What happens when one of your favourite movements becomes a bit more accessible? Independent watch brand Laurent Ferrier took us by surprise at Baselworld this year when it presented its first-ever collection in steel and consequently, most affordable watch to date: the “Galet Square”.

The term Galet, which is actually French for “pebble”, perfectly applies to this case: from the sides to the lugs, it’s all smooth curves. Measuring 41 x 41mm, it’s substantial for a cushion case but still elegant. The slightly domed sapphire crystal adds to the fluidity of the case, and overall you can see the familiar rounded lines it shares with the original Galet collection.



The Galet Square in steel comes in two different dials, a more minimalistic and modern satin brushed gold-tone dial with a sunburst pattern, and a vertically satin-brushed blue dial with a more classical appearance thanks to the more traditional number of applied hour markers. The slender spear-shaped hands are identical to those on other Laurent Ferrier models, as are the drop-shaped  markers.



The FBN 229.01 movement is also identical to the one in the original round Galet models that are made solely in precious metals. Instantly recognisable for its bridge-mounted micro-rotor and silicon escapement with double direct impulse on the balance, the movement is nothing short of breathtaking. What really impressed was that Laurent Ferrier didn’t skimp on the decoration in the least for these more accessible steel models. For example, they could have gone with a less labor-intensive satin finish for the bridges instead of the côtes de Genève stripes.

This pretty much proves that the Galet Square wasn’t intended as an entry-level model, but simply an alternative to the more traditional Galet. I say that because the devil’s advocate in me thinks it might be unfair to those who bought the original Galet pieces in gold and platinum to see more accessible editions of the movement out there. But hey, It’s not like Laurent Ferrier are trying to ramp up their annual production volume of less than 200 pieces by selling more affordable pieces in steel. To me at least exclusivity isn’t a concern here. And besides, for someone such as myself who doesn’t wear gold and can’t pay the premium for platinum, this is a very, very appealing package.




I’ll admit however that it took me a while to warm up to the cushion case. It’s not that I found it unappealing or uncomfortable, but rather unfitting for this kind of watch. Most cushion cases on the market aim for a retro look with clear historical inspiration. The Laurent Ferrier Galet Square feels somewhat contemporary as a whole (especially the gold dial), even though the singular elements are quite classical. But maybe it’s that more laid-back attitude of it that has me contemplating it more and more.


The Laurent Ferrier Galet Square in steel retails for $38,000 (US Dollars). A rose gold version with a chocolate dial also exists, with a price tag of $53,000.

More on www.laurentferrier.ch