While the watches at SIHH change every year, one thing stays reassuringly the same, and that is the drama surrounding them. Sometimes it’s big, like the deregulation of the Swiss Franc. Sometimes it’s small, like a brand being a little too obsfucatory in a press release over the origins of a movement. This year everyone’s tongues seemed to be wagging about a) Moser’s cheesy take on the industry, and b) the Girard-Perregaux Laureato. Feel free to disagree with us, but we think the majority of noise around the Laureato – specifically around its look and legitimacy – is well and truly blown out of proportion, as is so often the case with ‘controversies’ like these. But that’s just the tip of the GP iceberg in 2017, with lots to discuss around other models, too. Watch on!
In the spectrum of colour, grey is quite the double agent. There it goes, trudging along amid notions of overcast skies, mind-numbing office cubicles, uncertainty. But just as we’re all stifling a yawn at its inherent dowdiness, what’s this we see? There goes grey playing its other hand in a realm populated by wolves and weimaraners, silver foxes with steely gazes, marble and moodiness. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the grey matter we’re interested in – executed perfectly, as it happens, in the anthracite hue of this Girard-Perregaux Cat’s Eye Power Reserve. We’ve talked before about embracing colour at the wrist, but let’s be honest: though this is a world away from your usual black and brown options, it’s a far less daunting leap than anything genuinely bright. Adding to the style quota is the horizontally elliptical case at 37.84mm by 32.84mm, which, combined with the slender grey alligator strap, makes this watch an excellent choice for daintier arms. Sixty-four diamonds stand guard on the bezel, while eight more act as indices on the dial itself, dotted between Arabic numerals at 6, 9 and 12. Meanwhile, the backdrop of two contrasting textures – a smooth crescent hugging a guilloche section – create… Read More
Let’s get this out of the way early on. Does the Girard-Perregaux Laureato share some visual similarities with other well-known luxury steel sports watches? Sure, but we can easily think of half a dozen watches that fit that particular bill. AP and Patek don’t have a monopoly on ’70s design. And make no mistake, the Laureato is very much a ’70s design. In fact, as far as watch designs go, it’s got a great backstory. The first Laureato, released in 1975, was a quartz, arriving as it did six years after the invention of the quartz wristwatches. Not only that, it was (according to GP) the first quartz movement made entirely in-house, and it also determined the frequency standard 32,768 Hz that’s still used today. Quite a feat given the novel and complex technologies involved. The watch – designed by an Italian architect, its octagonal bezel inspired by the footprint of Florence’s famous dome – was a hit, and by the latter part of the decade it had become GP’s best-seller. Even then, the key elements of bezel, hobnail dial pattern and integrated bracelet were key design features. And it’s not like the Laureato has suddenly reappeared after a long absence. The collection was given an upgrade… Read More
The story in a second: The most important Girard-Perregaux of 2015 isn’t the one that just won a major prize. When Antonio Calce came on board as Girard-Perregaux’s CEO at the start of 2015, he discovered a sleeping giant. One of Switzerland’s most storied brands, GP had over 200 years of history at its disposal – but this legacy was underutilised. Calce resolved to remedy this situation by simplifying product offerings, capitalising on the impressive in-house capacity at his disposal, and placing a greater emphasis on Girard-Perregaux’s museum. That GP recently took home the award for the best striking watch at the GPHG for their Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges is proof that they’re doing things right at the big-budget end of town. But while this recognition is important, Calce says, “You don’t build a brand with high-end products, you build prestige. You need an entry level product to attract new customers.” The perfect product to do that is the new 1966 in steel. The elegant 1966 is already a flagship watch for the brand. At 40mm, with an opaline dial and leaf-shaped hands, powered by a beautifully finished in-house movement, it rivals the Calatrava or Patrimony for simplicity… Read More
Girard-Perregaux’s Vintage 1945 collection is, as the name suggests it’s most historically inspired collection – a square case design that takes its inspiration from a 1945 design. The latest addition to the collection, the Vintage 1945 Large Date Moonphase takes Girard-Perregaux’s classic and reserved collection in some new directions. The case of this Girard-Perregaux, in either steel or pink gold (we think the contrasts of the pink gold make it clear winner for this watch) is clearly inspired by the past, an architectural square, full of soft curves and distinctive, deco-inspired lugs. But if the case evokes the past, the dial of this watch clearly speaks to the future – for the first time the movement is put front and centre, thanks to the translucent sapphire dial the in-house movement becomes the star of the show, allowing the wearer to observe the usually hidden workings of the watch. The large date and moonphase complications are perfect choices for this sort of watch, and as a combo they’re the horological equivalent of peanut butter and jelly – a practical and aesthetically pleasing partnership. And the big date on this watch has an almost funky, ‘70s vibe thanks to the aperture and date… Read More
Time+Tide photographer Kristian Dowling met his match recently when he was pitted against the Girard-Perregaux 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon in a thrilling photographic duel. The timepiece presents all kinds of complexities to shoot. It is the last Jackpot piece produced by the manufacture and retails for $903,00AUD. We spoke to KD after the intensive man vs metal experience. These were his thoughts: Why was it so hard to shoot? Why was the front of the piece so tough in particular? The watch is total bling and has a lot of reflective surfaces. Avoiding reflections was the biggest problem to overcome, especially when shooting the whole front of the watch-face. I was shooting it at the dealer ‘Monards’ and not in a controlled environment like a studio, using minimal equipment, so I had to improvise using a couple of lights and a white piece of paper, which was the final piece to the puzzle. What little details about the watch impressed you? I loved the tourbillon of course, but that’s because I’m a watch-nut. Really, what truly makes this watch unique is the ‘slot machine’ mechanism. I achieved 3 spades on my third go so I was thrilled. Shame I didn’t win anything,… Read More
The 1966 collection from Girard-Perregaux is the brand’s most popular, and most conservatively good looking, collection. So it’s natural that GP continue to add to the collection. The latest evolution is the 1966 Dual Time, which incorporates a new in-house movement and a second timezone into the understated 1966 design mix. It’s a good looking watch with really well executed dial symmetry and balance – it’s easy to go overboard embellishing a simple design like the 1966, but GP have kept it restrained, yet readable and functional (clear date and second time zone numerals), with enough details – like the red leaf second time zone hand, and the noticeably raised indices to keep it interesting. Honestly, it’s a design that wouldn’t look out of place if it read ‘Patek Philippe’ on the dial. High praise indeed. One point that is a little odd about this watch are the two pushers at 2 and 4… Because this watch ain’t no chronograph. Turns out these are used to alter the second time, either forwards or backwards. Maybe if I was flying to Perth every second day I’d find this sort of on the fly quick change handy, but I suspect most people will… Read More
Girard Perregaux is one of the grand old dames of La-Chaux-de-Fonds, tracing its beginnings back to the heady, revolutionary days of 1791. But let’s just say that until very recently GP was showing its age, with a too-broad collection of watches, lacking cohesion and mired in its past. But 2011 marked the start of a new era for Girard Perregaux (GP). The company started aggressively releasing awe inspiring highly complicated watches, including the lauded Constant Escapement – which won the “Aiguille d’Or” At The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie De Genève – and this year’s ambitious Tri-Axial Tourbillion. Highly complicated watches (often called haute horlogerie or high horology) are the supercars of the watch world. They are frankly insane, often impractical, outrageously expensive and ultimately desirable. These low production watches are also an important way for brands to experiment with new ideas and technologies. The man who has been leading the high horology charge at Girard Perregaux, which has heralded this new era is Michele Sofisti, CEO of the Sowind Group, Girard Perregaux’s parent company. It turns out that Michele Sofisti was the perfect antidote to a chilly Melbourne morning – he’s a man of great warmth and humor, and clearly passionate about the brands he looks… Read More