Hidden Treasure: Girard-Perregaux Presents La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition
This opulent example of haute horology is now available, for the first time, in 18K white gold.
Historically, La Esmeralda is an important collection for Girard-Perregaux. The moniker comes from the name of a pocket watch made for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, where it won a gold medal.
At the time, international exhibitions like the World’s Fair were all the rage, so consider this accomplishment bigger than winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony combined.
The original timepiece was finely engraved and fitted with a tourbillon and Girard-Perregaux’s emblematic three gold bridges. The present-day La Esmeralda, introduced in 2016, shares these traits of its great-great-great grandparent but in wristwatch form.
Then, in 2022, Girard-Perregaux upped the opulence with a trio of La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Editions to honor the brand’s 230th Anniversary. Limited to 18 pieces each, these models featured a pink gold case and came in three colorways: red, green, and turquoise.
The greatest achievement of La Esmeralda then and now is how it integrates aesthetics and engineering. The tourbillon and three golden bridges are amazing to observe. Not to mention that its beautiful grand feu enameling is also a marvel of technology. Yet, despite the Esmeralda’s strong design DNA profile, this generation of Girard-Perregaux watchmakers is operating in a very modern era. Awards from World Fairs have long since been replaced by brand ambassadors and influencers hype.
Since Girard-Perregaux regained its status as an independent watchmaker in 2022, it has been reinventing itself in subtle ways. Most notably, the brand has been embracing new materials such as sapphire crystal (for the Laureato Absolute Light) and making the most of its integrated manufacture’s abilities to make more exclusive limited editions – like the Esmeralda.
Enthusiasts are a funny bunch. On the one hand, there’s satisfaction in discovering new things. Yet on the other, collectors crave authenticity.
The 2023 iteration of La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition manages to mine Girard-Perregaux’s horological history without getting trapped like a mosquito in amber, thanks in large part to its unique aesthetics.
The aspects of its aesthetics that probably stand out the most give the impression this piece is an anachronism. The ornate engravings smack of the Gilded Age and could be seen as over the top. Moreover, its 43mm case size bucks the trend of the last few years toward smaller watches. And in a final show of opulence, it’s got two bas-relief sculpture of a horse adorning its face and a trio of enameled horses on the secret back cover.
However, in this instance, bold is most definitely beautiful. It takes a certain confidence to carry it off, but because it is a limited edition, it is likely to sell quickly.
But believe it or not, Girard-Perregaux sees La Esmeralda as an everyday watch and, with shifting tastes to gem-encrusted timepieces, why not? Plus, the white gold treatment is certainly less blingy than the rose gold versions, which means the 2023 edition works with a wider range of sartorial choices.
Its functions also make it feel very wearable. The automatic-winding manufacture calibre GP09600-2083 provides precision and a power reserve of approximately 60 hours. It has a water resistance of 30m. It also comes with a sapphire crystal caseback hidden under the hunter-style back cover with its aforementioned trio of horses for your visual delight.
This is all presented on an alligator leather strap and comes with a two-year factory warranty.
Pricing & Availability
Available in blue, green, and grey colorways, the 18K white gold La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition is limited to 18 pieces per color. It is priced at $482,000. For more information, visit the Girard-Perregaux website.
(Images © Girard-Perregaux)