Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by gregor
Master watchmaker Stephen Forsey talks about his source of inspiration and the Future Projects of Greubel Forsey
TheViennablog had the chance to meet master watchmaker Stephen Forsey for an exclusive Interview during his visit in Vienna at the Hübner Jewelry Store.
From the very start, Stephen talks about his passion for Mechanics as his grandfather was an engineer. Driven by his passion, he became head of the prestigious Watch Restauration department (Asprey’s) in London and in 1990 attended the WOSTEP School in Neuchatel. Stephen and Robert Greubel met at Renaud & Papi and in 2004 they founded Greubel Forsey.
TVB: How many pieces does Greubel Forsey produce a year?
Stephen Forsey: We have a team of around 100 people contributing to the creation of around 100 timepieces a year. All manufacturing is done in Switzerland.
TVB: How long is the delivery time of your exclusive watches?
Stephen Forsey: We usually start with a blank sheet of paper, upon which we formulate an idea of what we want to create. Because we operate to the highest standards in terms of craftsmanship, performance, reliability, hand decoration, and any other contributing factor in our process of creation, it usually takes several years for an idea to be realized in one of our timepieces. Having added a timepiece to our collection, it usually takes between 4 months and 1 year to build a model. The delivery time ends up being between 3 and 6 months on average.
TVB: Where are your clients from?
Stephen Forsey: Our clients are watch collectors from all over the world that appreciate the high quality and attention to detail that Greubel Forsey timepieces are famous for. Since it’s rare to find our timepieces in showcases anywhere in the world, we end up doing a lot of traveling to share our passion with collectors and to give them the opportunity to experience our work firsthand. We also have a number of visits to our Atelier throughout the year to share and inform our collectors about what we do. Every January, we present our new models at the SIHH in Geneva, where we meet with retailers and watch collectors, and where we take most of our orders.
TVB: You are well known in the industry for your great Innovations. Where do you get your creativity & inspiration from?
Stephen Forsey: Well despite all the watchmaking knowledge we have captured throughout the years, you really need to think outside the box when it comes to innovation. From the very beginning, Robert and I refused to believe that everything had already been invented in horology and every day we strive to push the envelope and find new ways to create the timepieces of our dreams. Taking it from there, our sources of inspiration can come from anywhere.
TVB: Can you disclose your future project to us?
Steven Forsey: One project that we’re currently working on in our EWT (Experimental Watch Technology) Laboratory is called Mechanical Nano. Our aim with Mechanical Nano is to free ourselves from the constraints of watchmaking’s biggest enemies: space and energy. In doing so, we are evolving into a completely different universe of the extremely small – but also into a unique chapter within the history of watchmaking. One that takes into consideration the use of new materials, tribological innovations, and innovations in the fixation of components and of assembly. Within this context, the possibility of having a watchmaker-engineer inhale a component is quite real.
TVB: How about individual customization of your watches?
Stephen Forsey: We are proud to have within our Atelier a Pièce Unique workshop with a team dedicated to creating truly unique pieces in terms of design and architecture. It’s not so many variations on a base caliber, since each of our calibers is unique, but rather it’s a form of significant personalization that isn’t bound by any predefined set of options. The Pièce Unique workshop is like a small universe within the larger universe that is Greubel Forsey.
We like to cater to our collectors’ wishes whenever possible and we strive to exceed expectations by taking even minor personalizations one step further. Such minor personalizations might include, for example, different dial colors for the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision or personalizations of the city’s disk for the GMT.
TVB: What are your thoughts about Vienna?
Stephen Forsey: Vienna has a fascinating heritage and history not only in culture, architecture, and music but also in watchmaking. I will make sure to find more time to embrace it on my future visits to Vienna.
TVB: Many thanks for your time.
We really enjoyed the time with Stephen and look forward to seeing the future innovations from Greubel Forsey soon.