From Here To Eternity Editions: Girard-Perregaux’s Dubai Watch Week Launches
The Eternity Edition series, comprised of four different references, celebrates the maison’s in-house enameling savoir-faire at Dubai Watch Week.
Of the many things that make Dubai Watch Week unique is that it, through hands-on workshops and presentations, provides the public with a peek into all the Métiers d’Art involved in crafting the world’s most luxurious timepieces.
So it’s fitting that Girard-Perregaux is using Dubai Watch Week’s platform to introduce the Eternity Edition series – a collection comprised of four different references showcasing Girard-Perregaux’s in-house enameling savoir-faire. These launches include La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition, two Laureato Eternity Editions, and a Cat’s Eye Eternity Edition.
This year marks Girard-Perregaux’s 230th anniversary, and the maison is using the occasion to show off its long history of artistic excellence. According to the brand’s CEO Patrick Pruniaux, “Whenever we peruse our archives, we are reminded that we have a responsibility to uphold the legacy of former watchmakers, craftspeople, and artisans. These skills, which our company holds dear, should never be forgotten.”
Dubai Watch Week: The Modern-Day Exposition Universelle
What makes a legend? Try starting with an already emblematic watch as inspiration. La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition is based on a prize-winning pocket watch made for the Exposition Universelle in 1889. At the time, Universal Exhibitions were all the rage. Countries would compete for prizes, medals, and distinctions for their latest technological advancements – a function that a fair like Dubai Watch Week similarly serves today.
This legendary pocket watch blended extraordinary precision with several artistic crafts. And as the manufacture celebrates its 230th anniversary, Girard-Perregaux revisits its iconic 1889 timepiece to create a wristwatch that celebrates the brand’s heritage and showcases its considerable amassed know-how.
So, let’s take a minute to look back at the La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition’s forebearer.
The First Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges
In 1860, Constant Girard created a tourbillon chronometer equipped with three nickel silver bridges. In 1867, Girard entered the Observatoire of Neuchâtel competition, where his watch won first prize. That year he took the same timepiece to the Exposition Universelle in Paris, where, again, he took top honors. So, how did one watch keep winning over so many years? For starters, Girard expended as much effort into refining the architecture of his movements as he did the technical details.
Thus, Girard unveiled the first Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris. This gold medal-winning, 56mm pink gold pocket watch came outfitted with a detent escapement housed in a case engraved with three horses and featured a white grand feu enamel dial.
After the Exposition Universelle, the timepiece was sold by the watch and jewelry retailer, Hauser Ziwy & Co, which operated “La Esmeralda” stores in Paris and Mexico. Thus, the watch became known as “La Esmeralda.” Then, to add to the already illustrious pedigree, it was sold to Porfirio Díaz, then President of Mexico. In 1970, a descendent of the former president offered the manufacture the opportunity to purchase the watch, and it now forms part of Girard-Perregaux’s museum collection.
La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition
The 2021 re-interpretation is meant as an homage, not a re-creation. The first difference: It’s a wristwatch, not a pocket watch.
Secondly, the mainplate of La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition is made using a CNC-machine and produced to infinitesimal tolerances unimaginable back in the 19th century. Plus, the mainplate itself features a new form of finishing, exclusive to Girard-Perregaux. Specifically, this model has concave beveling that involves creating a curved recess between the surface and flank of the caseback side, which allows for new levels of reflection and refractions of light.
It’s the artistry of the enameling that takes center stage, however. The “secret” in La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition is its hidden cover. Once you pop the lid, you are treated to a blue scene featuring three horses inspired by the original “La Esmeralda” and adorned with a sunray guilloché decoration and blue grand feu enamel. A gorgeous tribute to the original’s legacy.
La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition is offered in seven colorways, each produced on request and limited to 18 pieces per color. It is immediately available worldwide through authorized Girard-Perregaux retailers.
Laureato 42mm Eternity Editions
What sets the 2021 Laureato 42mm Eternity Editions apart from its predecessors is that its dial is imbued with a rich green or blue grand feu enamel dial. As Pruniaux said in a press release, “Their beauty will remain eternal, destined to be enjoyed by those in the future.”
While the watches are designed to endure, producing these grand feu enamel effects is an extremely delicate process. The enamel is made of a mixture of silica, minium (a.k.a. red lead), potash, and soda, ground into a fine powder. Metal oxides are then added to create different colors.
In Girard-Perregaux’s in-house facility, the powder is dusted onto the dial and then fired in an oven that typically operates at about 800 degrees Celsius. This process is repeated five to ten times to get the rich luster seen in the Laureato 42mm Eternity Editions. Even the most experienced master may go through several firings and still experience cracks, air bubbles, and color imperfections. And, ultimately, any and all flawed dials are rejected.
Everything about the Laureato 42mm Eternity Edition is crafted in-house in La Chaux-de-Fonds, including the GP01800 self-winding movement, which features a pink gold oscillating weight adorned with a circular Côtes de Genève motif. Additional decorations include straight Côtes de Genève on the bridges, beveling, mirror-polished screws, circular graining on the mainplate, and engraved gilded text.
The Laureato 42mm Eternity Edition is offered in two variants, blue and green. Each option is limited to 188 pieces. Sold exclusively by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons during December 2021, the models will then be available at all authorized brand retailers and on Girard-Perregaux’s website.
The Cat’s Eye Eternity Edition
In 2004, Girard-Perregaux released a new creation, the Cat’s Eye collection. Like the Laureato, it is housed in an unconventional case – a sideways oval. That same year, this watch won the Ladies prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG).
The manufacture has since produced many variations on the theme of the Cat’s Eye. These versions have highlighted the skills of both the company’s watchmakers (through high complications) and gem-setters (so many diamonds).
This year, with the Cat’s Eye Eternity Edition, Girard-Perregaux is making a grand feu the jewel of its collection. “With our Eternity Editions, our aim was to produce a limited number of watches that would showcase our expertise,” said Pruniaux in a press release. “We sought to create watches that will still look incredible in decades to come.”
The oval dial is adorned with a guilloché sunray motif visible through the blue translucent enamel surface, creating an effect akin to staring into the cool blue water of a reflecting pool. The date window at 3 o’clock features white numerals positioned upon a colored disc, matching the hue of the main dial and making it as unobtrusive as possible. The leaf-shaped hour and minute hands indicate the time with elegance.
Since its beginning, the Cat’s Eye has always married feminine design with mechanical prowess. This version sparkles in its 35.4mm by 30.4mm stainless steel case set with 62 brilliant-cut diamonds, but it roars with its calibre GP03300-1739 self-winding movement.
The Cat’s Eye Eternity Edition is limited to 88 pieces. Sold exclusively by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons during December 2021, this model will then be available at all authorized brand retailers and on Girard-Perregaux’s website.