Girard-Perregaux Breaks Through The Sapphire Glass Ceiling With The New Quasar Light
Limited to just 18 pieces, this terrific tourbillon shoots for the stars.
When it comes to transparency, Girard-Perregaux has been absolutely killing the see-through watch game. Last year, at Watches & Wonders Miami, the manufacture released the Quasar: a Neo-Tourbillon Three-Bridges set in a case made from a single sapphire disk. Then, earlier this year, they launched the Laureato Absolute Light: a sporty take on the classic Laureto housed in transparent sapphire crystal and grade 5 titanium case.
Now, Girard-Perregaux is taking this timepiece to another dimension with the Quasar Light.
SEE THE LIGHT
Girard-Perregaux is not the only player in the sapphire-cased watch game: Richard Mille, Hublot, Armin Strom, MB&F, Bovet, and Greubel Forsey all offer models made from this light material. Still, they are rare for a reason. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, sapphires rate a whopping 9 out of 10, with only diamonds rating higher. So, naturally, milling sapphire is very challenging, which makes them cost-prohibitive to most buyers. Unsurprising, considering it takes over 200 hours of sculpting and polishing to perfect the curves of the Quasar’s case.
But advances in technology mean that watchmakers can now do more with the material. And with the Quasar Light, Girard-Perregaux is leading the way in invisible innovations. Not only is the case crystal clear, this year’s model comes with bridges that are also made of sapphire.
Like a telescope peering into the sky, making Girard-Perregaux emblematic arrow-shaped Neo-bridges now made in sapphire crystal offer an unprecedented 360-degree view of the tourbillon. It looks like its floating in space.
THE GLOW UP
The Quasar Light has a stellar outward appearance as well. To get a perfect glossy finish, the case block needed to be three times bigger than the standard so that it could be smoothed down using a unique diamond and chemical polish.
It is also lit from within. The barrel is made of Ruthenium, a rare type of platinum which is known for its diamond-like luster. When the light hits its surface, it creates a sparkling effect that dances across the Quasar Light’s face. And the tourbillon cage is powered by a unidirectional automatic winding system featuring a micro-rotor made of white gold. This mechanism is also visible through the sapphire crystal box, providing yet another play on light.
The Quasar Light is not only aesthetically brilliant, but its innovative materials also make it easy to wear.
Coming in at 46mm x 15.25mm, it has a lot of presence without overpowering the wrist. It also feels lighter than a traditional metal case. The tourbillon cage is composed of 79 components and weighs only 0.250 grams. The bridges are anchored by a titanium main plate with a sand-blasted rhodium finish, giving it a silvery look. A skeletonized movement also plays a big part in this not-quite-feather-weight effect.
If there is any caveat to the Quasar Light’s clarity, it is that you can see straight through to the skin when you wear it. Most observers will be too entranced by the architecture of Girard-Perregaux’s signature Aerial Neo-bridges movement to care, but for those who might be self-conscious of their wrists for whatever reasons, this may not be the watch for you.
As we mentioned in 2019, when the first-generation Quasar was introduced, these solid sapphire watches appeal to collectors who want non-traditional timepieces. Even though the first tourbillon with three bridges dates to 1867, over 153 years ago, the Quasar Light is appealingly contemporary. In the spirit of the times, it is also versatile and comes delivered with a handstitched metallic grey and black alligator straps, both with a triple folding, white gold buckle.
This Quasar Light is limited to 18 pieces and retails for $294,000.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)