Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto 40
Genevan watchmaking house Laurent Ferrier is unveiling a new edition of the iconic “Série Atelier”, an unmistakable homage to the brand’s history inextricably tied to a passion for motor racing: the Sport Auto 40.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the biggest motorsport event open to spectators from the general public, who can witness all the accompanying risks, pressures, hopes, ambitions and achievements. On 9 June 1979, François Servanin and Laurent Ferrier, the brand’s two founders, started the 47th
edition of the race in the legendary Porsche 935 Turbo. In an exceptional achievement for a team of amateur drivers, they placed third in the overall rankings despite being one of 60 cars on the starting line. This feat created an unbreakable bond that later germinated into a common challenge: founding their own watchmaking house.
The Sport Auto 40 offers wearers a piece of history encapsulated in an exceptional timepiece: a chance to relive the unique atmosphere of the greatest motor race in the world. This new edition of the Sport Auto is inspired by the Porsche 935 Turbo No. 40, with a dial in the colours of this legendary racing car. The Porsche 935 was introduced in 1976 as the racing version of the Porsche 911 Turbo. Previously driven by Bob Wollek, who had competed in the 1978 edition with the same Vaillant livery. The 1979 Porsche 935 No. 40 was only intended to allow the three contender drivers – Laurent Ferrier, François Servanin and François Trisconi – to "have fun" by placing as high as possible. And so, they did, exceeding their wildest expectations. In addition to placing third overall, the team also won second place in group V and François Servanin was named best French driver of the competition.
This piece, like the collection model, features the Sport Auto’s curves and domed sapphire crystal, which reveals the bright colours of the Porsche No. 40 at the time. The gradient viridian green dial, with an opaline finish and a semi-glossy lacquer, is decorated with a fuchsia transfer that forms a cross in the middle and runs around the cleverly chamfered date aperture at 3 o’clock. The minute track is indicated by a green transfer in the same shade as in the centre of the watch. Orange Super-LumiNova on the white gold indexes and hands adds extra character to this new timepiece. Recalling the sticker of the racing car, a tone-on-tone "40" proudly sits on the opaline white small seconds dial at 6 o’clock.
The exterior of the Sport Auto 40 recalls the aerodynamic design of racing cars by cleverly blending round curves with arched lines. The 41.5 mm diameter grade 5 titanium case is paired with an integrated grade 5 titanium bracelet. Laurent Ferrier has juxtaposed a rounded tonneau-shaped case middle with a contrasting softer-looking bezel, inspired by the Square case.
Each of the case’s surfaces are finished in a different way. The bezel has a circular satin-brushed finish that contrasts with the mirror-polished sides and the vertical satin-brushed case middle. The three-link metal bracelet, meanwhile, also features vertical satin-brushed surfaces accentuated by mirror-polished angled sides. The iconic ball-shaped crown is screwed in and elegantly incorporated into the case middle. The crown’s generous proportions mean that it is pleasant to operate when first starting up the self-winding movement. This component provides water resistance tested to 120 metres, making it practical for everyday wear.
Inside the Sport Auto 40 lies the LF270.01 calibre, the brand’s second self-winding movement with a calendar. It incorporates a Swiss pallet escapement and an off-centred micro-rotor self-winding system. This movement has been entirely designed, decorated, assembled and adjusted in Laurent Ferrier’s workshops. To significantly improve its resistance to impacts and vibration, it has been fitted with a unidirectional ball bearing. Like a balance wheel, the micro-rotor has an oscillating weight in 950 platinum positioned directly between the main plate and the rotor bridge to give optimum stability and maximum winding power. When fully wound, this calibre offers a power reserve of more than 72 hours.
In keeping with Laurent Ferrier standards, the movement presents immaculate finishes. The sapphire crystal case back reveals the full beauty of the calibre to truly delight lovers of traditional haute horology. The horizontal satin-brushed and ruthenium-treated bridges make it particularly dynamic.
Each LF 270.01 calibre alone requires more than 139 manual finishing operations. The components are meticulously hand-decorated, such as the rotor bridge: the angles are softened then finished with gentian wood and diamantine, while the surface is mirror polished. The movement also features several internal angles, multiple zinc-polished surfaces and numerous satin-brushed and circular-grained finishes, all carried out by hand in the brand’s workshops.
With a retail price of 51,000 CHF (excluding tax), this new “Série Atelier’
is being released as an edition of 40 numbered pieces, available exclusively on the laurentferrier.ch