229.01, automatic winding with pawl-fitted micro-rotor, 72-Hour power reserve, micro-rotor (fixed between the main plate and the micro-rotor bridge), silicon escapement with double direct impulse on the balance, silent-block shock protection system for the micro-rotor, Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz),
Case: 41mm x 41mm x 11.10mm white gold, cushion-shaped, back bezel, numbered out of ten
Dial: Indications: hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock. Materials: White porcelain, anthracite nickel Breguet type numerals, white gold hands with black ruthenium treatment, assegai-shaped for the hours and minutes, baton-shaped for the seconds
Straps: Hand-sewn brown alligator, full skin square scale with scarlet alcanthara lining, and a tan calf strap with scarlet alcanthara lining, Ardillon pin buckle