Girard-Perregaux Mechanical Marvel

Since Isaac Newton discovered gravitation after an apple fell on his head, scientists for so long find ways to overcome gravity. To watchmakers, they’ve found a cure for the effect of gravity on mechanical watches – the tourbillon. Girard-Perregaux is no stranger to tourbillons. They’ve created various tourbillon watches such as the tourbillon with three gold bridges, flying tourbillons, bi-axial as well as tri-axial tourbillons.

Boundless Innovation

Girard-Perregaux is a storied watch manufacture with its origins dating back to 1791. The current name of the company was officially born when Constant Girard married Marie Perregaux in 1854. After Constant Girard took the helm of the Manufacture, it took just a couple of years to establish the prestige of Girard-Perregaux which even extended to America. In 1860, the brand created its first Tourbillon with Three Bridges. This masterpiece later was awarded the gold medal at the Universal Exposition of Paris in 1867 and 1889, undoubtedly one of high water mark of Girard-Perregaux.

The tourbillon, invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1801, was designed to make pocket watches more accurate by negating the effects of gravity, as pocket watches are typically kept in a vertical position all the time. Yet, people today wear their watches on the wrist. The attitude of a wristwatch changes frequently from vertical to horizontal, so the function of tourbillon becomes less practical as in the past. Consequently, watchmakers today have developed bi-axial and tri-axial tourbillons to cancel out the effects of gravity from various directions. The new Tri-Axial Tourbillion created by the Girard-Perregaux is another intricate complication after the Bi-Axial Tourbillon with two bridges released in 2012.

The brand this time takes out the bridges to create enough space for the tourbillon to revolve. The tourbillon has a diameter of 13.78mm and its 140 parts weighs only 1.24g. The interior carriage, shaped like a lyre in typical Girard-Perregaux tradition, rotates once every minute. It is fitted into a structure that rotates on another axis every 30 seconds. Lastly, a third structure enables the whole assembly to rotate on yet another axis every 2 minutes.

The motion of the tourbillon can be admired through a domed sapphire crystal at 9 o’clock. To have additional viewing pleasure, the wearer can appreciate the complex movement structure via a window on the case side. We saw a pink gold version last year, and this new white gold version has made some modifications. It now features a vertical grid pattern dial and sunburst-finished hour and minute sub-dial, highlighting the modernity of the watch. At the heart of this complication is the hand-wound GP09300-0002 movement offering 60 hours of power reserve. And it takes almost 160 hours to assemble the movement. The Tri-Axial Tourbillion comes in a scarce edition of 10 rarities.

Case:white gold
Movement:hand-wound GP09300-0002
Functions:hours, minutes, tri-axial tourbillon, power reserve indicator
Water resistance:30 metres
Limitation:10 pieces
Price:around $3,770,900

The two arrow-shaped bridges in pink gold are now assigned on the caseback.

The Tri-Axial Tourbillon has 3 axes. The rotation times of each axis are different: one minute for the inner cage, 30 seconds for the intermediate cage and 2 minutes for the outer cage.

A window on the left side of the case let the wearer to admire the motion of the tourbillon.

The domed sapphire crystal makes the tourbillon clearly visible.

Neo Tourbillon with Three Bridges

In 1889, the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges pocket watch had its bridges on the caseback. As the name suggests, the three bridges are separately mounted on the barrel, gear train and tourbillon. Girard-Perregaux in 1981 revisited the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, as a determination of returning to the production of watches with mechanical movements. On the occasion of its 200th anniversary in 1991, the Manufacture built the bridges on the dial side to make it so visually captivating thus becoming one of the brand’s most distinctive designs.

In recent years, the Three Gold Bridges have been reinterpreted many times. We’ve seen the bridges made of gold, white gold, sapphire crystal or even diamond. The Manufacture last year presented us the black PVD treated bridges in titanium, which is 50% lighter than the stainless steel. The dark arrow-shaped bridges are expressed in the geometric design, while the bezel-less case features a domed sapphire crystal which allows a very dynamic view into the dial. This year, the brand shows us the latest iteration. We didn’t see anything new from a technical stand point; it still provides 60 hours of power reserve and houses a tourbillon measuring 14.44mm in diameter. Yet, the piece now comes with a DLC titanium case which is lighter than last year’s pink gold version. The price hence is more affordable.

Case:DLC Titanium
Movement:Automatic GP09400-0002
Functions:hours, minutes, small secondsm, tourbillon
Water resistance:30 metres
Price:around $939,400

The bridges are PVD-treated and the dial is sand-blasted and black-treated.

Vintage 1945 Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges 70th anniversary edition

Inspired by the Art Deco, the Manufacture in 1945 created a rectangular watch with simple yet symmetric design. This original piece, however, reappeared after exactly fifty years later and was given the name Vintage 1945. Similar to the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, the Vintage 1945 watches since then have been constantly modified in terms of materials and dial designs. In 2004, the rectangular Vintage 1945 marrying with a round movement of the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges was born. And this year comes the 70th anniversary of the classic Vintage 1945.

To commemorate the anniversary, the Manufacture creates three limited editions: a gold and steel three-hand watch resembling the original model, a tourbillon with three bridges in white gold, and a tourbillon with three bridges paved with diamonds. The case is rectangular so as the GP09600-0028 automatic movement within. The mechanical heart has a dimension of 30.3 x 28.6mm, while the tourbillon occupies 10mm space. To leave the movement structure intact, the platinum micro rotor is therefore assigned beneath the barrel which provides 48 hours of power reserve. The model set with 112 baguette diamonds is limited to 8 pieces only.

Case:white gold
Size:36.1 x 35.25mm
Movement:Automatic GP09600-0028
Functions:hours, minutes, small seconds, tourbillon
Water resistance:30 metres
Limitation:8 pieces
Price:around $2,230,000

The artisan meticulously inserts the baguette diamonds on the curved case.

Constant Escapement L.M.

As a fully fledged manufacture, Girrard-Perregaux has created over 100 movements and registered 80 patents. Not only do they create timepieces in strict accordance with traditional craftsmanship, but also strive to develop avant-garde technology. Back in 19th century, Constant Girard-Perregaux devoted some years to study diverse systems of escapements and particularly that of a tourbilllon. And he finally built the Three Bridges system aligning the barrel, gear train and tourbillon along the same axis. The research on this never stand still. Based on the constant force escapement prototype presented in 2008, the brand took three years of research to bring the butterfly-shaped movement to fruition. This Constant Escapement L.M. is named to pay tribute to the founder, while the initials “LM” stand for Luigi Macaluso, who launched the prototype that year.

The masterpiece rose to fame when it first launched and was awarded with the “Aiguille d’Or” in 2013. The principle of a constant force escapement is that whatever the energy supplied by the barrel, the escapement returns a constant energy to the balance wheel by installing an energy storage unit between the barrel and escapement. Inside Girard-Perregaux’s revolutionary escapement, it integrates the constant force system into the escapement. Lying within the silicon butterfly wing frame, the flexible blade-like silicon hairspring measures 14 micron (one sixth of a hair’s thickness) and stores the energy up. When the energy delivers to the balance wheel from the barrel, the escape wheels will drives the two pallet forks to swing. And the silicon blade gives the escapement its constant force, in other words, constant impulse on every tick and tock. In addition, thanks to its double barrels and its 3 metres of barrel spring, the watch has a long power reserve of 7-day.

Case:white gold
Movement:hand-wound GP09100-0002
Functions:hours, minutes, seconds, 6-day linear power reserve indicator
Water resistance:30 metres
Price:around $933,200

 The signature Three Bridges can be seen in the caseback.

The purple hairspring frame is made of silicon, while the two “eyes” are the escape wheels.

Lady Tourbillon

The iconic Three Bridges is no longer for men only. Girard-Perregaux already created the women’s version a couple of years ago. With a diamond-set bezel, the previous model boasts a mono-coloured mother-of-pearl dial and a barrel decorated with floral pattern at 12 o’clock, showcasing the feminine elegance. This sublime floral pattern in last year’s version grows over the entire mother-of-pearl dial which is meticulously engraved and then filled with colours by artisans. To perfectly match with the hand painted gradient brown flowers, the alligator strap is given a pink gold tone. This petite beauty is 38mm in diameter and houses the GP09600-0025 automatic movement with a platinum micro rotor mounted on the barrel arbor, same as the Neo-Tourbillon’s, providing 48 hours of power reserve and patented by the Manufacture.

Case:pink gold
Movement:Automatic GP09600-0025
Functions:hours, minutes, small seconds, tourbillon
Water resistance:30 metres
Price:around $1,613,600

Cat’s Eye Jewellery Tourbillon with gold bridge

The Cat’s Eye collection is well-known for its oval case since its launch in 2004. The brand in 2013 added a tourbillion model with gold bridge, embedded with more than a thousand diamonds on the case. This year, the latest addition features a mother-of-pearl dial decorated with shell-like pattern and is set with 34 baguette diamonds (2.04 carats) on the case. The exquisite pattern radiates from the tourbillon located at 6 o’clock and the tourbillon itself is fixed stationary by the gold bridge polished and engraved by hand. The watch houses the hand-wound GP09700-00012 movement which offers up to 70 hours of power reserve.

Case:white gold
Size:37.3 x 32.3mm
Movement:hand-wound GP09700-0012
Functions:hours, minutes, small seconds, tourbillon
Water resistance:30 metres
Price:around $1,472,200