A wristwatch of sublime aesthetic and horological virtue, the Classic Origin Opaline by Laurent Ferrier is a piece with arresting charisma and timeless styling, and one whose subdued and minimalist execution belies a myriad of nuanced details, which distil holistically into what is an exclusive and distinctive masterwork of design perfection.
Originally inspired by the pleasing tactile sensation of holding a water-smoothed riverbed pebble in the palm of his hand, the case was first known as Galet, the French word for pebble, and for Laurent Ferrier, whose career had already included being responsible for transcribing Gérald Genta’s two dimensional drawings into the three dimensional reality which would become immortalised in the shape of the iconic Patek Philippe Nautilus, the muse for his eponymous brand was resting quite literally in the palm of his hand.
Created to celebrate ten years as an independent marque, the Classic Origin Opaline is a piece which marries this pure, nature-inspired styling with haute horlogerie excellence, encapsulating the ethereal beauty of the classic elegance of 1950s watch design, while concealing within a superb in-house mechanical work of art.
Manufactured in a rounded case of polished Grade 5 titanium, the watch is completely curvilinear and bereft of any flat edges or lines, save for the inner sides of the lugs which sweep around the case and taper off to rounded ends. Measuring 40mm across and 10.7mm tall, with its immaculate contours and smooth ergonomic form, the Classic Origin has a discreet yet alluring presence on the wrist.
Beneath the gently domed sapphire crystal the silvery-white opaline dial appears minimal, yet is intricately detailed. The delicately crafted hour and minute hands are in the in-house Assegai spear style and are in 18ct white gold. Slender applied indices at the 12, 3 and 9 o’clock positions taper to fine points, while around the periphery, a narrow band of slate grey shading accentuates the burgundy coloured hour numerals. Thin hour markers and cross-hair emphasise the classic influences and in a recessed subdial at the six, the small constant seconds are displayed with a thin hand against a ring of burgundy indices.
On the underside, a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback reveals the superb in-house Calibre LF 116.01 manual-winding movement. As with every other detail throughout the watch, the restrained execution of the frosted plates and bridges are deceptively understated. Mirror polished angles are painstakingly finished by hand, and curve inwards, outwards and around the edges, exposing the beating heart of the free sprung balance and escapement, and offering a glimpse of the gear wheels, and the long blade ratchet system which is visible in the cutaway above the barrel.
Beating at 21’600 vib/h, the movement derives an impressive eighty hours from the single barrel. A watch of distinction and uncompromising attention to detail, the Classic Origin Opaline is flawless in its styling and manufacture. It is presented on a light tan calfskin strap with soft alcantara lining, hand stitching and a titanium pin buckle.