Laurent Ferrier designs a new rectangular watch to form the third line – the first being the classical round shape, the second the Galet (pebble in French) and here a rectangular shape which he calls the Bridge. Named after the “Passerelle de l’Ile”, a very famous bridge in Geneva, on which Laurent Ferrier had a breath-taking view from his room when he was a child. So here we present out hands-on review of the Laurent Ferrier Bridge One.
Laurent Ferrier Bridge One
Attempting a rectangular cased watch is usually only left to the brave. Most non-round watches, with a few exceptions do not do as well as their round counterparts. A notable exception is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, which also boast of the clever flipping mechanism to allow the watch to present a solid case back capable of taking an engraving, or another dial for a dual time complication. And the Curvex shapes of the Franck Mullers and Richard Milles (non form movements, they use round movements which is a shame). We feel that even the Patek Philippe Gondolo is less desired than her round cased brethren, though the original Twenty-Four, albeit for the ladies.
So for a young-ish independent brand like Laurent Ferrier to launch a rectangular watch with a form movement, we say Bravo! And is perhaps testament to the purist nature of Mr. Ferrier himself to pursue design goals ahead of commercial ones.
The case, dial and hands
As mentioned, the Bridge One is a nominally rectangular case. However, the case design is rather more interesting than just an angular design. The case seem to be a massive single piece affair with a large, curvaceous case middle swooping to envelope the bezel, making sensuous lines to an equally curvaceous lug. We find this aesthetic to be truly beautiful.
From the side, the entire case upper is curved, and fitted with a spherical sapphire crystal. The crystal is cut from a spherical glass globe, and forms a beautiful window to the dial. The look is very pleasing to the eye, and reminiscent of the bridge which Ferrier drew his inspiration from. The case is in stainless steel, a material Ferrier says he chose to represent the engineering aspect of the bridge. The crown is shaped like a ball bearing provides a nice finishing touch.
Two dial options are offered. One in white grand feu enamel, which is our pick in this review, and another in a galvanized slate grey. The markers are transfer printed black enamel, and designed in an elongated shape which accentuates the sleekness of the dial. Roman numerals are used for only the 12 and 6 markers, the others are a kind of stick markers which look like the Roman Numeral “I”. The slate grey dial is offered with an applied XII marker at 12 o’clock and a sub-dial for a small seconds hand at 6.
Overall, we love the case design and the flow from the shape into the very classical dial layout. The entire ensemble has a very elegant and high end feel.
The movement: LF107.01
Laurent Ferrier needed a new caliber as the watch was to be a form movement in a rectangular case. The watch is a manual wind movement, with a standard escapement offering 80 hours of power reserve. The movement beats at 21,600 bph and comprise of 137 components. The movement measures 22.20x30mm with a thickness of 4.35mm.
The movement is beautifully finished, with nice Côtes de Genève which is plated with rhuthenium, giving it that the dark almost brooding look. The rest of the movement is also well done, from the polished countersinks for the jewels to the notable addition of a number of sharp inward and outward angles on the bridges. Anglage is nicely done, and gleams in the light, making it very pleasing to gaze and stare at the Bridge’s sapphire case back.
Overall, the movement finish is very good, and worthy of the status afforded by the Laurent Ferrier image.
The competitive landscape
Rectangular watches are not as common or as popular as round ones. While many maisons try and offer one as a variation, most do not do as well as their round cousins. Perhaps the only one against the grain is the JLC Reverso, which, in our estimation is more popular than the Master Control round watches. Other maisons like Lange once offered the Cabaret as a rectangular case with form movement, but discontinued that. Even their ladies Arkade, which also offered a rectangular shaped case with rounded top and bottom and a form movement following the case shape is discontinued. And many other rectangular watches are merely powered by round movements, which to us defeats the purpose and the inherent beauty of the form. Somewhat.
So we begin with the various Jaeger-LeCoultre Reversos also are a good comparison. For reference, we use the JLC Reverso Tribute Duo (S$17,600 in SS case) as an example. Of course, the Reverso adds a second timezone and the clever slide mechanism to be able to present both dials to the user.
Patek Philippe Gondolo Ref. 5124G (S$35,900 in yellow gold) is in more regularly shaped rectangular case where the bezel extends into the lugs, and the case middle bulges out from the sides. An aesthetic which we do not find appealing. I much prefer the look of the earlier Ref. 5100 like this one which was auctioned by Christies‘ in December 2010.
So at CHF 37,000, the Laurent Ferrier Bridge is somewhat more expensive than the other offerings in the market for a rectangular shaped watch with a form movement. But it is the only one to offer an grand feu enamel dial, which is the version we will pick. And perhaps, arguably, the one with the most pleasing aesthetic.
We love the bold sensuous design of the case. The sweeping lines which form the front of the case is magnificent, and reminiscent of the graceful lines of the watches from yesteryear. The movement, being a new development in an form rectangular shape is a great feature. The finishing on the watch, from the case, dial, hands to the critical movement is immaculate, and stands up to close scrutiny.
On the wrist, it feels comfortable as the curvaceous nature of the design affords a nice wrap around the wrist.