Girard-Perregaux is out with a new, superb and highly complicated piece of in its “1966″ series, one of the brand’s four foundational collections. This watch, which will retail for $287,000, combines a Minute Repeater, Annual Calendar & Equation of Time (EoT) and will be limited to just 15 pieces. This piece largely follows the design codes of the GP 1966 Annual Calendar & Equation of Time (sans minute repeater), though with the ante upped by the addition of a minute repeater (which itself required +2mm added to case size), it is good to also see a few subtle but noteworthy enhancements to the dial. I’ll run it all down for you, below.
Most of the Girard-Perregaux’s haute horlogerie pieces are built on the brand’s highly recognizable “Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges” design, and while there are a few currently offered as part of the 1966 collection (a minute repeater, a tourbillon), this is the first to piece of its kind from the brand.
Girard-Perregaux 1966 Minute Repeater+Annual Calendar+EoT
42mm pink gold case
As I alluded to above, though similar to the lesser GP 1966 Annual Calendar & EOT, the dial design is appropriately upgraded to match the high status of this watch. The primary design upgrade here is that the various dial sub-elements (large date display between 1 and 2 o’clock, equation of time scale between 4 and 5 o’clock, month at 7 o’clock and running seconds at 9 o’clock) are more refined than lesser models which simply have these functions printed directly on to the dial. For example the date ring and small seconds dial are more well defined with a defined outer ring and and inner, snailed finish. The equation of time hand is also shortened and repositioned slightly; a subtle change, yes, but it makes a big difference as this register now resides completely within the inner dial and does not extend into the outer hour/minute ring. Lastly, the most critical change — and one which I believe is a big, big improvement — is a date aperture which displays only the current month. Prior models were wider and showed text from three months, which now by comparison this looks a bit tacky.
A couple other points of note: the watch has applied hour markers for all 12 hours (only 3/6/9/12 in lesser models).
As for the caliber:
Girard-Perregaux E09-0003 handwound mechanical movement – 3Hz (21,600vph), 100 hours power reserve, 419 components (48 jewels), côtes de Genève, polished beveled angles decoration,
Striking mechanism: repeating with two facing hammers, hours, quarter-hours, minutes. Regulation of the speed of the striking-mechanism by inertia-driven governor, countersprings accessible on the bridge side, inverted minute rack; conventional gong pitches.
Here is a live look at a Girard-Perregaux watchmaker placing the minute repeater hammer onto the movement:
Closeup of the movement and minute repeater hammers (the two mirror polished elements on the right side of image):
The case back is also slightly curved to add more resonating space and thus enhance the effects of the repeater.
So all in all, I think you can see that not only has the 1966 Annual Calender & EOT been elevated to haute horlogerie status with the addition of a minute repeater, but Girard-Perregaux wisely made additional enhancements to the dial which keep with the high price tag and cachet of the watch.
Did You Know?
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.