The Sablier Grand Cru 2 makes subtle updates to the microbrand’s first watch, with a scaled-down case, applied indices, and an upgraded movement. Untouched are the Princeton, New Jersey-based company’s patented concave sapphire crystal and matching bowl-shaped dial. The concave crystal—the opposite of your average domed crystal—reduces distortion at high viewing angles and protects the crystal from your clumsiness. It’s a clever, elegant, and somewhat extravagant solution to the problem of brittle domed sapphire; in other words a quintessential watchmaker’s solution. The concave theme is carried over to the crown perched at 2:00, with a gentle divot where you might otherwise find the watchmaker’s signature.
The downsized case takes the Grand Cru 2 into dangerous territory, where few unisex watches dare tread: sub-38 mm. Sort of. Shaped like a 12.1 mm tall wine goblet (hence the name) the case slopes up from a 39 mm base to a 35 mm dial. This isn’t your standard watch and so standard rules of thumb about case size shouldn’t apply. We’ll have to see it in the metal to know if this seems like a 39 mm watch or a 35 mm. My guess is it will fall somewhere in the middle, which is a perfect size for a sporty dress watch like this.
The applied indices are a nice upgrade to the original’s printed dial. You lose the outlined hour markers at 6, 9, and 12, but Sablier keeps the aesthetic with a hollowed-out hour hand. Watches, as life, are a series of trade-offs. For legibility’s sake, the hour hand is still wider than the minute hand and the quirky red corkscrew second hand is still sweeping away across the dished dial.
Powering that sweep is an upgraded ETA 2892-A2 movement with a Genève-striped rotor. The 2892 is 28% thinner than the ETA 2824-2 it replaces, but otherwise they can be fairly comparable depending on grade. It’s unclear what grade 2824 the first Grand Cru used, but there is no Standard-grade 2892, so you’re getting a movement that is at least as good.
You can have the case in any color you like, so long as it’s naked stainless steel. Six new dial colors are available—black, white, sapphire blue, midnight blue, champagne, and rosé—as are a number of French-made leather straps. Each dial color is a limited to 99 pieces. Now taking pre-orders for December delivery, the Grand Cru 2 is priced at $3500. sablierwatches.com