Baselworld 2016: Girard-Perregaux Competizione Collection

Baselworld 2016: Girard-Perregaux Competizione Collection

Accuracy has always been at the heart of Girard-Perregaux's efforts. The Manufacture, founded in 1791, is launching its first two chronographs with automatic winding as part of the new “Sport Competizione” collection, to maintain this tradition and highlight its enthusiasm for automobile racing.

The first model, named “Stradale”, features an elegant design, while the second, known as “Circuito,” boasts radically more sporty lines. Both pieces express the same desire – that of a Maison renowned for its passion for excellence, wanting to give watch connoisseurs the chance to find their place in a world that is constantly moving. 

Writing the history of time

Chronograph production at Girard-Perregaux began when this complication emerged during the 19th century. The brand’s most sophisticated pocket models were always produced with the aim of achieving the pinnacle of accuracy. These meticulous creations were sometimes enhanced with a split-second function; an additional complication used to measure intermediary time intervals or two events with the same starting point but different ending points. 

Symbolic of the company’s dynamism and spirit, these instruments evolved over the decades until they moved on to the wrist in the 1920s and 1930s. Ever since, the Manufacture’s expertise has enabled it to develop sport chronographs renowned for their reliability and robustness. In the ‘50s, Girard-Perregaux produced chronographs intended to meet the needs of engineers. Then, in the early ‘60s, the Maison launched instruments for measuring short time intervals that were more ostensibly “sporty,” intended to win over the younger generations looking for timepieces capable of measuring individual performances. At the time, the three-counter chronograph then known as the “Ready-Go,” which was intended specifically for rally drivers or motorcyclists, was met with great success. 

In the 1990s, these historical models led the then management team, which was made up of car rally enthusiasts, to relaunch a collection of chronographs inspired by the 1960s models and dedicated to the race car world.

Keeping racing in mind

The new Sport Competizione collection of chronographs presented this year by the Girard-Perregaux Manufacture pays homage to speed by gleaning inspiration from the world of automobiles. This subtly retro-futuristic line unabashedly evokes the famous Club Italia chronograph which, when it was launched in 1987 at a time when quartz was king, signaled the start of the brand’s recovery of an emerging market that was searching for quality historical products. 

The Stradale Chronograph

Determined to preserve the time-defying legend of these specialized instruments, the Girard-Perregaux Manufacture chose to enclose the Stradale chronograph within a 42 mm diameter steel case. This contemporary size, combined with a classic design inspired by that of the best products of the golden age of the wristwatch, ensures that this piece united elements of elegance and dynamism and therefore will always remain completely timeless. The piece was crafted to be water-resistant to 30 meters in order to be unaffected by humidity anywhere in the world. The case-band features long, subtly rounded lugs that follow the natural curve of the wrist. It also presents “mushroom-type” push-pieces that are visually identical to those used during the golden fifties, and is adorned with a transparent sapphire crystal case-back, which enables aesthetes to admire the sight of the finishes of the GP03300 reference manufacture movement. 

The manufacture caliber that powers this vibrant chronograph, measures 11½ lignes (25.60 mm) and 6.50 mm thick and is comprised of 435 components, including 63 jewels. Pulsating at 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour), it has an autonomy of 46 hours once the movement is wound. In addition to indicating the classic time information, the dial, available as silvered or black, displays the times measured at the tip of the long central sweep seconds, as well as the elapsed minutes and hours in the additional counters, which are subtly sunken and delicately snailed. This most efficient model has a date window housed in a discreet opening between the fourth and fifth hour markers. Available with a black or silvered dial, this timepiece is available on an alligator strap fastened by an initialed folding clasp or on a steel bracelet. 

The Circuito Chronograph

Moving with the times, the Girard-Perregaux Manufacture also wanted to offer lovers of up-to-date products a chronograph that successfully and harmoniously combines tradition and the avant-garde. When creating the Circuito version of the Sport Competizione collection, the Manufacture’s engineers and watchmakers opted for robustness and lightness by deciding on an innovative case, measuring 42 mm in diameter, which combines titanium and carbon, giving a metallic effect reminiscent of high-end car bodies. The use of this alloy meant that the case design had to be specifically developed to accommodate the composite material. Light and highly resistant, the case is water-resistant to 30 meters and features a design inspired by the chronographs of the golden age of wristwatches. The case protects the Manufacture's GP03300-0122 reference chronograph caliber from any outside damage.

Meticulously finished in the traditional craft manner in the Manufacture’s workshops, this 25.60 mm (11½ lignes) mechanism featuring blued screws, a circular-grained mainplate, and bridges adorned with Côtes de Genève reveals some of its 435 components through its metallic case-back, including a number of its 63 jewels, the column wheel and the steel oscillating weight. The regulating organ can also be distinguished which, pulsating at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz), gives this timepiece optimal accuracy during its 46 hours of operation. The Circuito is available on a carbon-effect calfskin strap fastened to the wrist by a double folding clasp in DLC-coated microbead-blasted steel. Designed for everyday adventure, this efficient chronograph houses a “honeycomb” open-worked composite dial recalling the radiator grilles and air inlets of automobiles for a confident sporty chic look.

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Girard-Perregaux Competizione Circuito