This has been a pretty interesting year in terms of the watches that I’ve had cross my desk for review. It’s been a wide range of styles and looks, to be sure, and even the occasional foray into the luxury waters. The prior Laurent Ferrier we reviewed set a record in terms of a price tag I’ve set on my wrist, and then today’s review – the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto – managed to top even that.
As with our prior review, we’ll get this out of the way right up front – the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto commands $49,500. What does that feel like on the wrist? A well-sorted and solidly-constructed watch, that’s for sure. Though, being made of titanium (case and bracelet) it’s definitely not a heavy sport watch, and brings that unique feel that steel can’t quite replicate.
As compared to the prior Laurent Ferrier we looked at, this is definitely a sportier look from the brand, with all the luminous paint on the hands and indices, and cushion-style case and integrated bracelet. While most of the surfaces have a brushed finish, it’s got a bit of high-polish applied to around the edge of the bezel and on the crown, so this one could do double duty as a dressier piece if need be.
While you might thing of a sporting piece to be a bit blockier and all hard edges, the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto shows that doesn’t have to be so. The case is all curves, including the curved sapphire crystal up top. Even the bracelet links, those are rounded down, bringing more curves to the whole piece. In fact, the greatest amount of flat surfaces you’re going to see is in the micro-rotor movement. Two large plates dominate your view through the sapphire caseback, with a number of finishing techniques (and engravings) to be seen where the plates aren’t. In fact, a closer look at the micro-rotor reveals some wording related to the 1979 Le Mans race (a secret treat for the owner, to be sure).
Given our focus here (usually) on the more affordable end of the spectrum, why bring in the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto for a review? Well, for one, it never hurts to see what is out there in the luxury market, particularly if its a tastefully executed design like we have here. For another, I’ve long been enamored by micro-rotors, and could not pass up the chance to check it out in person. While they may not wind as efficiently as a full-sized rotor (due to being smaller, and less mass spinning around), I didn’t encounter any issues with the watch remaining wound and running in the days I had it in for review. The fact that you can have automatic winding with a slimmer case (12.7mm here), that’s all good in our book.
Now, is the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto going to keep you on time better than anything else you might have kicking around, or even that first digital watch you had as a kid? Not, it sure isn’t. But that’s also sort of like turning up your nose at a Bentley when you’ve got a perfectly serviceable Honda getting you from point A to point B. They both do the same thing, but there’s a massive difference in terms of the materials and build quality there to be accounted for. I’m not saying I’ll be buying a LF anytime soon, myself – those remain firmly in the dream category.
And that’s a key to many things in life – appreciating what is out there in the world (whatever the category) but being satisfied with what you have, and what makes sense for your own situation. The Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto demonstrates what can be done at the higher-end of sport watches, creating a design that’s both subtle and sublime, all while not blaring in your face that it’s a pricier watch. And frankly, it would be a solid choice for an everyday watch, or even one if you’re trying to have just one watch that works for everything.
The titanium will hold up to whatever you throw at it, and the 120m WR resistance means you don’t have to be afraid of getting the watch wet. With the brushed/matte finishes, the dings and dents of life shouldn’t show up too much, and if they do (and you don’t like that evidence of a life lived) should be a snap to have them re-brush those out. And with the pops of gleam from the polished bezel and white gold hands and indices, this is a watch that will easily work when it’s time to throw a suit and tie on. So, yeah – having the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto on my wrist for a few days was a rare – and delightful – treat, and should prove out to be the case for anyone who adds it to their collection. laurentferrier.ch
Tech Specs from Laurent Ferrier
- Indications: Hours, minutes in the centre, small second at 6 o’clock
- Material: Gradient shades of blue with an opaline finish
- Indices: Drop-shaped 18K white gold 210Pd with green Super-LumiNova
- Hour and minute hands: Assegai-shaped 18K white gold 210Pd with green Super-LumiNova
- Second hand: Baton-shaped, 18K white gold 210Pd
- Material: Grade 5 titanium
- Diameter: 41,5 mm
- Thickness: 12,70 mm
- Lugs: 47,6mm
- Calibre LF270.01
- Self-winding movement with micro-rotor
- Micro-rotor winding system fixed between the main plate and the micro-rotor bridge
- Swiss lever escapement
- Diameter: 14’’’ = 31.60 mm
- Thickness: 4.85 mm
- Number of components: 215
- Number of jewels: 31
- Water resistance: 120 m – 12 ATM
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4Hz)
- Power Reserve: 72 hours
- Material: Grade 5 titanium
- Buckle/Clasp: Grade 5 titanium folding clasp