Exclusive: Beyond Outer Space, The New Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure
One of the oldest manufactures in Switzerland continues to stun the watch world with its sapphire encased tourbillons. This time, Girard-Perregaux takes us to outer space with the new Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure.
On its own, a tourbillon is already a sign of perfect mastery in fine watchmaking. But in the case of the Quasar Azure, Girard-Perregaux goes the extra mile. After this year’s releases, it's going to be hard to not associate Girard-Perregaux with sapphire cases, especially after the release of both the Quasar Light (HERE) and the Laureato Absolute Light (HERE).
From the French Coast to Outer space
Maybe it's my French-speaking origins, but from the name and a single glance at the Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure, I cannot help but think of the magnificent blue waters off the southern coast of France. More precisely, the French Riviera – affectionally called La Côte D'Azur – because of the beautiful color of the Mediterranean Sea. Made famous by film festivals and loved by celebrities, it's an unmissable vacation spot in Europe that everyone longs to visit and be inspired by the colors.
However, the name of the new watch also evokes the wondrousness of outer space. In layman’s terms, a quasar is an extremely luminous active galactic nucleus powered by a supermassive black hole that is billions of times bigger than the Sun. Quasars give off enormous amounts of energy and are the brightest objects in the Universe.
Quasar is an apt name for a collection with sapphire cases that shine, even without the help of diamonds. As NASA just sent their latest Mars rover, Perseverance, to space this week, it seemed appropriate to launch a watch that recalls outer space. Maybe, far out there, there is another planet and a comparable Côte D'Azur.
The Open Heart of a Quasar
Breathtakingly, the sapphire case exposes the skeletonized movement for the eyes of the world to see. But instead of sapphire Neo Bridges, like in the Quasar Light (HERE), Girard-Perregaux opted for grade 5 titanium to complement the see-through blue sapphire case by playfully reflecting light across the mechanism. The piece has been so well-thought that, at first glance, you don't even spot the micro-rotor at 12 o'clock behind the barrel as it couples perfectly with the NAC treated mainplate of the movement and the Neo Bridges.
But the showstopping extravaganza of the new Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure is the tourbillon. Held by the third Neo Bridge, the lyre-shaped tourbillon cage is comprised of 80 components yet only weighs 0.25 grams. Powered by a white gold unidirectional micro-rotor, the tourbillon uses only a little energy, so the power reserve is increased to 60 hours. It is truly amazing the way the movement gives the illusion that the tourbillon is floating inside the blue sapphire case, like a star in the deep blue sky.
To complement the inter-galactic feel of the skeletonized dial, Girard-Perregaux added a hint of luminous blue material to the dauphine hands. As with every Maison of Haute Horlogerie, every single component of the timepiece has been carefully finished by hand.
A Light Play
As soon as a hint of light touches the sapphire case, the Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure sparkles with a stunning play of light. As CEO Patrick Pruniaux explained in a press release, "When the tourbillon is bathed with light, the Quasar Azure shines like a star in the mysterious darkness of space. This model is testament to our mastery of Haute Horlogerie and is rooted in our design language, albeit in this instance, it is seen through a prism of cutting-edge technology. The Quasar Azure is a brilliantly bold expression of the company's technical mastery, contemporary design, and rich heritage. Indeed, the Quasar Azure embodies the very essence of Girard-Perregaux."
To create this stunning 46mm case, Girard-Perregaux artisans have to work for over 200 hours. To put this into perspective: Just to create the two parts of the case takes longer than 25 eight-hour workdays, assuming the artisans are allowed to eat lunch and take the occasional break.
But it's worth it because the sapphire crystals of other watches on the market today cannot be fairly compared to the clarity and brilliance of the Quasar Azure’s sapphire crystal. Every piece is thoughtfully inspected to ensure the flawlessness of the blue sapphire crystal.
How Can I Get It?
Exceptional craftsmanship means exceptional rarity. In the case of the Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure, it is limited to just eight pieces.
Now available via special order from selected Girard-Perregaux retailers, the Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure is priced at 274,000 CHF without tax. The watch is delivered with an anthracite strap with a metallic effect and an additional blue alligator strap.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)