Geneva Watch Week 2014 - A Visit to the Laurent Ferrier Shop
Don Corson, January 2014
Laurent Ferrier is a young high-end brand based in Geneva. Laurent Ferrier is also a genial watchmaker with years of experience in the high-end watchmaking industry. The first watch of the Laurent Ferrier brand, a tourbillon, caused a sensation with its perfect classical case and dial design with movement design and finishing just as exquisite.
I used the Geneva Watch Week 2014 as an excuse to go and visit the Laurent Ferrier shop which is in the Geneva suburb Vernier. Laurent Ferrier has taken a conservative route for its starting years. They do the watch aesthetic and mechanical design in house, the parts manufacturing is done by local specialists, the movement and watch assembly is then again done in house to assure the best quality control.
Company founder Laurent Ferrier and his son Christian who is the head of the technical office and the designer of the movements.
My first stop on this visit was to the finishing and quality control department.
Here we can see the state in which the parts are delivered by the subcontractors, below, and above a finished part. As we can see, the tourbillon bridge is delivered with completely square profiles and rounded internal corners. The final part has pointed internal corners with polished bevels.
A small selection of tools, very fine files.
Prepolishing of the rounded beveling.
Here we see the kit of all the parts of a tourbillon movement.
Standard parts such as threaded inserts and jewels.
Here we see under the microscope the ratchet click before and after finishing.
The toubillons are mounted on this bench.
Mounting the toubillon cage.
Now the movement is mounted in the case.
Now let us move to the assembly of the micro-rotor movement.
The parts are all cleaned once more before assembly.
A completed and cased movement on the timing machine.
Here we see the parts of the double impulse escapement including the anchor in silicon. This escapement design, originally developed by Breguet, seems to be popular these days. In the Ferrier solution the two escape wheels have two levels and are made in LIGA technology. Others such as Kari Voutilainen also using this escapement are using more traditional solutions.
Let's follow some of the micro-rotor assembly.
On the way to the technical office we pass the "trophy corner", the awards that LF has received.
In the technical office Laurent Ferrier's son Christian is in charge. He has done all the mechanical design of the movements and watches. But there is more work than just that. Production drawings allow the subcontractors to program and control their work...
assembly drawings allow the watchmakers to correctly assemble the pieces...
and oiling diagrams define the lubrication for assembly and SAV.
Some images of the finished watches, micro-rotor and tourbillon.
Some of the dial possibilities for bespoke watches.
Laurent Ferrier with a 2x size wax model of one of his watches.
I would like to than Laurent Ferrier and his team for their friendly welcome at their shop and the frank discussion.
This message has been edited by DonCorson on 2014-01-26 23:06:51