An Icon Returns: Girard-Perregaux Unveils The Casquette 2.0
We thought it might happen, and it finally has. Girard-Perregaux has launched a new series edition of its 1970s LED classic: The Casquette. Dubbed the Casquette 2.0, it features a new quartz calibre and stealthy, wearer-friendly case in ceramic and titanium.
Having presented a unique, updated version of its iconic 1970s LED driver’s watch, the Casquette, for Only Watch 2021, today, Girard-Perregaux has announced a new series edition of this collectors’ favorite: The Casquette 2.0. It features a new quartz movement, improved functionality, and an ergonomic black ceramic and Grade 5 titanium case.
The Original Casquette
Unveiled in 1976, Girard-Perregaux’s original Casquette tapped into the era of not just quartz. It also spoke to the emerging trend of using LED and digital displays that represented a radical break with the convention of two- and three-handed analog watches.
Like the Hamilton Pulsar Time Computer launched four years earlier, the Casquette featured a red, on-demand LED display. And like the Amida Digitrend – released in the same year as the Casquette – that display was configured perpendicular to the wrist, making it easy to consult the time while driving.
The automotive theme didn’t stop there. The Casquette even looked like a 1970s muscle car with its avant-garde, streamlines case that came atop an integrated bracelet featuring thick, rectangular links, each one markedly decreasing in width as they got closer to the clasp.
On each side of the futuristic case, there was a pusher – one was to set the hours, minutes, seconds, day, and date, and the other was to summon the display when required. The quartz movement powering those indications had an impressive frequency of 32,768 Hz and eventually was adopted as the international standard for quartz watches.
Just 8,200 examples of the original Casquette were made over two years – in stainless steel, yellow gold-plated stainless steel, and a durbale polycarbonate called Makrolon that was as light as glass.
Initially referred to just by its reference number (Ref. 9931), in the years since its launch, as its appeal held up and helped turn it into a cult collectible, the watch became more commonly known by its increasingly used nickname, the Casquette.
Only Watch 2021 – a Big Clue
There was a big hint that a new series edition of the Casquette was in the cards when Girard-Perregaux, in collaboration with Bamford Watch Department, presented a forged carbon and titanium unique Casquette for Only Watch last year.
After all, this collaborative effort – which followed the same retro-futuristic design language of the original – featured a brand new GP03980-1474 quartz calibre. It would have been slightly odd had this movement been solely developed for the charity auction, where this striking, one-of-a-kind Casquette hammered for a cool CHF 100,000.
The Casquette 2.0
And it turns out: We weren’t wrong to suspect that a second coming of the Casquette was around the corner. Today, Girard-Perregaux has announced the launch of the Casquette 2.0, with this latest eye-catching version officially adopting the watch’s once unofficial moniker.
Its muscle car-like case is back. However, now it has a black ceramic upper section and natural Grade 5 titanium caseback. Both materials are known for being light, strong, and resistant – as well as hypoallergenic – helping the watch to weigh just 107g, despite its generous 42.4mm x 33.6mm x 14.6mm dimensions.
Additionally, while the Casquette’s original case was rounded, the 2.0’s bodywork is more chiseled, with beveled edges on either side at the top. The darkness of the black ceramic has been complemented by a matte frosting, giving the watch a real stealthy look.
The black ceramic bracelet again features chunky, rectangular links that decrease in width towards the natural titanium clasp, overlapping one another in a cascading manner. Meanwhile, a rubber layer lines the bracelet’s interior to makes it more flexible and comfortable than the original.
Powered by that newly conceived GP03980-1474 calibre, the tubular, red LED display – like that of the 1970s original – is also back, glowing emphatically against that dark backdrop.
Plus – in addition to hours, minutes, seconds, day, and date – there are fresh functions. Including month, year, chronograph, second time zone, and a so-called “secret” date that allows the wearer to save a memorable date like a birthday or anniversary.
Like the Casquette of yesteryear, the display of the 2.0 is viewable on demand by pressing one of the lateral titanium pushers, and the fact it isn’t constantly active helps preserve the battery life. And if, say, for example, the time is summoned 20 times a day, then the battery should last about two years.
Girard-Perregaux CEO Patrick Pruniaux, who was recently part of a management buy-out of both G-P and Ulysse Nardin – the other brand he presides over – couldn’t help but hide his excitement at this series revival of a past icon.
“Not all watches retain their looks and desirability with the passage of time. However, since production of the original Casquette ceased in 1978, the interest in this watch has never diminished,” said Pruniaux in a recent press release announcing the Casquette’s rebirth.
He continued: “Quite simply, the original Casquette serves to further validate our reputation for designing watches with lasting appeal. We are delighted to welcome the Casquette back – a stylish watch that promises lasting allure.”
Final thoughts & Pricing
Relaunching a funky, fondly remembered LED watch from the 1970s certainly worked for Hamilton with its recent revival of the Pulsar. And Girard-Perregaux seems to be banking on a similar recipe for success with the Casquette 2.0.
But in its most expensive iteration, the new Pulsar comes in around the CHF 1,000 mark. Thanks to its use of high-tech case materials, this edition of the Casquette 2.0 will be priced at CHF 4,500, thus attacking a different price tier.
As well as faithfully respecting the original Casquette’s memorable design codes, adding to the appeal of this Casquette 2.0 is its limited rarity. In a numerical nod to the 8,200 pieces produced during the original 1970s run, only 820 examples of the Casquette 2.0 will be made. But given its smart execution and limited nature, it is difficult to see all 820 pieces not being quickly snapped up.
So, to avoid disappointment, head on over to Girard-Perregaux’s website, where the new Casquette 2.0 is available now until March 7. Thereafter, it will be available in select Girard-Perregaux retailers.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)