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20th Anniversary
Greubel Forsey - Robert Greubel & Stephen Forsey

Greubel Forsey Robert Greubel & Stephen Forsey

Co-founders**

In the 1990s, movement developer Renaud & Papi SA was a hothouse for some of the world’s finest horology, and it is where two of the field’s most creative minds came together for the first time. Already established watchmakers in their own right, British-born Stephen Forsey and Frenchman Robert Greubel, soon connected over their mutual interest in complicated mechanisms and focus on hand finishing. 

By 1999, driven by a growing desire to develop ultimate precision matched by true user-friendliness, the pair decided to set up on their own. Moving their research from the watchmaker’s bench to a laboratory, they founded CompliTime in 2001, developing complex precision movements for the most prestigious brands.

Three years later, Greubel Forsey was established with the aim of creating complete timepieces bearing its founders’ names. With a desire to revive the reputation of the once revered tourbillon and bring back the increasingly neglected art of meticulous finishing, the resulting watches were aimed at collectors who already owned the best currently available.

Robert Greubel & Stephen Forsey

Robert Greubel & Stephen Forsey © Greubel Forsey

“Hopefully we have allowed them to go further by developing complications that are as intuitive as a smartphone with failproof safety mechanisms and true hand-finishing,” says Stephen, adding with a smile: “Had we realised how hard it would be, perhaps we would never have started.”

Less than 20 years later, Greubel Forsey has enabled its two founders to become “the best they can be” and the eponymous company today has in excess of 30 calibres under its belt. Global recognition has been fast and furious, with Greubel Forsey winning numerous industry accolades including six prestigious GPHG awards from 2009 to 2018 (see our chapter on GPHG winners).

Above and beyond the show-stopping watches they have produced, Robert and Stephen’s legacy will be felt for generations to come thanks to Time Aeon, the foundation they established in 2008 along with Philippe Dufour, Vianney Halter and Kari Voutilainen (and later joined by Felix Baumgartner, David Bernard and Dominique Renaud) to preserve traditional horology skills and pass them on to new generations of watchmakers.

Justifiably proud of Greubel Forsey, Stephen says of his partnership: “Individually we could have done things, but alone we would never have achieved what we have as a team.”

*Written by Tracey Llewellyn

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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The brand

Greubel Forsey carries out fully independent production of fine watches in its workshops in La Chaux-de-Fonds. These watches are highly technical, innovative and timeless, and feature a particularly meticulous finish that is one of Greubel Forsey’s defining characteristics.

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