Girard-Perregaux is a Swiss high-end watch manufacturer tracing its origins back to 1791. The history of the brand is marked by legendary watches that combine sharp design with innovative technology such as the renowned Tourbillon with three gold bridges presented by Constant Girard-Perregaux in 1889 at the Paris Universal exhibition where he was awarded a gold medal.
Devoted to the creation of state-of-the-art Haute Horlogerie, Girard-Perregaux is one of the very few watchmakers to unite all the skills of design and manufacture under the same roof including the forging of the “heart” of the watch, the movement. With over 80 registered patents, Girard-Perregaux is fully committed to research and development to constantly fuse its unique heritage into modern watchmaking. Girard-Perregaux is part of the Kering Group (Earlier known as PPR), a world leader in apparel and accessories which develops an ensemble of powerful Luxury and Sport & Lifestyle brands.
The origins of Girard-Perregaux are inextricably linked with two iconic figures in Swiss watchmaking. The first was Jean-François Bautte, born in 1772 in Geneva to a modest working-class family. Orphaned very young, he was apprenticed at the age of twelve and trained variously as a case fitter, guillocheur, watchmaker, jeweller and goldsmith. He signed his first watches in 1791 and, with his talents as a craftsman reinforced by a head for business, soon developed his own manufacture, bringing together under the same roof all the watchmaking professions of the period. Here he produced timepieces, jewels, machines, music boxes and other objets de vertu.
Counting European royalty among his clients, this shrewd businessman and industrialist established commercial dealings not only with the courts of Europe, but also with Turkey, India and China. Dumas, Balzac and Ruskin, among others, devoted pages to Geneva’s most famous watchmaker-jeweller and one of the inventors of the extra-thin watch. Upon his death in 1837, he left an extraordinarily rich industrial and cultural heritage to his successors Jacques Bautte and Jean-Samuel Rossel.
The second iconic figure in the history of Girard-Perregaux was Constant Girard, a native of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Born in 1825 in the city nestled in the Neuchâtel Mountains, Constant Girard founded the Girard & Cie firm in 1852.
Two years later he married Marie Perregaux (1831-1912), born to a family of important watch merchants from Le Locle. The Girard-Perregaux Manufacture was born from the marriage of their two names in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1856.
Constant Girard-Perregaux was particularly acclaimed for his research into escapement systems, notably the tourbillon escapement. The quality and beauty of his creations were rewarded by a number of prizes and distinctions at national and international competitions, and also at Universal Exhibitions.
In 1867, he presented a tourbillon which was a prize winner at the Paris Universal Exhibition. The culmination came in 1889, when his famous Tourbillon with three gold Bridges, established as the icon of the Girard-Perregaux firm, won a gold medal at The Paris Universal Exhibition.
|Tourbillon with three gold Bridges by Constant Girard-Perregaux, 1889|
The watchmaker was a true visionary. In 1880, he developed a wrist watch concept aimed at German naval officers, which was ordered by the German Kaiser Wilhelm I. The glass was shielded by a grille to protect it from shocks. Two thousand watches were produced, making this model the first major commercial wrist watch ever developed. However, the idea, which was revolutionary at the time, failed to catch on immediately. Indeed, it would not be until the beginning of the following century that the wrist watch would achieve its familiar popular success.
Nurtured and developed by the Girard Perregaux family, the Manufacture gained recognition well beyond Europe. It was among the first to introduce the Swiss watch in America, where Constant Girard-Perregaux, along with his brothers-in-law Henri (1828-1893) and Jules Perregaux (1838-1903), set up offices.
|Yellow Gold Pocket Watch made by Girard-Perregaux for South American Market, circa 1878|
In 1865, Henri set off for Argentina, accompanied by his wife. He set up in Buenos Aires as the special agent for Girard-Perregaux in various North and South American States. From 1872, his remit extended to the West Indies. He spent sixteen years of his life helping the Brand prosper and flourish in all the American markets.
Girard-Perregaux expanded its global presence to Asia, a remarkable achievement made possible by one of Marie’s brothers, François Perregaux (1834-1877), who was among the pioneers of Swiss watchmaking in Japan. In 1859 he left for Asia with a mandate from the Watchmaking Union to establish an export business. In 1860 he settled in Yokohama, thus becoming the first Swiss watch merchant to establish himself in the Land of the Rising Sun. In 1865 he founded F. Perregaux & Co. One of the leading figures in the French-speaking community in Japan and one of its longest-established residents, he was the official agent for Girard-Perregaux until his death in 1877.
At the dawn of the 20th century, Girard-Perregaux enjoyed unparalleled renown. Its predominance at international exhibitions was such that the firm was judged ineligible for awards, then appointed a permanent jury member of the international watch exhibitions in recognition for its constant quest for precision. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin himself measured his flight tests using Girard-Perregaux timepieces. When Constant Girard-Perregaux died in 1903, his son Constant Girard-Gallet (1856-1945) took over control of the Manufacture. In 1906, he took over the famous Bautte firm, merging it with Girard-Perregaux and Cie. And so two celebrated names in Swiss watchmaking were united forever.
In 1928, Otto Graef (1862-1948), a watchmaker of German origin established in La Chaux-de-Fonds since the age of 20 and owner of the MIMO Brand (Manufacture Internationale de Montres Or), took over the capital stock of Girard-Perregaux.
His company took on a global dimension. In 1930, sales of wrist watches exceeded those of pocket watches for the first time, fifty years after Constant Girard-Perregaux had conceived this method of wearing a timepiece. In the 1940s, the Girard-Perregaux Brand pursued its development both in Europe and the Americas, especially with the Sea Hawk water-resistant model, while the MIMO Brand was primarily distributed on European markets. The year 1945 saw the creation of a rectangular Art deco inspired model, which would be revived fifty years later and dubbed the Vintage 1945.
|Girard-Perregaux Rectangular Art deco watch, circa 1945|
In the late 1960s, Girard-Perregaux was one of the very few manufactures to have its own internal R&D team. This research department would enable the Brand to develop several revolutionary movements. In 1966, it presented the first high frequency movement, with a 36,000 vibrations/hour balance: the Gyromatic HF. This discovery fundamentally changed the world of chronometry. Watches equipped with this movement naturally achieved excellent rate performances. Girard-Perregaux was awarded certificates from the Observatories for its series-produced watches, in competitions where only watches which had been specially prepared would pass the tests. That same year, the Neuchâtel State Council decided to recognise the work and developments of Girard-Perregaux by awarding the Brand the Observatory Centenary Prize.
Numerous innovations followed: in 1970, the first commercial presentations of Swiss quartz watches, including the Girard-Perregaux Elcron model, took place at the Basel Watchmaking Fair. In 1971, Girard-Perregaux unveiled the world’s first watch to be equipped with a quartz movement vibrating at 32,768 Hertz, now the frequency universally adopted by all manufacturers. In 1975, to celebrate its technological discoveries, the brand created a sport model equipped with an octagonal polished bezel and an integrated satin-finished bracelet, known as the Laureato.
In the late 1970s, faced with the rise of quartz, the Swiss watchmaking industry was in deep crisis. Girard-Perregaux was one of the first prestigious watch companies to take up the challenge of a return to traditional mechanical timepieces. Girard-Perregaux’s master-watchmakers set about remaking twenty of the famous Tourbillon with three gold Bridges pocket watches: Number one was unveiled in 1981.
In 2010, to celebrate its bicentenary, the Manufacture achieved the feat of producing a version of the Tourbillon with three gold Bridges miniaturised to wrist watch size.
|Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon with three gold Bridges pocket watch, 2010|
The Italian entrepreneur, architect and former racing driver Luigi Macaluso took over the reins of Girard-Perregaux in 1992. With a wealth of experience in the watchmaking industry, he knew the Brand well: he had been the Brand’s official importer in Italy for many years and joined the Board of Directors in 1989.
Under his guidance, Girard-Perregaux became one of the major players in the Haute Horlogerie industry. His co-branding agreement with Ferrari led to a remarkable collection of sport and grande complication models between 1994 and 2004, all stamped with the legendary “Prancing Horse”.
|Girard-Perregaux – Ferrari Collection|
At a time when many Swiss watchmaking companies were using external suppliers for their finished or semi-finished movements, Girard-Perregaux undertook a massive effort to develop its manufacturing strategy. Major investments followed, particularly in the area of research and development. In 1994, a new family of ultrathin calibres known as the GP3000 and GP3100 was launched. In 1999, for its entry to the SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie), Girard-Perregaux presented a self-winding version of its famous Tourbillon with three gold Bridges, thanks to an ingenious patented platinum microrotor system positioned under the barrel.
In the same year, it developed a new column wheel chronograph movement 23.30 mm in diameter, fitted in a Small Chronograph model designed for women. The firm’s heritage was also given the limelight. In 1997, the Villa Marguerite, an early 20th century building in La Chaux-de-Fonds, was purchased and refurbished to house the new Girard-Perregaux Museum.
Developments and innovations continued into the 21st century. The Brand expanded its portfolio of movements: in 2001, it unveiled a movement with a new patented date display system, with a large window and a moon phase indicator. Renewing its key role in the history of the quartz watch, the Brand unveiled a new family of movements employing this technology. In 2006, it added the calibre GP2700 (19.40 mm) and GP4500 (30.60 mm) to its portfolio of self-winding mechanical movements.
It also developed its collections: in 2000 the ww.tc model was presented, featuring the ingenious and elegant combination of a chronograph with a world time indicator; a new design for Sea Hawk diving watches in 2002 and the launch of the Cat’s Eye in 2004, a line of ultra-feminine watches fitted with mechanical complication movements.
Girard-Perregaux indulged the art of Haute Horlogerie, unveiling new interpretations of some of its flagship models: the innovative Laureato Evo3 Tourbillon with three sapphire Bridges in 2006, and the Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon in 2007 were two examples.
|Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon|
The Brand was also responsible for two world firsts: a perpetual calendar combined with world times (2006) and the Split Second Foudroyante Chronograph Tourbillon (2008). More than ever focused on innovation, it unveiled a spectacular development in 2008: a movement fitted with a constant force escapement dubbed “Echappement Constant “. Revolutionary in every respect, it opened the way for the creation of Haute Horlogerie mechanisms of unrivalled precision.
In 2010, to celebrate its bicentenary, Girard-Perregaux introduced a version of the Tourbillon with three gold Bridges miniaturised to wrist watch size (45 mm).
In addition to this dynamism in the area of technical innovation, Girard-Perregaux increased its international renown with the opening of its first exclusive boutique in Gstaad. In 2010, with the opening of « Girard-Perregaux on Madison » the Manufacture continues its development with an exclusive boutique in New York located at 701 Madison Avenue.
In 2013, Girard-Perregaux launched their first Haute Horlogerie collection integrated with Constant Escapement, the device stands out with its resolutely technical and contemporary design, with a nod Girard-Perregaux’s codes and its creative tradition.
|First model in the Constant Escapement collection, 2013|
Girard-Perregaux is one of the few authentic Swiss watchmaking Manufactures (from the Latin “manufactura” – to make by hand). The concept of the Manufacture is that of a company adopting a holistic approach to watchmaking, defining, creating, developing and producing both the exterior components of the watch and its core – the movement.
Girard-Perregaux follows an integrated, value-added approach which is fundamental in producing an authentic product stamped with its own genuine identity, rather than a simple assembly of components. Girard-Perregaux’s Manufacture allows it to offer one of the most comprehensive movement portfolios in the Haute Horlogerie industry, ranging from self-winding mechanical movements for all types of watches to quartz movements. This status means it must constantly overcome challenges to achieve an ever-higher level of quality and reliability.
Each “Manufacture” watch expresses the concept of comprehensive expertise attached to an object which is made unique. The source of this uniqueness lies in the subtle combination of integrated technical expertise and a state of the art approach to style. The Girard-Perregaux workshops in La Chaux-de-Fonds bring together tens of different skills and the most finely developed production centres, at the service of this philosophy. These highly qualified professionals give their all to ensure that their passion is reflected in truly exceptional creations.
It takes time and passion to create the most precious pieces. Within the Girard-Perregaux Manufacture, the creation of a new model can sometimes take years. The engineer works constantly on the design of a movement, modelling his ideas for months on end; the master-watchmaker assembles, dismantles and then reassembles over one hundred components, as many times as he deems necessary to achieve a perfectly balanced mechanism; the beveller shines fragile, tiny metal parts up to five times in succession, ensuring a flawless finish on components which, nonetheless,will be hidden inside the watch. Each one devotes all his experience to perfecting the tiniest details, with meticulous patience.
Each Girard-Perregaux watch is thus subjected to the utmost care. It is manufactured, engraved, decorated and assembled by hand using expertise enriched by generations of craftsmen, then subjected to stringent quality tests. Haute Horlogerie is an extraordinary world, where the work is not simply guided by what trends dictate, but where each creation takes shape over a long period, observing the rules of an art concerned above all with quality.
It involves precision mechanical work and the ongoing quest for perfection, but also authenticity and emotion. Alongside these specialists working at a minute scale, you will understand how the human hand, with patience, mastery and enthusiasm, can fashion the finest creations.
Girard-Perregaux has always been deeply committed to innovation. The “Maison” has always been able to effectively overcome major challenges, with its pioneering role in the technological domain key to this success. It has been responsible for nearly eighty patents in the watchmaking industry, building an extraordinarily rich heritage over the years.
As far back as 25 March 1884, it applied to the United States Patent Office for a patent covering the American territory for its Tourbillon under three gold Bridges movement. Moving into the 20th century, the Manufacture developed the first high-frequency movement, operating at 36,000 vibrations/hour, in 1966.
In the early 1970s, with the first commercial presentations of quartz watches, Girard-Perregaux also unveiled the first watch in the world to be fitted with a movement containing a quartz crystal vibrating at 32,768 Hertz. This frequency is now adopted by the vast majority of manufacturers.
Girard-Perregaux devotes much of its attention to research & development. This activity is a fundamental element which guarantees the longevity of both the Brand and its timepieces, and drives the perennial desire for improvement. It has, for example, led to the development of the “Constant Escapement”, a completely new type of mechanism unveiled in 2008. The purpose of this constant force escapement is to enable Haute Horlogerie movements of unrivalled accuracy to be produced. Continuing the rich heritage which characterises the Brand, it regularly writes new chapters in the history of its ongoing quest for perfection.
Girard-Perregaux watches are not merely reproductions of its past successes, but are developed with a different, modern outlook so that the company’s 200-year heritage is reflected in the application of the latest technology.
A sophisticated mechanism should have an accordingly refined and tailored exterior. This focus on the compatibility between new forms and functions leads to a richly interpretative take on watchmaking design, which is expressed in all facets of the watches, down to the finest details of the case or bracelet. Haute Horlogerie movement elements, such as the shape of the tourbillon carriage or the design of the three gold Bridges, have become characteristic of the Girard-Perregaux style.
|Tourbillon with three golden bridges movement|
Among other notable distinguishing features, the elongated ergonomic shape of the lugs means that the watch snugly follows the contours of the wrist, while the seamless integration of the bracelet in the case creates an optimum feeling of comfort. Dials are made easy to read thanks to various processes, such as the patented system featuring a large date with a single window at 12 o’clock. Bright colours are only employed in very small touches, such as red to emphasise a chronograph’s sporty character. Girard-Perregaux’s aesthetic codes give its creations a lasting aura and a recognised brand identity.
Mechanical watchmaking is an exceptional world, where each new item is put together over a long period according to the precise rules of an art concerned with quality. Every “Manufacture” watch expresses the concept of comprehensive know-how attached to an object that becomes unique. The source of this uniqueness lies in the subtle alliance of integrated technical expertise and a cutting-edge approach to style. The Girard-Perregaux workshops in La Chaux-de-Fonds bring together tens of different skills and the most finely developed production centres, at the service of this philosophy.
A work of precision mechanics, a Girard-Perregaux watch is also a mark of passion and emotion. It has an extra spark instilled in it by the attention its creators have paid to it. It sometimes takes years to create a new model. The engineer works constantly on the design of a movement, modelling their ideas for months on end; the master-watchmaker assembles, dismantles and then reassembles over one hundred components, as many times as they deem necessary to achieve a perfectly balanced mechanism; the beveller shines tiny, fragile metal parts up to five times in succession, ensuring an impeccable finish on these components. Each one devotes all their experience to perfecting the watchmaking creations, with meticulous patience.
Every Girard-Perregaux watch is therefore subject to the closest care. It is conceived, manufactured, engraved, hand decorated, assembled and subjected to stringent quality tests according to know-how enriched by generations of craftsmen.
Exceptional Range of Movements
The Manufacture is the key to the Girard-Perregaux vault, the pillar of its independence and its creative force. It is the cornerstone of the legitimacy of the watchmaking enterprise, conceiving, developing and producing the components and the movements of its watches. In the logic of this global approach, it joins forces with the Group’s case and bracelet factory, the “Ateliers Bautte”, whose ultra-modern machine park enables the processing of a wide range of materials. Particularly innovative calibres are developed thanks to the Research and Development Department, as evidenced by its collection of fascinating “Haute Horlogerie” complications.
Girard-Perregaux is thus able to offer an extended range of both mechanical and quartz movements. It has notably a complete range of automatic mechanical movements. Symbolic of the Manufacture’s wealth of own production facilities, the four families presented here can equip all types of gents and ladies watches.
- GP2700, self-winding mechanical movement – 8 ¾ ‘’’
- GP 3200, self-winding mechanical movement – 10 ½ ‘’’
- GP 3300, self-winding mechanical movement – 11 ½ ‘’’
- GP4500, self-winding mechanical movement – 13 ¼ ‘’
(Click here for more info on all GP calibres)
Girard-Perregaux “Constant Escapement”: a true revolution
This is a spectacular breakthrough. In their quest for precision, the most renowned watchmakers have being searching for a long time for ways to improve the escapement. This mechanism, ﬁtted between the gears and the regulating organ of the watch, enables to supply to the balance, at regular intervals, the energy contained in a mainspring (barrel). Its precision and its reliability are strategic for chronometry. During centuries, tens of different kinds of escapements were invented.
The “Swiss” lever escapement –in the second half of the 19th century– took the lead: today, it is used in the vast majority of mechanical watches. Motivated by the wish of increasing performances, some have tried to improve this system, but without changing its core fundamentals.
Girard-Perregaux has decided to focus its efforts not on an evolution but on a true revolution: a brand new concept of escapement with a radically different architecture. It was named “Constant” Escapement as a tribute to watchmaker Constant Girard –one of the fathers of the Brand– and it is subject of a patent application by the Manufacture.
Remaining loyal to the Brand’s tradition of innovation in the ﬁeld of chronometry, the R&D department was able to achieve a major project: a constant-force escapement. This mechanism is made of ﬁve pieces; among them, the strategic component is a ﬁne Silicium blade, just marginally thicker than a human hair. Its principle is based on this elastic element that enables to deliver constant energy through a clever usage of the bi-stable properties of a buckled-blade. After months of calculations and development, this theoretical conception became concrete thanks to the use of avant-garde materials and the most advanced manufacturing technologies.
Progresses made in the deep etching techniques of Silicium were essential to the success of this project. The escapement enables to deliver constant energy impulses to the oscillator, which means constant amplitude and constant rate, despite a variable source of energy. It provides two pulses per oscillation, while the previous attempts in the area of constant-force escapements were providing only one.
This technological achievement stems from the ability of the blade to keep and deliver energy impulses, giving an effect of waves. With a rectangular section, this blade is extremely thin, since its thickness is no more than twenty micrometres for a width barely exceeding the tenth of millimetre. It is circumscribed by a large elliptic frame measuring twenty millimetres long and providing a perfect positioning. Despite very different sections, frame and blade are manufactured in one by the technology of Silicium etching. This technology enables to generate surfaces so far impossible to reach in the watchmaking industry.
The engraved ﬂank –in contact with adjacent pieces– presents a real interest in terms of tribology (reduced friction between moving parts). The plane surfaces also exhibit unusual aesthetics: they reﬂect with changing colours, from turquoise blue to deep purple, depending to the angle of vision. This characteristic is due to the extremely thin layer of oxide covering the Silicium, which produces –like a drip of oil on water– these iridescent colours called “interference colours”. They enhance the spectacular aspect and the visual interest of the invention.
It took years of development, all the expertise and the perseverance of passionate engineers and watchmakers from Girard-Perregaux to lead to this revolution. From the initial idea to the first “tick-tack” of the prototype, the project was staked out by a long series of steps and rebounds. But this is just a new beginning. The “Constant” Escapement is a true technological advance which opens new horizons for producing mechanical watches with unprecedented chronometric potential. This provides wide perspectives to engineers and watchmakers. Girard-Perregaux is taking on the challenge to continue development in the ﬁeld enriching its legacy in chronometry.
80 patents open up new horizons
Its status of a genuine Manufacture has enabled Girard-Perregaux to play a pioneering role, when it comes to the protection of intellectual property, with almost 80 patents registered within a century, concerning all or part of watch movements, as well as exterior elements, such as cases and bracelets.
Girard-Perregaux undertook to protect its inventions well before intellectual property protection was of concern in Switzerland. With effect from 25 March 1884, the Brand registered a patent to cover its subsequently famous Tourbillon movement with 3 parallel gold Bridges in the form of arrows, on American soil with the United States Patent Office.
|US patent, Tourbillon movement with 3 parallel gold Bridges, 1884|
In the long list of registrations that followed, here are some examples of the ingenuity of the Girard-Perregaux researchers: in 1933, they presented a clever system of interchangeable bracelets. In 1942, when calculators as we know them today were still in the land of dreams, a watch with a calculating ruler was created. Four years later, a watch displaying several time zones was patented. In 1949, it was an alarm watch with a sound amplifier in its case.
In 1965, it was the turn of the high frequency movement, Gyromatic HF, the famous 36,000 vibrations/hour, still considered by some today as the last useful improvement made to the mechanical watch.
|Observatory Chronometerwatch, with Gyromatic HF, 1966|
The famous Observatory Chronometerwatch was equipped with Gyromatic HF. In 1966, the Neuchâtel State Council decided to recognise the work and developments of Girard-Perregaux by awarding the Brand the Observatory Centenary Prize.
In 1970, Girard-Perregaux presented the first quartz watch produced industrially in Switzerland. It was also the first watch in the world to be fitted with a quartz movement that vibrated at 32,768 Hertz, the frequency adopted universally by manufacturers today. Closer to home, between 1985 and 1997, it’s a mechanism with a perpetual calendar that was presented and perfected. Not content with automatically correcting the ends of the months with less than 31 days, including during leap years, it displayed time cycles that were less common in a wrist watch, such as the signs of the zodiac, the seasons or the solstices and the equinoxes.
In 2001, a column-wheel chronograph mechanism was registered, with dimensions enabling it to be fitted to ladies watches. These last years, Girard-Perregaux has presented a lot of novelties which reveal this innovative spirit. And this long tradition of inventions is not about to come to an end. At the moment, The Research & Development team is working on an important project concerning chronometry.
Exceptional Watch Collections
1. Girard-Perregaux 1966
In the 1960s, Girard-Perregaux was one of the very few watchmaking Manufactures to have its own Research & Development team. In 1966, it launched the first High Frequency movement, which would provide exceptional accuracy performance. So much so, that 73% of the chronometer certificates awarded by the Neuchatel Observatory in 1967 were issued to Girard-Perregaux.
The Girard-Perregaux 1966 collection pays tribute to this era, incorporating the fruits of the Manufacture’s constant commitment to innovation, with its automatic winding movements in a particularly elegant, extra-thin case.
|Girard-Perregaux 1966 Annual Calendar & Equation of Time|
Launched in 2006, the discreet elegance and superb craftsmanship of the Girard-Perregaux 1966 collection quickly established it as an icon of the Brand. Girard-Perregaux 1966 collection offers Annual Calendar & Equation of time, Chronograph, Full Calendar, Small Seconds, Minute repeater, moon phases and ladies versions.
2. Vintage 1945
Vintage 1945 collection illustrates Girard-Perregaux’s creative force and mastery of design. Its fluid lines establish a new vision of watchmaking elegance, while adhering to the codes of an Art Deco style watch created in 1945.
Art Deco revolutionised the inter-war period, sparking major changes in the world of visuals and decoration. The new players in architecture, interior design, fashion, painting and photography established simplicity, geometry and structural coherence as fundamental concepts. The right angle and refined forms aimed for perfection. Inspired by this burst of creativity, in 1945 Girard-Perregaux signed a watch illustrating these principles.
|Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Tourbillon with three gold Bridges|
Today the new Vintage 1945 offers a modern reading of this style. Paying tribute to its heritage, the Manufacture has carried out a radical rethink of the historic model to invent a contemporary creation. Notable models from this collection are Vintage 1945 Tourbillon with three gold Bridges, Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon,Vintage 1945 XXL Chronograph,Vintage 1945 XXL Off-centered hours and minutes,Vintage 1945 Large Date Moon-phases and Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier Triology.
The traveler series (ww.tc) from Girard-Perregaux offers highly functional timepieces suitable for globetrotters and business travelers. These highly sought after watches are equipped with “world times” function and other indications such as date, chronograph or chronograph with flyback, and day/night indicator.
|Girard-Perregaux WW.TC Chronograph White Ceramic|
4. Cat’s Eye
Ever since its launch in 2004, the Cat’s Eye has exercised its potent charm on women around the world. With its seductive femininity and strong personality, it also offers women subtle technical complexities rooted in Switzerland’s grandest horological tradition.
|Girard-Perregaux Cat’s Eye Jewellery|
The Cat’s Eye collection dedicates beautiful watchmaking pieces to women. The refinement of the pieces rivals their attention to detail. Its emblematic design, which has won numerous distinctions, is highlighted by precious materials and manufacture movements, both simple and with complications. The collection proves that fine watchmaking is far from being the prerogative solely of men.
5. Sea Hawk
The Sea Hawk collection is dedicated for divers and water sports enthusiasts. This collection offers genuine diving instruments entirely developed by the Girard Perregaux Manufacture. Cutting-edge technology and know-how have achieved a water resistance to a depth of 1000 metres for the latest Sea Hawk models.
|Sea Hawk Pro 1000m|
The Sea Hawk diving models are equipped with a self-winding movement and case developed, produced and tested by the Manufacture. The case is equipped with a uni-directional rotating bezel for calculating dive times, and with a helium valve used for decompressing the watch after deep dives.
6. Haute Horlogerie
Complication watches embody the true essence of the watchmaking art. For over two centuries, Girard-Perregaux has distinguished itself with remarkable creations, including its legendary Tourbillon with three gold Bridges.
This icon of the Brand marries design and technical mastery, and is as much an incarnation of inspired creativity as of watchmaking expertise. In its image, Girard-Perregaux Haute Horlogerie watches are distinguished by the quality of their mechanism, their excellent finishing and their aesthetic inventiveness. Their design and manufacture require not only consummate technical accomplishment, but also extraordinary expertise.
|Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon with three gold Bridges|
These authentic masterpieces are forged from noble materials by the hands of expert watchmakers. Composed of hundreds of parts, some of which are microscopic, they are subjected to rigourous tests to guarantee their reliability. Minute repeaters Tourbillons, perpetual calendars, split second chronographs and other complications form a varied collection which breathes new life into the art of fine watchmaking.
|GIRARD-PERREGAUX DLC TITANIUM BI-AXIAL TOURBILLON|
Click here to Visit Girard Perregaux timepieces archives
Girard Perregaux Museum
Since 1999, the Villa Marguerite shelters the collections of the Museum Girard Perregaux. This proud stone building of Bourgogne dominates a vast park, just above the Girard-Perregaux’s headquarters. It was built in 1918, by the entrepreneur from La Chaux de Fonds Charles Nuding.
Girard-Perregaux acquired it in 1997. After a meticulous restoration of two years, it was opened to a public of amateurs and collectors, by appointment. About 400 rooms, collections tell the story of the brand since his its distant Geneva origins background of 1791 until our days. The Museum is at present in transformation processing. A new interactive museography emphasizing the peculiarities of each of the exposed rooms is in progress.
Several reports of the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889 referred to the outstanding display cases of Girard-Perregaux particularly mentioning an extraordinarily beautiful, high-precision chronometer that impressed all who saw it. Its movement was a technical masterpiece with an original structure, and the sumptuous decoration of its case was an exceptional demonstration of engraving that involved most of the techniques of the art.
|La Esmeralda, 1889|
Winner of Gold medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889, this pocket-watch with its fascinating tourbillon movement was later named “La Esmeralda”. Over the months before the International Exhibition, it had achieved some remarkable test results at the Neuchâtel Observatory in Switzerland, attested by the institution’s issue of its rating certificate. Then, at the exhibition, it was awarded a gold medal by the jury who recognised the perfection, both technical and aesthetic, of this extraordinary timepiece.
The watch bears the name of the luxury Mexican boutique of the agents Hauser and Zivy, to whom it was entrusted for a while. Then “La Esmeralda” is thought to have passed into the ownership of the President of Mexico, Porfirio Diaz (1830-1915) who led the country from 1876 to 1911. Finally, at the end of the 1960s, the pocket chronometer was acquired from the president’s great grandson and it now crowns the collections of the Girard-Perregaux museum.
Ultra-thin hunter watch signed Moulinié, Bautte & Cie, 1805
Another historical creation is an Ultra-thin hunter watch signed Moulinié, Bautte & Cie, 1805. One of the first watches of this kind in the world.
|Ultra-thin hunter watch signed Moulinié, Bautte & Cie, 1805|
Engraved and guilloched case in yellow gold decorated with enamel and gold in a variety of colours. Enamel dial.
Yellow gold pocket watch, signed Girard-Perregaux, 1884
This Yellow gold pocket watch, signed Girard-Perregaux and made in1884 features a Straight bridge movement, lever escapement with spherical hairspring, gold settings and wheel plates.
The arrow-shaped bridges are angled and guilloched. They support gold screw-mounted settings. The spherical hairspring alone is a technical feat. The cut bimetal balance compensates for changes in temperature.
Yellow gold pocket chronometer, signed Girard & Co. London, circa 1850
This elegant Yellow gold pocket chronometer, signed Girard & Co. London and made in 1850features Movement with “English” bridges, chain and fusee, detent escapement, spherical hairspring.
In accordance with the popular practice of this era, the platinum and bridges are matted and gilded with mercury.
Pendant watch in the shape of a small book, signed Girard-Perregaux, circa 1860
Pendant watch in the shape of a small book, signed Girard-Perregaux, circa 1860. Engraved yellow gold case, decorated with blue enamel. Enamel dial protected by a small grille with a multicoloured medallion. Containing a double photograph frame.
Yellow gold pocket chronometer, signed Girard-Perregaux, circa 1860
This Yellow gold pocket chronometer, signed Girard-Perregaux, circa 1860 features Movement with three parallel bridges, with Tourbillon and detent escapement. This watch won a first class prize from the Neuchâtel Observatory.
|Yellow gold pocket chronometer, signed Girard-Perregaux, circa 1860.|
|Yellow gold pocket chronometer, signed Girard-Perregaux, circa 1860.|
The three parallel bridges, so beloved by Constant Girard-Perregaux, are decorated here with guilloche-worked motifs; the barrel is decorated with a rosette; the Tourbillon cage, with three arms, is of a shape not often seen at Girard-Perregaux.
Yellow gold pocket chronometer, signed Girard-Perregaux, 1878
This Yellow gold pocket chronometer, signed Girard-Perregaux, 1878 features Movement with Tourbillon and detent escapement. Gripped gold dial typical of watches sold in South America.
|Yellow gold pocket chronometer, signed Girard-Perregaux, 1878|
In a break with tradition, this Tourbillon movement with detent escapement does not have the classic “Three Bridges” composition. Only the bridge supporting the Tourbillon has the Brand’s traditional arrow shape.
Enamelled yellow gold cruciform pendant-watch signed “Girard-Perregaux”, circa 1870
This Enamelled yellow gold cruciform pendant-watch signed “Girard-Perregaux”, made in1870 features a Cross-shaped movement . The front of the cross is decorated with painted enamel religious motifs.
The back is engraved and enamelled with the Ave Maria in Latin. White enamel dial encircled by a bezel set with brilliants. .
The Sowind Manufacture Building
The Sowind Manufacture’s building was originally designed by the La Chaux-de-Fonds architect Léon Boillot. His signature on the corner of the marquise at the entrance – 136, rue Numa-Droz – shows that the main part of the building was constructed in 1904-1905. It has a flat roof, a rare feature at the time, with iron girders and columns. The underside of the cornice is decorated with a frieze of blue thistles.
The building was extended on the west side in 1918, to n°138. Although the construction is more traditional, it remains spectacular in several aspects, with a large wrought-iron door opening onto a wide corridor tiled with mosaics and illuminated by an atrium window. The corridor leads to a monumental staircase at the heart of the building which serves four floors. Most of the decorations are trompe-l’œil painting and stained-glass windows.
|Sowind Manufacture’s Building, La Chaux-de-Fonds|
The building has undergone careful restoration since it was acquired by the Sowind Group in December 2001, with particular attention paid to the architectural features of the period while allowing for the specific demands made by a modern manufactory. The work took fifteen months.
The building has always been connected with the watch industry. At the outset, it housed the Tavannes Watch Co, owned by the Schwob family. This became Cyma but, following serious problems in the 1960’s, it changed hands and moved to Le Locle. The premises remained empty and were eventually purchased by the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, which rented them until 1980 to a certain Girard-Perregaux. They were then bought by Ebel, which used them to house its watch-case and bracelet factory, Cristalor, until the end of the 1990’s.
Also interesting to note that the Villa Jean Richard also belonging to Sowind Group, nicknamed “The Castle” and dating from 1908, was conducted by the same architect Boillot for the same partner.
UNESCO World Heritage Status
The cities of Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds have been selected to UNESCO’s World Heritage list on the 27th of June 2009. Considered examples of symbiosis between city-planning and the watch making industry, they had submitted their candidate file in 2007. The World Heritage Committee has therefore added a new Swiss site to the list of cultural and natural properties of universal value.
Profoundly attached to this region and to its architecture marked by the activity of watch making, The Brand Girard-Perregaux is one of the oldest local manufactures, having had continuous activity since 1856 in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The Manufacture is installed at the heart of the city, in a building dating back to the beginning of the 20th century and representative of this industrial architecture. This registration to UNESCO’S World Heritage list will contribute to protecting and promoting a unique patrimony of art, city-planning, architecture and industry for generations to come.
About Kering Group
Formerly known as PPR group, the prestigious luxury business group changed its name to Kering group in 2013. Kering is now a cohesive, international group focused on a single business: apparel and accessories, across an ensemble of powerful brands, all with strong potential for growth, in two segments: Luxury and Sport & Lifestyle.
A world leader in apparel and accessories, Kering develops an ensemble of powerful Luxury and Sport & Lifestyle brands: Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, McQ, Balenciaga, Brioni, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Girard-Perregaux, JeanRichard, Qeelin, Puma, Volcom, Cobra, Electric and Tretorn.