Greubel Forsey Signature 1 - Didier Cretin - Steel



Stainless steel | Black-anthracite gold dial


When independent watchmakers Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey teamed up in 2004 to launch their namesake brand with an avant-garde spirit in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), a pioneering pledge seemed to have been made: a commitment of going against the grain.

With a focus on uncompromising innovation and out of this world hand finishing, a boy’s dream is cherished developing utterly complicated, high-end timepieces – that of infusing a level of ‘excellence in watchmaking that rivals even that achieved by 18th and 19th century masters’. It is of no wonder that most Greubel Forsey wristwatches contain multiple tourbillons and inclined balance wheels, aiming to continuously advance timekeeping precision.

The Swiss watchmakers, producing circa 100 timepieces a year (with 30 in-house produced calibers to date), have artistry and chronometric performance at their DNA and are known for their unrivalled level of handfinishing. This is beautifully expressed in the Hand Made 1 model, where 95% of the timepiece has been crafted with hand operated tools in a mere 6,000 hours.

But no tradition without breaking the rules. Greubel Forsey launched the stunning Signature 1 at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in 2016, a timepiece that was considered simple and accessible for their standards – yet proved to mark a big step in the evolution of the brand as one of the world’s most important players in the field of fine watchmaking.

The Signature 1 is a ‘time-only’ watch, a 3-hander with classic regulating organ and no additional complications. It has been the collaborative design effort of the brand’s founders and Didier J.G. Cretin, a senior watchmaker at Greubel Forsey and part of the team since the brand’s foundation. The watch was introduced in four limited editions: platinum (11 pieces), white gold (11 pieces), rose gold (11 pieces) and stainless steel (a first for the brand; 33 pieces).

The Watch

Only 11 of these Greubel Forsey Signature 1 timepieces, like the one here at hand in steel with a black-anthracite gold dial, have been made. Making this piece, already standing out in the Greubel Forsey collection, very rare. Complicated simplicity, phenomenal beauty and superlative finishing converge, making the piece a true tribute to the watchmakers’ spirit, known for the art of the invention.

Despite carrying the ‘simplicity’ sign, the watch has been in development for circa six years prior to its launch, breathing the fanatic attention to detail and mechanical finishing characterizing Greubel Forsey. Word goes it was a real challenge creating a simpler watch while remaining faithful to the brand’s aesthetic codes and finishing.

Its understated round watch case has a diameter of 41,4mm, measuring 11,7mm in thickness, making it also a first for Greubel Forsey in terms of a more modest size. The black-anthracite main dial and sub-dial have been made in 18-carat white silvered-gold with diamond finished bevels, grand feu enamel markers, and hand finished blued steel spear point hands.

The large golden balance wheel, running under a black polished three-prong bridge, and gear train have a unique presence on the watch face. Beautifully balanced by the large bridge on top, hand finished with Côtes de Genève (the Geneva stripes are rare for a Greubel Forsey timepiece).

It might be clear that the decrease in complexity offers the showcasing of the movement to the greatest extent. The gear train can be magnificently followed from the winding barrel through the escapement, and to the hour, minute, and small seconds hand: all visible on both the front and back of the watch.

No matter where you look, the hand finishing surpasses the norm effortlessly for time-only watches, making this watch a class apart: think of the perfectly polished counter sinks, impeccable bevels, distinguishable frosted and spotted finish (reminding of high-end English pocket watches), perlage inside the movement, straight grained flanks, and mirror-like polishing on the inclined facets (reflecting light).

Both the front and back are signed by watchmaker Didier J. G. Cretin.

The Movement
The Greubel Forsey Signature 1 is powered by the hand-wound GFS1 movement, that comprises 190 parts with 21 jewels. It has a 54-hour power reserve and runs at 18,000 vph thanks to the 12,6mm balance wheel, that was specially created in-house for the Signature 1 collection (a traditional balance system was needed, opposing the balance system in the tourbillon models).

The atypical symmetrical design arranges for reliably even oscillations, with a balance spring using a Breguet overcoil.


The watch is in excellent, as-new condition and has perfect mechanical functionality. Part of the Signature 1 collection, it concerns one of 11 pieces in steel with a black-anthracite gold dial. The watch comes as a full set, including documents and Greubel Forsey box.

If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. 

We are based in Ghent, Belgium


Free parking available on site. 
No stock kept on site

Reference Signature 1
Movement Manual Wound
Calibre  GFS1
Dial Anthracite dial
Size (Case) 41 mm
Material (Case) Steel
Bracelet Grained grey
Glass Sapphire
Condition Mint condition
Year 2017
Papers Yes
Box Yes
Warranty 2 years

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