Dubai Watch Week: Girard-Perregaux’s Latest Aston Martin Collaboration is a New High for the Partnership
When it comes to collaborative relationships between luxury automakers and luxury watch brands, some partnerships last, some don’t, while a handful seem to stick for the long term. A prime example of each of these outcomes is British performance carmaker Aston Martin, which released collaborative watch models with both Jaeger-LeCoultre and Richard Mille in the recent past.
However, since the Bond-worthy carmaker partnered up with the Swiss watchmaker Girard-Perregaux in 2021, we have seen (including this week’s release at Dubai Watch Week) no fewer than five collaborations.
First, in 2021, there was the inaugural Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition.
We don’t know about you, but this relationship is looking pretty “sticky” to us.
Bridging Time and Speed
While the more recent collaborations have focused on the storied Girard-Perregaux Laureato as their canvas, this latest collaboration – the Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition – not only signals the return of G-P’s signature use of bridges to this high-octane partnership, it is also explicitly tied to a specific Aston Martin creation: The 2023 DB12, a “Super Tourer” that arguably embodies the carmaker’s heritage and core values of high-performance and luxury than any other DB in the model’s 75-year history (but more on that later).
“In this latest model, the Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition, the joint creative team – comprising designers from both companies – decided to challenge some commonly held horological conventions around the design of the movement,” said Aston Martin Executive VP and Chief Creative Officer Marek Riechmann, “With due consideration given to structural rigidity, performance, and beauty, I’m delighted with the result.”
On the Wrist
Elegantly bringing attention to structural watch components as if they were included solely to be design elements has been part of the Girard-Perregaux DNA since 1867, when founder Constant Girard sketched a pocket watch that brought the previously utilitarian bridges to the front and center of the design itself.
Now, in this new 45mm titanium DLC timepiece, the bridgework and movement details have been brought to the forefront of the Calibre GP0840000-2126’s dial via the brand’s Neo-shaped bridges, which support the movement’s visible gear train and balance. Further visibility and skeletonization enhance the relationship between timepiece underpinnings and automotive support construction, with the bridges taking on an even closer resemblance to, say, axles and struts, for example.
The barrel, essentially the “fuel tank” of a watch, is displayed prominently at 1:30 amid additional bridgework, delivering a long ride of 48 hours of power reserve. Meanwhile, a display caseback with the Aston Martin logo on the crystal gives you a view of what little you are missing from the movement’s front view.
Top-down movement visibility can often entail a fairly precious, fussy execution. However, whether it’s because of its collaborative design, restrained use of shared elements (especially color), or its rugged, fabric-treated rubber strap, the Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition doesn’t feel fussy; rather, it gives us the undeniable sense that it’s track-ready.
Behind the Wheel
So, what are the natural affinities between the Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition and the exquisite Aston Martin DB12? Well, just behold the car itself.
Bolder than any other previous Aston Martin production model by design, like this new watch, the 2023 DB12 casts an imposing shadow while also carrying some impressive specs: a ferocious 671hp, 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 590 lb.-ft. of torque (a power increase of 34 percent over the DB11 Grand Tourer). Oh, and the top speed is a blistering 202 mph.
Visibility is also a shared value between the watch and the car: The DB12 rides on gorgeous 21-inch alloy wheels, leaving plenty of room to gaze through the spokes at the top-of-the-line carbon ceramic brakes with cross-drilled rotors. Of course, the Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition also doesn’t shy away from showcasing its inner mechanical workings, and this analogous “brake view” concept was a key point of reference for the collaborative design teams.
Color and livery also create bridges between the two mechanical inspirations. Without overdoing it a whit, G-P’s designers subtly incorporated the hues associated with Aston Martin (while also sharing some of G-P’s) throughout the design: brushed greys, ruby highlights, bold blacks, and shimmering silvers all point to automotive exterior and interior references.
Of course, the classic “Aston Martin Green” color is addressed in an equally elegant and subdued fashion as that verdant hue is revealed differently in different lighting conditions along the two Neo Bridges themselves, in the strap’s contrast stitching, and emanating from the green hand and index lume, as well.
Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux, sums this piece up nicely: “This was not merely a case of putting Aston Martin’s name on one of our watches. They played an active role in the conception of this watch, looking at the materials employed and, interestingly, the design of the movement. The Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition is the impressive outcome of two companies synergistically working together.”
The Aston Martin DB12 Super Tourer lists for $248,086; learn more at the automaker’s website. Meanwhile, the Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition retails for $37,700. For more information, visit the watchmaker’s website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel. Aston Martin DB12 images © Aston Martin)