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Girard-Perregaux - Haute Horlogerie Suisse Depuis 1791
Not too many watch manufacturers create products that are distinctive in personality and express a look that is instantly identifiable. Fewer among such watches present a classical feel that reflects their rich past in the field of watchmaking. One such brand is Girard-Perregaux—a centuries-old watchmaking establishment that presents innovation and even edgy designs without ever making over-the-top façades or anything too new-age. Each of the strong lines of watches from the house of Girard-Perregaux connects with the history of the company and its roots of the watchmaking heritage that they draw from. Every collection has a recognisable look, be it the modern Laureato and the elegant, oval-shaped ladies’ Cat’s Eye timepieces, or the striking retro influence of the Vintage 1945 collection and the brand’s signature Bridges series. Every line tells the brand’s story—a story that began 228 years ago.
In 1852, Girard & Cie was founded by watchmaker Constant Girard, but the roots of the manufacture’s watchmaking go back to 1791. It was the year when Jean-François Bautte—a gifted Geneva-based watchmaker and jeweller—presented his first watch collection.
When Girard Met Perregaux
Girard & Cie founder Constant Girard’s marriage to Marie Perregaux united two families who brought their own unique contributions to the company. The fruitful collaboration led to the renaming of the company to Girard-Perregaux, in 1856. Marie Perregaux’s brothers, Henri, François, and Jules, helped take the brand overseas. François established a clientele in Japan, on seeing potential in the Far East. And on the other side of the globe, Henri opened a dealership in Buenos Aires. By this time, it was the 1860s and even the brand’s watchmaking was going places, with Girard-Perregaux gaining wide acclaim for their watchmaking know-how.
The Company Evolves
After Constant Girard-Perregaux’s death in 1903, his son Constant Girard-Gallet took over, and eventually, in 1906, he acquired the Bautte House, which was the perfect addition to the company, and added to their strength in the field. The Girard-Perregaux company itself underwent different ownerships thereafter. In 1928, its share capital was taken over by a watchmaker called Otto Graef, who also owned the watch brand MIMO. Yet, whoever was at the helm of the Girard-Perregaux manufacture took forward the values of the founder, who believed in the beautiful construction of the watches—inside and out. Much later in 1992, Italian entrepreneur, architect and former race car driver Luigi Macaluso took charge of the company and pushed Girard-Perregaux into more contemporary watchmaking, even becoming instrumental in the forging of a partnership between the brand and Ferrari, the Italian luxury carmakers. This union lasted from 1994 to 2004, and even gave rise to special Ferrari editions by Girard-Perregaux.
The Bridges Collection
The one biggest innovation of Girard-Perregaux over its 228-year-old history is its Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges—the predecessor of the contemporary Bridges collection. In the 1850s, Constant Girard-Perregaux started working on a watch with a tourbillon regulator fitted on a calibre with three parallel bridges. After winning acclaim, he obtained a patent for it from the US Patent Office in 1884. The bridges were later redesigned as parallel two-headed arrows, which are still a trademark of the Girard-Perregaux brand today. In 1889, the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges won a gold medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris. This initial success with the Three Gold Bridges led to its evolution into the Bridges collection of wristwatches, which may also just have one or two bridges, depending on the functions and mechanical requirements of each piece.
The Vintage 1945 Collection
When Girard-Perregaux introduced a rectangular wristwatch in 1945, following art deco design codes, it was a resounding success, owing to the growing popularity of rectangular cases, after wristwatches had all but replaced pocket watches. In 1995, the brand launched a series that revived that celebrated design, calling it the Vintage 1945 collection. Today, 24 years later, it’s one of the brand’s main product lines and has given us a wide range of designs and watchmaking features. Ironically, a few of the Vintage 1945 models released over the years have even had a very modern aesthetic. Skeleton displays are not uncommon in the collection, which also includes a few high-complication editions.
The 1966 Collection
Moving forward, the 1966 collection of the brand presents a more classical, archetypal watch. The contemporary dress watches actually go back to the year 1957, when Girard-Perregaux launched a breakthrough watch, the Gyromatic, which ran on an ultra-thin automatic movement, allowing it to have a slim profile. This led to the manufacture developing the world’s first high-frequency automatic movement, beating at the rate of 36,000vph—unveiled in the year 1966, which inspired the entire collection that pays tribute to Maison’s inventive spirit. The modern 1966 watches also include complications such as Girard-Perregaux’s very own world timer—the WW.TC (Worldwide Time Control), which is identified by a ring seen around the watch dial, featuring names of cities representing the 24 main time zones.
The Laureato Collection
In 1975, Girard-Perregaux was not staying behind the growth of the sports watch, and they launched the Laureato, as a luxury sports watch. The visual markers of the Laureato watch were the hexagonal bezels and the linked bracelets—evolutions of which you even see in the Laureato watches of today. The first 1975 edition was a quartz chronometer—a movement developed as part of the Swiss watch industry’s response to the ‘quartz crisis, which threatened mechanical watchmaking at the time. The collection was in a way representative of the brand appealing to a younger and more active lifestyle. Hence it was aptly titled ‘Laureato’ (Italian for ‘graduate’)—a name suggested by an Italian distributor of the brand, who was inspired by the iconic 1967 film The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman. In 1984, the brand released a mechanical version of the Laureato, with design updates including separate interlinks, which is closer to the Laureatos available today. Even the Three Gold Bridges movement was eventually used in the Laureato—first in a 90s’ edition. The Laureato was most recently revived in 2017, which made it a mainstay of the brand, in addition to being one of Girard-Perregaux’s signature collections. The Laureato has been interpreted in several high-complication pieces as well—including tourbillons, perpetual calendars and even the WW.TC.
The Cat’s Eye Collection
Among the ladies’ offerings of Girard-Perregaux from across collections, one series that stands out is the Cat’s Eye—a line exclusively for ladies. The signature oval watches were first launched in 2004 and were named after the shape of a cat’s eyes the shape of the watches was reminiscent of. The collection includes several dailies and dress watches, as well as high-jewellery and high-complication pieces. The collection presents the finest gem-setting techniques as well as innovations in watchmaking mechanics. There have also been editions including the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, while complications such as moon phase indicators are more commonly seen in the series.
Today, Girard-Perregaux is one of the few independent Swiss watchmakers. From crafting timeless, elegant timepieces to a few of the most complicated ones, the brand has struck a perfect balance between tradition and ingenuity.
Important Girard-Perregaux Collections
Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)
What is special about Girard-Perregaux?
Not too many watch manufacturers create products that are distinctive in personality and express a look that is instantly identifiable. Fewer among such watches present a classical feel that reflects their rich past in the field of watchmaking. One such brand is Girard-Perregaux—a centuries-old watchmaking establishment that presents innovation and even edgy designs without ever making over-the-top façades or anything too new-age.
Which are the most popular Girard-Perregaux collections in India?
The most popular Girard-Perregaux collections in India are:
Which are the most popular Girard-Perregaux watches for men in India?
The most popular Girard-Perregaux watches for men in India are:
Which are the most popular Girard-Perregaux watches for women in India?
The most popular Girard-Perregaux watches for women in India are:
Where can I get my Girard-Perregaux watch serviced?
One of the best luxury watch service centres in India is operated by Ethos Watches. Ethos Watch Care | Shop No 118-120, First Floor, Square One Mall, District Center Saket New Delhi - 110017 | Phone: +91 11 4142 1691, +91 93190 95793 | E-Mail: email@example.com | URL: https://www.ethoswatches.com/repair-and-service/