After taking the Grand Prix at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève with the L.M Constant Escapement, this time Girard-Perregaux once again goes the extra mile to wow everyone at Baselworld 2014 and perhaps add another Grand Prix at the end of this year with the new Tri-Axial Tourbillon. This sophisticated and horologically advanced timepiece represents a major success for Girard-Perregaux, a historic specialist in the mastery of this precision watch mechanism. This is a new step for the Manufacture in its quest for chronometric perfection with a high-speed tourbillon on three separate axes. A complex mechanism aimed at optimizing chronometric precision, the tourbillon has been a specialty of Girard-Perregaux for over a century and a half. Once again, the Manufacture at La Chaux-de-Fonds demonstrates its mastery of the subject, taking its search for precision even further with the Tri-Axial Tourbillon.
This development embodies the quintessence of time measurement based on the physical principle of the elimination of disturbances, the first being the Earth's gravitational pull. As it is designed on three planes instead of the traditional one, the Tri-Axial Tourbillon optimizes its performance and showcases a captivating spectacle. The external parts therefore needed to be specially adapted in order to integrate this extraordinary caliber. The tourbillon's triple cage required the integration of a domed lens that rests against the sapphire crystal in order to provide the necessary interior volume. With the Tri-Axial Tourbillon, Girard-Perregaux therefore delivers a brilliant demonstration of its expertise and its constant search for watchmaking excellence.
The Tri-Axial Tourbillon by Girard-Perregaux features a regulator on three separate axes. At its heart beats a traditional tourbillon. Its cage performs one rotation in one minute. It is integrated within a structure positioned on a second axis and performs a complete rotation in 30 seconds. Finally, both are inserted into a third system. The ensemble is placed on a third axis and performs one rotation in 2 minutes. The diameter of the ensemble comes to 13.78 mm. With a total weight of 1.24 grams, the cage and the drive systems are made of steel. The support pillars are in titanium, or in pink gold to act as a counterweight where the kinetic balance required this. As for the balance, it integrates 16 pink gold adjustment micro-screws. It has an increased frequency of 3 Hz, or 21,600 vibrations per hour.
Crafted from pink gold, the 48 mm diameter case respects the design codes of Girard-Perregaux's Haute Horlogerie collection with a beveled bezel, a rounded case-center and lugs that narrow out elegantly towards the exterior. The superior sapphire crystal presents a spectacular construction. At 9 o'clock, a domed sapphire crystal, designed to highlight the tourbillon's three axes, is applied to the main crystal, which is first pierced to the required diameter. A toric-shaped sapphire crystal is also integrated into the side of the case at 9 o'clock in order to show this fascinating spectacle from another angle.
The case-back, which is screwed and transparent, reveals the entire movement and, in particular, the satiny circular bridge engraved with the words "Tri-Axial" that supports the differential of the tourbillon system. A masterpiece of modern engineering, the Tri-Axial Tourbillon caliber remains absolutely faithful to the purest of traditions. The cage adopts the lyre shape that has been characteristic of Girard-Perregaux Tourbillons since the 19th century. Haute Horlogerie timepieces demand components that are decorated and finished by hand with the greatest care. They therefore present mirror-polished surfaces and perfect chamfering —especially on a number of inward angles which are particularly difficult to finish. The gear train is circular-grained and the sides are satin-brushed. On the case-back, the eagle, the symbol of the manufacture since 1897, is engraved and a plaque in the arrow shape of the Tourbillon with Three Bridges' iconic bridges bears the individual number of each piece. This shape is also found on the emblematic gold bridges also visible on the back of the movement. Displaying hours, minutes and a time reserve indicator, the new GP09300 mechanical caliber with manual winding measures 36.10 mm in diameter with a height of 16.83 mm. It comprises 317 components and has a minimum power reserve of 52 hours.
Constructed on several levels, the dial of the Tri-Axial Tourbillon presents a wide aperture at 9 o'clock that reveals the hypnotic ballet of the regulation system. At half past one, a silver dial with Clous de Paris motif presents numerals and hour markers in pink gold. It is encircled with an applique in pink gold and a black flange that displays the minutes numerals in white. The beveled, skeleton-shaped dauphine hands are crafted from pink gold. Starting at the center of the watch, the power reserve indicator follows a curve that ends at 6 o'clock. Designed graphically to form an array of circles and curves, the dial presents concentric, regular stripes in the areas that have been left empty. Like Japanese zen stone gardens, these gray-colored areas counterbalance the clear technicality of the timepiece with their understatement and simplicity. Girard-Perregaux's initials gleam in pink gold at 11 o'clock. This watch is available in a limited edition of only 10 pieces.
On the wrist, this watch is nothing but fascinating. Fitted with an elegant brown alligator strap with deployant buckle, the watch wears true to its size and quite comfortably. The wrist presence is really unparalleled, especially when you are wearing such a fine creation of 'haute horlogerie'. One thing that we do need to say is that for sure this watch will be in the final jury selection for 2014's GPHG —Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève.
Sticker Price Approximately $508,000 USD. For more info on Girard-Perregaux click here.