Sapphire crystals are a common element in luxury watches, but entire cases made of sapphire have been and remain a rarity in the watch world due to the extreme difficulty in making them (and thus, not coincidentally, their prohibitively expensive price tags). However, recent years have seen several brands join the sapphire-case party, each in their own distinctive fashion. Here are five that have made debuts within the last year.
Limited to just eight pieces and exclusive to the United States, the Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30º Technique Sapphire features a solid sapphire case that has been carefully machined from a single block of sapphire crystal. The aim is to offer full visual access to the multi-level movement, with its two tourbillons, from all possible angles. The case is 49.95 mm and 17.15 mm thick, just a bit larger than those of its predecessors in rose gold, white gold, platinum and titanium. The crown, engraved with the GF logo, is also made of sapphire. The manual-wind movement, which carries an impressive power reserve of 120 hours in four series-coupled barrels, features a patented system in which an inner tourbillon, inclined at a 30º angle and making the traditional one rotation per minute, is paired with an outer tourbillon making a more unusual one rotation every four minutes. The watch (more details here) is priced at approximately $1.1. million.