Girard-Perregaux Le Corbusier Trilogy

Swiss luxury watch maker Girard-Perregaux introduces a new collection consists of three elegant mechanical timepiece models in association with Foundation Le Corbusier, one of the greatest names in modern architecture and design.

High in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland, a few kilometers east of France, is perched the small town of La Chaux-de-Fonds — for centuries the wellspring of an almost divine congruence of genius. Among those born here: Le Corbusier (né Charles-Edouard Jeanneret), one of the greatest names in modern architecture and design; pioneering automaker Louis Chevrolet; and poet/novelist Blaise Cendrars.

The aesthetic movement L’Art nouveau was refined in La Chaux-de-Fonds — as the old village gave way to a modern city beginning of the 20th century, a regional Art nouveau variant, the “Style Sapin”, emerged here, exclusive to the burgeoning industrial watchmaking centre. And the grace of its architecture and ingenuity of its urban plan have led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The genius inherent to La Chaux-de-Fonds is today best exemplified by the watchmakers of Girard-Perregaux, who – in cooperation with Foundation Le Corbusier – are employing gold, sapphire crystal, steel and even concrete to reinterpret the work of the great Modernist in a series of exceptional new timepieces.  This sublime project is the apotheosis of more than a century of communal history between the Jeanneret and Girard-Perregaux families.

Le Corbusier’s life took him well beyond the shadow of the Jura, of course; he traveled the world designing buildings — and, in some cases, entire cities. Fittingly, he was part of the multinational team of architects that designed the headquarters of the United Nations Secretariat Building in Manhattan — a metaphor, in glass, reinforced concrete and steel, for his own global citizenship.

The Girard-Perregaux Le Corbusier Trilogy, however, reflects the three places that most embodied the concept of home to the man himself, who once observed that “the home should be the treasure chest of living”: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Paris and Marseille.

The model selected by Girard-Perregaux for the basis of the Le Corbusier Trilogy is the Vintage 1945, the year Le Corbusier published one of his most famous works, Les Trois Etablissements Humains (The Three Human Establishments) and devised his anthropometric scale of proportions the Modulor.

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier — La Chaux-de-Fonds
In a marvelous coincidence, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret’s hometown, La Chaux-de-Fonds, happens to be the world capital of watchmaking. Before the world knew him by his pseudonym, Le Corbusier, the young Charles-Edouard spent his formative years in the town’s School of Art, training as a sculptor and engraver.

Inlaid Mother-of-Pearl Dial: Girard-Perregaux’s craftsmen pay tribute to an early Le Corbusier work by faithfully reproducing it in a bas-relief of mother-of-pearl — a nod to both the piece itself and to Le Corbusier’s beginnings as a sculptor and engraver.  Seven exacting days are required to produce each dial, requiring mastery of multiple skills: design, sculpture, polishing and varnishing. The foremost challenge was to preserve the integrity of the original work’s five colors — necessitating considerable patience and meticulous attention to detail.

Technical details

Case
Material: Pink gold
Dimensions: 36.20 x 35.25 mm
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire
Case Back: Sapphire crystal, secured by four screws
Water Resistance: 30 meters

Movement
Girard-Perregaux GP3300-0078, automatic
Calibre: 11½ ”’
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations/hour (4 Hz)
Jewels: 26
Power Reserve: Min. 46 hours
Functions: Hour, minute

Edition
Limited to: Five pieces
Reference: 25880-52-103-HKBA

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier — Paris
Charles-Edouard Jeanneret arrived in Paris in 1917. Three years later, he assumed the nom d’artiste “Le Corbusier.” His timing was propitious; Paris was becoming the global center of the cultural movement known as ‘Modernism’, and Le Corbusier’s painting and architecture alike embraced it, emphasizing elemental geometric forms — “space and light and order,” as he put it.

Although he’s now celebrated along with Mies Van der Rohe or Walter Gropius as a pioneer of modern architecture, Le Corbusier applied his theories about shape to the decorative arts as well. In 1929, along with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier debuted Le Grand Confort at Paris’s Salon d’Automne. Among the pieces shown was his iconic furniture, constructed from a then-unique combination of steel, tanned leather and rawhide.

Metal Dial : The second limited-edition Girard-Perregaux timepiece in this series commemorates Le Corbusier’s contributions to the decorative arts by focusing on materials — pairing a steel case with a cowhide strap to evoke the Le Corbusier chaise longue. The hand-engraved dial reflects his Modulor system of architectural proportion, based on the male figure (human scale) and the “Golden Ratio,” as well as his applied perception of light.

Technical details

Case
Material: Steel
Dimensions: 36.20 x 35.25 mm
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire
Case Back: Sapphire crystal, secured by four screws
Water Resistance: 30 meters

Movement
Girard-Perregaux GP3300-0078, automatic
Calibre: 11½ ”’
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations/hour (4 Hz)
Jewels: 26
Power Reserve: Minimum 46 hours
Functions: Hour, minute

Edition
Limited To: Five pieces
Reference: 25880-11-102-HKBA

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier — Marseille
Arguably Le Corbusier’s most important late work — and certainly his first significant postwar structure — is the Cité Radieuse (“Radiant City”), and Unité d’Habitation (“Housing Unit”) in Marseille, France. Although it was conceptualized earlier, the Marseille building was built from rough-cast reinforced concrete (steel and concrete) — a signature Le Corbusier material — between 1947 and 1952 to help alleviate a severe housing shortage at that time. The colossal 12-story complex accommodates some 1,600 residents and was the inspiration for several similar habitations throughout France, as well as in Berlin — all designed by Le Corbusier and given the same utilitarian name. The Unité d’Habitation was a prime example of the Modulor philosophy — and the design and proportions of the Marseille watch dial are an homage to the Modulor anthropometric scale.

Concrete Dial: For this last component of the Le Corbusier Trilogy, Girard-Perregaux developed a concrete dial requiring three days to pour, dry and meticulously hand-finish. Concrete is an exceptionally uncommon material in watchmaking now, as it was in construction when Le Corbusier used it to build Cité Radieuse. The result is an unparalleled interpretation of Le Corbusier: a seamless blend of watchmaking and architecture.

Technical details

Case
Material: Steel
Dimensions: 36.20 x 35.25 mm
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire
Case Back: Sapphire crystal, secured by four screws
Water Resistance: 30 meters

Movement
Movement: Girard-Perregaux GP3300-0078, automatic
Calibre: 11½ ”’
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations/hour (4 Hz)
Jewels: 26
Power Reserve: Minimum 46 hours
Functions: Hour, minute

Edition
Limited to: Five pieces
Reference: 25880-11-101-HKBA

The rights for the reproduction of works by Le Corbusier are granted to Girard-Perregaux in exchange for a charitable donation to the Fondation Le Corbusier, to help restore Villa “Le Lac” in Corseaux, Switzerland; and to the Association Maison Blanche, for the ongoing preservation and maintenance of the Maison Jeanneret-Perret in La-Chaux-de-Fonds,Switzerland.

About the Le Corbusier Foundation
The Foundation, in accordance with its statutes and its missions, has devoted all of its resources to the conservation, knowledge and dissemination of Le Corbusier’s work. It is based in Paris.

About the Maison Blanche Association
The Association owns the house which Charles-Edouard Jeanneret Le Corbusier built for his parents in 1912 and works to guarantee its structural integrity and conservation, to ensure it fulfils a cultural role in the general public interest and to highlight Le Corbusier’s legacy in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

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