Here’s a first look at the new Girard-Perregaux 1966 (Ref. 29527-52-131-BK6A), one of the manufacture’s most elegant timepieces. You’ve seen this 1966 before, right? Nope. There are some subtle changes to the new references (white and rose gold) — but you couldn’t guess it from photos alone. What’s new here is that the new 1966 has been upsized by +3mm to a 41mm case size. This is a trend we are now seeing across Girard-Perregaux’s lineup — recall the 1966 chronograph which was also upsized this year.
More than just a larger case size, the new GP 1966 41mm is powered by the GP4500 caliber rather than the GP3300 (which is in the 38mm cases) — a larger movement, in keeping with the larger case. Makes perfect sense. I’ll give you a closer look at the new models — it looks supreme in white gold — as well as some technical discussion of the caliber GP4500 vs. the GP3300, on the jump.
The hands on the watch are beautiful — two leaf-shaped hands for hours/minutes, and central seconds hand in blue steel. There are applied baton-style markers at each quarter, and a date window at 3 o’clock. Note also the stitch-less strap to complete the dressy look.
As noted above, the enlarged case is adapted to the dimensions of the self-winding mechanical calibre GP4500, designed at the Manufacture’s R&D department and entirely produced and assembled within its workshops. Composed of 188 pieces, the calibre has a power reserve of 54 hours. Its pink gold oscillating weight, engraved with the name of the brand, is adorned with Côtes de Genève decoration.
The GP4500 was first introduced in 2006 and is the largest of GP’s base calibers. The GP4500 combines design elements of the caliber 3000-range (e.g. large bridges and plates hide most of the moving parts), but at the same time the GP 4500 is not an enlarged caliber 3000 — it was completely developed from scratch with the objective of creating a large base caliber which would suit contemporary trend towards larger watch cases.
Versus the caliber 3300, the caliber GP4500 has a greater power reserve while still offering a high stability of timekeeping results. To achieve this a higher amount of energy is required, hence the caliber has a larger barrel with a larger, stronger mainspring. Further, and allow for a likewise larger balance, a “double 3rd wheel” in the going-train (an unconventional, though already well-proven feature) was added. The benefit of the “double 3rd wheel” is that it allows for a small sized 4th wheel and thus larger barrel. If you are interested in reading further about the merits of the GP4500, an excellent in-depth review of the caliber was posted a few years ago at watchprosite, available here (note: it is a very technical look at the caliber).
In summary, the new 41mm reference for the Girard-Perregaux 1966 is a great addition to the line. It retails for $16,500 in rose gold. Though some will not appreciate this larger size, I have owned similar minimalistic dress watches of similar size (the Glashutte Senator Automatic comes to mind) and have thoroughly enjoyed them.