The one-of-a-kind La Esmeralda tourbillon “À secret” watch pays homage to a masterpiece exhibited in the Girard-Perregaux Museum: La Esmeralda Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, created by Constant Girard and awarded a Gold Medal at the 1889 Universal Exhibition held in Paris.
During the Paris Universal Exhibition 1889, the pocket chronometer with pivoted detent escapement and three gold bridges presented by Constant Girard was awarded the highest distinction at the event and entrusted to international agents Hauser, Zivy & C°, owners of the luxurious Mexican store La Esmeralda offering a superlative range of watchmaking, art and jewellery.
It was not until the late 1960s that this watch with its richly engraved hunter-type case and Grand Feu enamel dial, purchased from a descendant of the Mexican president Porfirio Diaz, returned to its native land. Its name, La Esmeralda, retains the memory of its epic journey.
It was in 1860 that Constant Girard developed this iconoclastic construction in which three arrow-shaped parallel bridges support the moving parts of the movement. In 1867, a tourbillon pocket chronometer version with three nickel bridges won a First Class Bulletin from Neuchâtel Observatory, as well as a medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition. Constant Girard therefore decided to protect this original movement endowing the tourbillon with an artistic dimension by filing a patent with the United States Patent Office.
Almost a century and a half later, La Esmeralda Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges “À secret”, entirely crafted by a single master-watchmaker, is inspired by the award-winning 1889 model and displays a concern for detail that naturally ranks it as a prime example of Fine Watchmaking.
The component finishing is entirely performed by hand, including the upper mainplate that is hand-engraved to highlight the radiant guilloché motif; the barrel that is satin-brushed, chamfered and also engraved with a spiral motif; as well as the lower mainplate adorned with a Côtes de Genève motif and concentric circular graining. Finally, even the bearing the movement number is straight-grained with hand-polished angles; and all 80 components of the famous lyre-shaped tourbillon carriage are likewise hand-polished. The structure of the in-house self-winding movement focuses attention on this complex device ensuring perfectly regular rating while weighing just 0.305 g.
Designed like a “secret” watch, for the first time the new interpretation of La Esmeralda features a cover protecting the back of the model.
The entirely hand-engraved pink gold case picks up the brilliantly executed motifs adorning the 1889 model. Three horses thus gallop across the outside of the cover, while the interior is engraved with the inscriptions “Tourbillon” and “La Chaux-de-Fonds”, leaving enough space for personalisation by the future owner. Other features reminiscent of the 1889 include the flowers and the oval-shaped motifs adorning the bezel and the top of the lugs. Finally, the case sides are identical to the model that served as inspiration.
Presented at SIHH 2018, this one-of-a-kind model fitted with a triple sapphire crystal affording a panoramic view of the movement is delivered with a black hand-sewn alligator leather strap secured by a pink gold folding clasp.
Model: La Esmeralda Tourbillon “À secret”
Material: pink gold
Diameter: 44.00 mm
Height: 15.25 mm
Glass: sapphire anti-reflective ‘box’
Dial: no dial
Case-back: the secret clasp reveals a sapphire crystal
Hands: ‘Dauphine’ type
Water resistance: 30 meters (3 ATM)
Reference: GP09400-0014, mechanical with automatic winding
Diameter: 36.60 mm (16‘’’)
Height: 8.40 mm
Frequency: 21,600 Vib/h – (3 Hz)
Number of components: 310
Power reserve: min. 60 hours
Functions: Tourbillon, hours, minutes, small seconds on the tourbillon
Tourbillon cage made of 80 components, weighting 0.305 g
Material: hand-stitched strap black alligator
Buckle: pink gold triple folding buckle