The first steel watch in Girard-Perregaux’s 1966 collection
The La Chaux-de-Fonds-based manufacture innovates by using steel for the first time in its iconic collection. The new piece is a traditional and elegant watch that exudes watchmaking craftsmanship.
Pink, gray or white – Girard-Perregaux’s 1966 collection already included versions of all its pieces in all the color ranges of gold. Now, the manufacture from La Chaux-de-Fonds adds a new 40-mm steel model intended for both men and women. To top It off, the piece even has its own black-and-white film.
The new piece sports the collection's codes under its slightly domed anti-reflective sapphire glass layer – the bevelled indexes, the "leaf" hands and the central sweep seconds close to the flange. The date aperture at three o'clock enlivens the very simple silver opaline dial. The piece is traditional and elegant; it exudes the craftsmanship characteristic of the small brand that can be proud of its 150 years of watchmaking tradition. Indeed, Girard-Perregaux’s workshops have been producing and assembling timepieces since 1856. Yet, the brand’s history dates farther back to 1791, when Jean-François Bautte used to produce his first extra-thin pieces at a small manufacture in Geneva, which already integrated every watchmaking craft.
Girard-Perregaux is known for its workshop of great complications where its watchmakers assemble minute repeaters and tourbillons that are readily embedded in its iconic models under three gold bridges. The high-quality finishes of the brand's movements reflects the amount of time and work (mostly manual) invested in every piece. The steel Girard-Perregaux 1966 is no exception with its in-house movement and its self-winding mechanical caliber GP03300-0030 with an almost two-day power reserve. Its components can be admired through the sapphire back, helped by the movements of the oscillating mass decorated with "Côtes de Genève".
Comfortable on the wrist
The piece is comfortable to wear thanks to its curved lugs, which fit around the contours of the wrist and come with a steel or black alligator strap. The very slim 8.9-mm steel case is loyal to the codes of traditional watchmaking. For the record, the watch is water-resistant to 30 meters.
As it usually happens with everything in life, the watch is deeply influenced by its origins and its DNA bears traces of the city it was created in. La Chaux-de-Fonds was almost completely destroyed by a fire in the late 18th century and then rebuilt based on a checkerboard plan, which gave it a place in UNESCO's World Heritage List. Designed with watchmakers in mind, the parallel buildings with large bay windows overlook streets that are large enough to allow maximum light to filter in. The overall effect is both beautiful and very functional, inspired by an idealistic town planning which was largely influenced by the 18th century. All of this is reflected in the architecture of the movements and watches assembled in the small 1,000-m-high city that was hometown to Le Corbusier.
An iconic collection
The heart of the Girard-Perregaux 1966 steel beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour and its name, or more precisely that of its collection, is a tribute to the manufacture's technical performance. In 1966, the brand revealed a high-frequency movement equipped with a balance that had a 36,000-vibrations-per-hour frequency. This revolutionized the world of chronometry. The collection is full of different pieces, which attest to the brand's skills. It includes all types of complications such as a moon phase, a complete calendar or an annual calendar and equation of time. It also includes a dual time version with its second time zone on 24 hours and its date aperture at six o'clock, and even a spectacular column-wheel chronograph. In actual fact, the only missing piece was the 1966 steel.