Hands on review of the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square LE Antoine de Macedo
The Galet Square collection is my favorite within the Laurent Ferrier catalog. Introduced in 2015, it gave the brand the opportunity to use a steel case for the first time. I think this material is perfectly suited to this context. Indeed, the cushion-like "Galet Square" shape is particularly successful, embodying a chic yet casual style. One thing is for sure: when I discovered this case from every angle, I was surprised by its subtlety and complexity. However, this complexity is not felt. Everything seems fluid and natural. There is a real mastery at Laurent Ferrier in the design of cases and the Galet Square collection is a new demonstration of this.
Also in 2015, Laurent Ferrier presented a unique piece based on the same case shape for the Only Watch auction. The case was not exactly the same given the specific lugs, but this watch contributed greatly to the growing interest around the Galet Square collection. There was one component I really liked about this unique piece: the sector dial. I thought it was a perfect match for the case as both elements were very geometrically styled.
I am a big fan of what Laurent Ferrier has accomplished since the inception of the brand in 2009. In a short period of time, it has become a major player in the high-end watch segment, which is no small feat when you consider the competition, which consists mainly of prestigious houses. Laurent Ferrier, while remaining in a classical and refined atmosphere, offers a credible alternative to these houses by proposing very pure, timeless watches that are distinguished by superb movements both from a technical and decorative point of view. The dials perfectly embody this sober, uncluttered approach. They require careful observation to understand that the care that has been given to them meets the same high standards as for the movements. The fineness of the hands, indexes, numbers, the delicate integration of the windows make these dials very attractive. However, I personally have a taste for a more dynamic and demonstrative aesthetic and that is why I have always had a weakness for dials with complications (those of the Ecole Annual Calendar or the Classic Dual Time for example) or for dials with sectors. This explains why I liked the Only Watch so much... this combination between the Galet Square case and the lines and curves of the dial allowed me to reconcile elegance, style, classicism and originality. But here's the thing, as its name suggests, this watch was a unique piece.
Fortunately, in 2016, Laurent Ferrier unveiled a limited edition based on the Galet Square case made with a Chicago retailer. This watch offered a sector dial but different from the Only Watch dial because it featured numerals. In addition, the sectors of the dial and these numbers were applied which gave a touch of relief. The case had the straight lugs of the Only Watch but without the half-spheres positioned at their ends. I liked a lot this limited edition of ten pieces called "Galet Square Vintage America" and it has been followed by the version "Galet Square Walton Street" which celebrated the opening of another store of the retailer. In recent years, sector dials have become more important at Laurent Ferrier with the presentation of the "Boréal" models that reinterpreted them by making them luminescent.
Antoine de Macedo is a loyal partner of Laurent Ferrier and a strong supporter of the brand. This involvement has led to the release of several limited edition watches specially made with the Parisian retailer. The limited series that I like the most in this context is the one created from the Galet Square case. The Galet Square Antoine de Macedo is for me one of the nicest limited series from Laurent Ferrier. The sector dial is a real success. It incorporates several types of finishing causing different silver reflections. The numerals and sectors are positioned on the middle zone while the thin and discreet minute scale is in the peripheral zone. The most charming feature is the subtle integration of blue touches. It is not a flashy and tiring blue in the long run... Depending on the light conditions, the rendering of the numbers, hands, indexes goes from an intense blue to black. The dial gives off an atmosphere that is both retro and traditional, but with a hint of casualness that gives a much more contemporary look. Note that the hands, thin and slender, stand out darker than the other elements, which ensures excellent readability. The retailer's name is discreetly inserted above the sub-dial of the second hand. I would have preferred not to have this inscription, but it is hardly noticeable.
As mentioned earlier, the structure of this type of dial is ideally suited to the shape of the steel case. The case is built in several levels and I like the way the bezel sits on the middle part of the case. The dimensions of the case are indeed important (41mm x 41mm) but the opening of the dial remains limited and the lugs are short. In fact, despite this size, the watch remains portable on a modest wrist. The ball-shaped crown is easy to handle and brings a touch of character to the whole. It really makes you want to practice manual winding but this activity does not need to be daily since the movement is automatic.
The FBN 229.01 caliber that powers the Galet Square is indeed a movement that has a unidirectional micro-rotor featuring a ratchet system. This movement has a superb architecture. First of all, it generously occupies the case due to its own 31.6mm diameter. Second, I really like the position of the micro-rotor opposite the crown. The micro-rotor bridge is beautiful and the fact that it is vertical contributes to the successful aesthetic. The triangular and hollowed out shape of the balance bridge is also very pleasing. It ensures an optimal view on the regulating organ. This regulating organ is particular since it is a silicon escapement with a double direct impulse to the balance wheel. The power consumption being optimized, the power reserve reaches 3 days for a frequency of 3hz. The quality of the finishing is irreproachable and the micro rotor is itself well worked. On the other hand, I would have liked a more ambitious cutting of the main bridge and the gear train bridge with more pronounced angles. However, there is no real criticism of the whole and it is a real pleasure to observe this modern and optimized movement.
It is the same when putting the Galet Square Antoine de Macedo on your wrist. The shape of the case, its subtlety and fluidity bring charm to the whole. The style is slender as the thickness is 11.1mm. The seductive power of the dial also acts and I quickly appreciated the discreet bluish reflections of the numbers and hands. The cushion shape of the case may not be the most consensual, but that's exactly what makes the piece interesting. In any case, the case sits well and the limited size of the lugs allows the watch to be held firmly.
The selling price is 40,800 euros including VAT in France. Such an amount may seem excessive for a 3 hand watch in steel. But we have to look at it differently. First of all, it is a very small series since only 10 pieces are made. Then, there is the particularity of the dial. Moreover, the caliber FBN 229.01 (which is not specific to this watch) is a very high level movement whose technical content is superior to some equivalents equipping watches of the same segment. Finally, let's not forget that the steel makes the price more affordable compared to other models in the collection. In summary, the Galet Square Antoine de Macedo represents for me one of the best ways to enter the world of Laurent Ferrier. It is simply one of my favorite watches from the brand.
+ the classic and original case
+ the comfort on the wrist
+ the performance of the movement
+ the lay-out and the finishes of the movement
- the retailer's name inscription, admittedly discreet, on the dial