Greubel Forsey’s Balancier Contemporain Might Be Its Most Versatile Timepiece Yet

The watchmaker managed to shrink its high-level watchmaking into just 39.6 mm.

You may have noticed that watches are shrinking. Makers have been toning down the diameter and thickness of their timepieces in recent years—it’s as much a reaction to the changing face of their clientele as it is a shift in taste toward vintage models (which by today’s standards are relatively petite). But it still came as a surprise in January when Greubel Forsey, a longtime maker of heavy wrist artillery, introduced its 39.6 mm by 12.21 mm Balancier Contemporain (around £161,250)—its smallest timepiece to date.

Partners Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have long been known among collectors for their skilled design and technical expertise. It takes a lot of watch to house the kind of complications they champion, and the result has often been extra-large cases that look fit for Goliath. By contrast, the Balancier Contemporain, which is limited to just 33 pieces, is scaled quite nicely for mere mortals. Still, it’s a hefty investment for a time-only watch. (Beyond indicators for hours, minutes, and a small sub-dial for seconds, it has a 72-hour power reserve indicator.) But the Balancier Contemporain does size up to be a much more approachable option for collectors looking to get their hands on one of Greubel Forsey’s standout timepieces without dropping seven figures—or weighing down their wrists.


The small yet mighty Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain. Courtesy of Greubel Forsey.

More Watch Collector