A Closer Look At The Watches Redefining Girard-Perregaux In 2019
Established in 1791, Girard-Perregaux holds a special place in the hearts of fine watchmaking lovers. The manufacture from La Chaux-de-Fonds is regaining their position within horology houses.
Girard-Perregaux’ 2019 collections presented at this year’s SIHH re-introduce the brand’s modernity and savoir-faire. The newly appointed CEO (also at the helm of Ulysse Nardin), Patrick Pruniaux explained the brand’s approach: "Girard-Perregaux benefits from an incredible level of love from collectors. The name alone evokes classical high horology finishings, but also chronometric precision and innovation. Today, we stand firmly on four pillars (Laureato, Bridges, 1966, and Cat's Eye) and our mission is to insist on the legitimate aspects which will strengthen our name while differentiating us at the same time.”
High Horology and innovative material
2019 starts with a “BANG” of fine watchmaking bursting straight out the confines of deep space: the Bridges Cosmos. It is a superlative timepiece where the poetry of the universe and elements fray with material technicity and watchmaking precision. Two globes made of titanium depict the Earth seen from the sky at 3 o'clock and the celestial heavens seen from Earth at 9 o'clock. The former materializes continents and oceans, the latter – fully customizable – shows the signs of the Zodiac constellations.
The tourbillon at 6 o'clock embodies the manufacture's horological mastery nestled below its characteristic bridge, realized in black titanium for this edition. The brushed and beveled finishing provides texture which is echoed by the bead-blasted titanium case. The hours and minutes dial, off-centered at 12 o’clock, perfects the balance of the timekeeper. The final touch is revealed when the light goes out: the metalized sapphire of the dial lights up under a shooting stars’ shower of luminescent hydro-ceramic. Unheard of and poetic. A masterpiece of high horology powered by a brand new manually wounded manufacture caliber GP09320.
Girard-Perregaux does not stop here and confirms its innovation capacity by introducing a new type of carbon: Carbon Glass, which integrates glass fibers within a carbon structure. The case obtained shows a unique texture with blue veins of camouflage that seem to be moving. On top of its resistance – 100 times superior to steel – this new material’s high density makes it completely waterproof and lighter than titanium. The future applications are therefore manifold. The rendering is impressive on this Laureato Absolute Carbon Glass Chronograph. Girard-Perregaux exits their comfort zone and demonstrates a will to assert ultimate modernity. This timepiece has a dominant personality, and we will, no doubt, see more of this material from the La Chaux-de-Fonds manufacture very soon.
The Laureato muscles up
Now a central part of the Girard-Perregaux line-up, the Laureato gains further character with a larger 44mm case and earns the name of ‘Absolute.' Objectively, the lines are tenser, the angles more acute. The black PVD treatment of the titanium confers both lightness and strength. Three models, Absolute, Absolute Chronograph, and Absolute WW which are adorned with a superb gradation of vibrant sunburst blue at the center to deep black on the periphery. The white minute track on the flange enhances the depth and character of the face (on the Absolute Laureato). An extremely efficient edition offered at very aggressive prices (Vat included) of CHF 9'900 for the HMS, CHF 12'900 for the Chronograph and CHF 13'300 for the Worldtimer. All details can be found here.
Ladies are honored with Girard-Perregaux
The Cat's Eyes collection, introduced in 2004, holds an essential place in the venerable manufacture's portfolio. The highly recognizable identity appeals to women versed in fine watchmaking who want to show it is possible to combine feminine aesthetics and mechanical watchmaking. This new Cat’s Eyes Plum Blossom is yet another perfect example. Within its characteristic elliptical case, dials are declined in delicate mother-of-pearl where light is reflected continuously, in twinkling aventurine glass or fully set with diamonds for an explosion of light.
They are all adorned with a small Plum Blossom flower at 9 o'clock. It poetically embodies the small seconds. It comes in engraved, and hand-painted rose mother-of-pearl for the stainless steel and jewelry versions, and in rose gold that stands out magnificently against the deep blue hues of the aventurine. A diamond-set bezel completes these three timekeepers to give birth to true condensates of poetic, feminine elegance. The steel, rose gold and jewelry versions respectively show prices (Vat included) of CHF 14'900, CHF 27'300, and CHF 65'000. All details of the manufacture automatic calibre GP03300-0125 that powers these creations can be found here.
A revisited and limited classic
As Patrick Pruniaux confirms: “The 1966 family acts as a guarantee for Girard-Perregaux towards traditional collectors.” This year offers a very contemporary and modern adaptation: the "Earth to Sky," limited to 149 pieces. The classic round case in stainless steel suits up in a microbead-blasted finishing and black DLC treatment. It infuses the model with undeniable strength and character. The sunburst blue dial evolves from deep blue at the center to black by the bezel, giving it a very modern feel.
The date window at 3 o'clock is very legible with white numerals on a black background. The classicism of the slim ‘baton' applied indexes and of the elongated ‘leaf' hours and minutes hands are still very much felt, but this is definitely a rejuvenated and invigorated 1966 version. Still powered by the trusted manufacture caliber GP03300, it should attract new customers looking for reasonably priced fine watchmaking (CHF 8'500 Vat included).
We will leave the parting words to the young and dynamic CEO: "With our 2019 collections, Girard-Perregaux emphasizes our modernity. But this is not something new. It is a direct continuity of our past and recent history. We have always been about innovations and traditional savoir-faire. These are the foundations of Girard-Perregaux." We wholeheartedly agree and are happy to see that this ancestral manufacture keeps the dream alive from the confines of the galaxy.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)