Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1 Awarded “Men’s Complication Watch Prize” by the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG).

Hand Made 1 is awarded the  “Men’s Complication Watch Prize“ at the GPHG 

On 12 November 2020, the Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1 was awarded the prestigious “Men’s  Complication Watch Prize” by the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). 

With 95% of this timepiece – including the hairspring – made using only hand-operated tools, Hand Made 1  required an extraordinary 6,000 hours work, equal to three years man-hours for one single timepiece. This  timepiece, unique in the history of watchmaking, is the fruit of a technical and human endeavor of epic proportions,  enlisting extraordinary talents. Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey express their sincerest thanks to the GPHG  Jury and Academy for this distinction which rewards their work and that of their whole team, honoring hand  watchmaking and with it all our watchmaking heritage. 

An Extraordinary Challenge 

Greubel Forsey is well known for pushing back  boundaries in its research and creations to  accomplish what had never even been thought of  before. Throughout their training and careers, Robert  Greubel and Stephen Forsey have amassed extensive  experience of hand craftsmanship. Deeply attached  to these ancestral skills, the core of such a rich  irreplaceable watchmaking heritage, and determined  to pass on their know-how to future generations,  Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have gone to  unprecedented lengths by creating Hand Made 1, the first incarnation of this out-and-out approach. 

For Greubel Forsey, it’s not only about reviving ancient  techniques, forgotten gestures and skills. The aim is  to take these skills and know-how to a previously  unattained level of excellence and precision,  furthering them in the same spirit of constant  improvement that has always guided the Inventor  watchmakers. The goal is to resurrect the ancestral  art of hand craftsmanship and reinforce it with  standards of workmanship and precision rivaling  even modern production equipment. To fulfill this  exceptional challenge and reach micron-scale  accuracy using historical tools, the artisans must  obtain a precision that traditional machines  themselves cannot easily offer. They rely on “the  intelligence of the hand”, endlessly correcting minute  details to edge ever closer to perfection, achieve the  required quality and ensure perfect and flawless  operation. In this process, the time spent is of  secondary importance. 

A project of this scale could not be simply incorporated  within existing structures or even to just one or two  watchmakers. To complete this epic feat, Greubel Forsey had to build a team of the most skilled  craftsmen in each field, principally from its  workshops, as well as several external talents. This  true “family” worked together in complete harmony.

An Almost Unimaginable Feat 

Finally, an entirely handmade timepiece, from the  movement to the case, to the leather strap, the dial  and the hands –the only exceptions being the sapphire  crystals, the case gaskets, the spring-bars, the  jewels, and the mainspring. To achieve the 95%  handmade level with such a high standard of  excellence required an astronomical 6,000 hours, taking into account only the time to hand make one  single timepiece – and not counting the development  process. To obtain the 308 components of the Hand  Made 1 respecting Greubel Forsey criteria, over 800  parts had to be produced. It took almost 35 times  longer to produce the complete tourbillon cage than  for a standard high-end tourbillon. Finally, the  manufacturing time of a single wheel of the Hand  Made 1 is 600 times longer than that of a high-end  industrial wheel. 

Greubel Forsey’s attention to detail naturally includes  the performance of the timepiece. 

Here, Hand Made 1  displays unprecedented prowess for a hand-made  watch, its performance certified by Greubel Forsey. 

Hand Made Beauty 

In this unique endeavour of Greubel Forsey’s  handmade craftsmanship, each component has its  own development process and journey that makes it  unique, undergoing long hours of cutting from the  raw material guided only by the eye and the human  hand. The technical and aesthetic perfection of this  Hand Made 1 timepiece is immediately visible and  in true Greubel Forsey style, it attributes equal  importance to the invisible beauty of all the parts  concealed inside the case. The journey begins with  the regulating organ, entirely produced by hand in  Greubel Forsey’s workshops, including the balance  spring, fashioned from an alloy in the Atelier. The  balance wheel is also entirely hand-made with an  extraordinary standard of precision and finish. The  escape wheel, with its 20 individually-cut teeth, each  with four surfaces that are later ground, is a true tour  de force. Meanwhile the machining and finishes of  the escape lever alone require a month and a half  of work. 

All the movement’s components are of course then  hand finished true to the finest watchmaking tradition,  including the bridges with their polished inner and  outer vertical flanks, the unique “Gratté” mainplate, and the wheels with hand polished bevels top and  bottom. The open dial stands out with its hand enameled chapter rings, paired with elegant, finely  shaped flame-blued steel hands. Naturally, the 18k  white gold case is also, handmade, thanks to a pantograph mechanical lathe fitted with turning  tools, before being patiently satin-finished on the  sides and polished on the upper surfaces. Created as just two or three timepieces per year, the  Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1 is destined to become a  new watchmaking landmark that unites both past  and future.  

This new step towards the summit in the finest of  craftsmanship is signed on the dial at 6 o’clock, where the inscription HAND MADE replaces the usual SWISS MADE.

Greubel & Forsey is a powerhouse in the Swiss Made watch industry, dedication to their craft and designs that push the envelope of engineering.  

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Signing off,