Girard Perregaux Watches
A master watchmaker of rare talent, Jean-Francois Bautte was also an astute "industrialist" and businessman with a brilliant, imaginative and generous character. He is credited with creating the first genuine ultra-thin watches and the truly visionary concept of the Manufactory as a producer of high-quality timepieces.
Girard Perregaux is one of the historical Swiss maisons and has contributed much to the development of the wristwatch as we know it today. The knowledge of its importance, quality, and refinement is not truly widespread today, but it represents one of the best secrets of horology.
The maison was founded in 1852 when Constantin Othenin Girard registers the company Girard & Cie. Two years later he marries Marie Perregaux - and after four years, the company finds a seat in La Chaux-de-Fonds and the manufacture Girard-Perregaux is created, intending to create precision watches.
After ten years of development, Girard Perregaux makes movements so precise that they win several competitions hosted by the Observatory of Neuchatel, and in 1867, it presents a tourbillon watch that wins the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris.
After twenty years, in 1889, the company releases an iconic timepiece: “Esmeralda”, a pocket watch featuring a tourbillon with three golden bridges. A watch so incredibly sophisticated and innovative that, after winning the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris, the organization forbids the company to compete again until 1902.
But the company is most famous for something else: Girard Perregaux is the inventor of the modern wristwatch. From 1880, the company develops the first wristwatches for military use, on the behalf of the German Imperial Navy, and manufactures 2,000 units.
This is the first mass-manufactured wristwatch of history.
In 1903, Constantin Girard dies, and the company is taken over by Constant Girard-Gallet. He develops the watchmaking business aggressively and expands the company by purchasing other brands: the most important acquisition is the one of Bautte, a historical watchmaker specialized in ultra-flat movements, which was founded in 1791: this is why Girard Perregaux proudly displays this date on the dial of its watches.
During the following years, the company expands the production of wristwatches. In 1928, the majority of the shares is bought by Otto Graef, and the firm expands internationally in Europe and America, launching successful models like the Sea Hawk and the Gyromatic, one of the first hi-beat wristwatches of the world.
In the Seventies, the company is one of the most active in the development of quartz technology, and Girard Perregaux develops internally its movements, based on the 32,768 A/h frequency that will become the international standard for quartz watches, and in 1975 releases one of its most iconic models, the “Laureato”.
The company in the Eighties enters into the Sowind group together with Jeanrichard, a manufacturer of high-end movements.
From 1989, the company returns to the mechanical watch production, releasing in 1991 a wristwatch version of its legendary three gold bridges gyrotourbillon pocket watch.
In 2008, the Sowind enters a partnership with the Kering group, and in 2011, the latter becomes the majority shareholder.
Between the most iconic lines of Girard Perregaux, there is the Bridges collection, which recounts the achievements of the maison during the years. This architecture is historical, and dates back to the end of the 1800s, incorporating important horological complications such as flying tourbillons.
The Laureato is another very popular line of the maison. These watches offer a very modern, contemporary interpretation of the sports luxury timepieces, mixing materials and elements in a stylish design to interpret the needs of the active man of today. The Laureato debuted with a quartz movement but is currently available in several references.
The 1966 line is beautiful, with its classy, vintage look. Derived from the Gyromatic, this collection is perfect as a dress watch, and offers many striking complications, such as worldtime, moon phase, full calendar in several dimensions that render it perfect for men and ladies alike.
1 - Bridges
The Bridges collection comes straight from the model presented in 1889, with its iconic architecture based on three horizontal bridges - incidentally, the current symbol of the maison represents one of the said bridges. The line is composed of beautiful watches, offering amazing complications which movement can be admired in full as they are dial-less, and often skeletonized.
The case materials seem almost unimportant relative to the importance of the horological complications that make the core of this collection, which put it into the lofty realm of haute horlogerie, but we can safely say that the line is composed by dress watches, even if some of them do look quite aggressive and assertive.
2 - Laureato
The name of the Laureato comes from the 1967 movie with Dustin Hoffman, “The Graduate”, and was suggested by the Italian importer of the brand. The watch, in its quartz version, debuted in 1975 and had an amazing success. In 1994, it is fitted with an ultra-thin mechanical caliber, and several editions of the watch followed suit.
Today, the Laureato represents a great luxury sports timepiece, and is available in several versions, spanning from the simple vintage quartz-based ones in steel to the most complicated mechanical ones in gold with tourbillon.
As usual for the maison, the Laureato offers also some smaller references designed for ladies.
3 - 1966
The Girard-Perregaux 1966 collection was launched to highlight the many innovations of the manufacture during the 1960s, like the development of a mechanical precision movement with the then unheard amplitude of 36,000 A/h in 1965, which in the following year was awarded the Centenary Prize of the Neuchâtel Observatory.
It is the typical dress watch, with linear, exquisite lines, available in different metals, sizes and offering diverse complications such as moon phase, annual calendar, and worldtimer to both men and ladies.
Each November, the Kering Foundation runs the White Ribbon For Women campaign to raise awareness about violence against women. In 2018, the Foundation chose to focus on cyberbullying. Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyberbullying.
To this end, from November 16 to 30, 2018, Girard-Perregaux has donated 10% of the retail price from the Laureato White Ceramic, White Ribbon Special Edition to local programs supported by the Kering Foundation.
It is important to confront with select, important social causes in our life so to render our world better - and Girard Perregaux is doing its part.
Mar 2019 - Girard-Perregaux joins forces with a Chinese acting star, the renowned Chen Xiao, with an advertising campaign based on three key concepts: engagement, precision, innovation.
Chen Xiao began his acting career in the TV series Our Class Song, subsequently coming first in regional exams to enter the Central Drama Academy. Over the years he played a number of different roles in well-known films and TV series, including Swordsman (2013), Legend of Lu Zhen (2013), The Romance of the Condor Heroes (2014), as well as The Taking of Tiger Mountain (2014), The Founding of An Army (2017) and Nothing Gold Can Stay (2017).
He is known for his intense, energetic portrayal of the characters, which earned him many accolades from his fans, and also put him in the running for major awards in the international film world.
"No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but we deal with each situation when it occurs. These things come to us; our role is to welcome them and experience them. Time is our ally. Let’s live it with elegance”, said Chen Xiao - a perfect statement for an iconic watchmaker active since 1791.
Apr 2019 - Girard Perregaux is proud to support Kobe Bryant and his Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, the charitable organization of the world's leading basketball star, which goal is to improve the lives of young people and families in need.
On a charity evening in April, at the home of one of the foundation's committee members in Los Angeles, more than 60 VIP guests, including Cindy Crawford, Rande Gerber, Jo Champa and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, attended the evening and took part in an auction led by Andrea Fiuczynski from Christie's.
The profits from the evening were donated to the foundation.
A Girard Perregaux, WW.TC Shadow personalized and identical to the one worn by Kobe Bryant was auctioned that same evening. On the back of Kobe's watch, his initials and jersey number are engraved.
Feb 2018 - When you say LP, what does a Baby Boomer think? That would be a vinyl record, of course. But in the world of today, LP is also the professional name of an Italian American singer and songwriter, Laura Pergolizzi, who has written songs for Cher, Rihanna, the Backstreet Boys, and Christina Aguilera.
LP is one of the latest friends of the Girard Perregaux brand. She’s so passionate about the brand that she wore a Laureato watch during the shooting of one of her latest videos, “Tightrope”. More, she has visited the booth of the company at the 2018 SIHH, with a surprise: during her visit she has entertained the crowd in a session of unplugged songs, accompanying herself with the ukulele and showing off her amazing voice.
Current Most Popular Models
The Laureato is for sure the best-known and iconic timepiece of the maison. After a first period where it was almost on a par with its more famous competitors from Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, the Laureato has seen diminishing attention from the public. However the most recent activity of the company, and the increased budget in marketing and communications, apart from the launch of new versions, is beginning to give back to this iconic piece the attention it is due.
The Bridges collection is haute horlogerie at its finest and is reserved for a selected few who are aware of the great intrinsic qualities of these fascinating timepieces. It is a choice for real connoisseurs and would be applauded by true connoisseurs only.
The typical 1966 is a great-looking watch that represents a solid choice if you are shopping for a beautiful timepiece with a great legacy of tradition and workmanship. We are pretty convinced that the watches from this maison are on the rise, and today they are being exchanged on prices that do not fully represent their great technical contents.
Current Approximate Price List By Line/Model
The Bridges line
Based on the iconic “Esmeralda”, the Bridges collection groups the best offerings from Girard Perregaux, and is composed of timepieces that feature among the best horological complications of the whole business.
It is the oldest of the maison and has been interpreted in such a modern, assertive way that you often doubt about its true year of birth.
If you are a horology fan, you would find every complication you’d dream of, contained in an essential and simple case.
type: dress watch
material: gold, platinum, titanium, carbon, gems
functions: depending on versions; most notable are constant escapement, moon phase, power reserve, skeletonized, tourbillon, minute repeater
The basic references for the Bridges watch lines are in titanium (either raw or black-coated), and while the size is big, they are very wearable. The last to come out is called Neo Bridge and is a re-design of the collection. It comes as a time-only automatic watch with a micro-rotor, and you may find it from around $17,500 upwards. The gold cased varieties, called Classic Bridges, start from around $25,000.
The constant escapement version starts from $40,000, and the first tourbillons of the Triple Bridge collection start from around $50,000. Around $80,000 you may find the gold and diamonds references. Exquisite complications like three-axis tourbillons and minute repeaters fare in the hundreds of thousands.
The Laureato line
The Laureato collection includes several sub-lines of luxury sports watches.
From the basic quartz-based time-only vintage models of the Seventies, you rise up to the beautiful mechanical diver watches and chronographs of the mid-Eighties to reach the top end, where you are going to find the exclusive tourbillon-fitted models.
The early success of the collection prompted the company to release a wide array of models, comprising chronographs and skeletonized models.
type: luxury sports watch
material: stainless steel, gold, aluminum, carbon, titanium
functions: date, and depending on versions; most notable are chronograph, skeletonized, tourbillon
The more affordable references of the Laureato collection start from around $1,000 for the quartz-based vintage models, up to $3,000 for the ones with unique complications, such as the Equation Soleil.
From around $3,500 you can find the first mechanical chronographs, the sporty-looking EVO3, and BMW Oracle models. The first automatic time-only Laureato starts from around $4,700, both in the man’s and ladies’ references, which are smaller and diamond-studded.
The black titanium Absolute reference sells for around $7,500 upwards. Around $8,000, you start to find the bimetal references. while the gold versions with leather wristband start from around $9,500. This is also the price of the regular Laureato chronograph.
The first skeletonized versions are in the market around $18,500. This is also the price of the ceramic models. The full gold Laureato with integrated bracelet is around $25,000. The top-end tourbillon models start from around $60,000, upwards.
The 1966 line is another popular collection from Girard Perregaux, continuing the tradition of the Gyromatic models of the Fifties: the one of the simple, classic dress watch. While fashion has changed over the years, the elegance of this beautiful line is unchanged. And has prompted the maison to reinforce the collection by introducing new models, offering interesting complications and a refreshed design.
type: dress watch
material: stainless steel, gold, titanium, gems
functions: date, many different depending on the model, GMT, moon phase, power reserve, chronograph, GMT, tourbillon
The 1966 collection starts from the vintage references at very affordable quotations, from around $1,500 onwards for the simple automatic models with date. The first sports-oriented chronographs (Rallye Monte Carlo) in steel start from around $3,000. The more modern references, also in steel, start around $4,000.
The moon phase models cost a bit more, $4,500, while you can find the GMT versions around $5,800. The moon phase date starts from around $7,000, and the black DLC-coated case with blue dial Earth to Sky a bit more, around $7,300.
The full calendar begins from $8,500. Same price for the gold case models, and the diamond-studded ones. This is also the amount you have to budget for the chronographs. The worldtimer WW.TC is available from around $9,000.
On the top of the collection, we find the Chamber of Wonders models, displaying an exquisitely decorated dial, starting from $20,000, the annual calendar equation of time from $25,000, the skeleton versions around $40,000 and the tourbillons at over $90,000.
Fast and Curious - Q & A (Quora, general questions, amazon / ebay questions, etc…)
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