This year at Baselworld 2015, the Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 timepiece celebrates its 70th anniversary with two limited series paying tribute to the original model and the great watchmaking tradition of the bicentenary Manufacture. One of these two limited editions is the new Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges 70th Anniversary. Like the original Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, the Vintage 1945 collection is rooted in the rich history of Girard-Perregaux. It started back in 1945, when a watch design was inspired by the Art Deco movement. Today, that watch is called the Vintage 1945, and it is an art deco inspired timepiece of which multiple iterations —references— exist and that we have reviewed here and here. The Art Deco movement profoundly made its mark on architecture, interior design, fashion, painting and photography.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Vintage 1945 collection, Girard-Perregaux offers a modern reinterpretation of the personality of the original model and what better way than with the iconic movement of the Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon and its symmetrical architecture to celebrate the anniversary of the Art Deco-inspired casing of the Vintage 1945. Fitted with an elegant 18K white gold case measuring 36.10 mm in length by 35.25 mm in width, the Vintage 1945 is an ultra elegant timepiece.
Few watchmaking designs have the rich history of the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges. In the nineteenth century, Constant Girard-Perregaux devoted many years to studying and building various escapement systems, in particular with tourbillon. His developments guided him towards majestic architecture: he redesigned three arrow-shaped bridges to hold the mobile parts of the movement and arranged them in parallel fashion, aligning the barrel, the gears and tourbillon on the same axis. He thus embodied a totally innovative concept: the movement was no longer just a technical and functional element, but a full-fledged design element.
The perseverance and ingenuity of the La Chaux-de-Fonds watchmaker were rewarded in 1889 when the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges won a gold medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition. Several decades later, this movement continues to drive the Girard-Perregaux timepieces with the same requirements. The Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges imposes its iconic architecture and continues a tradition based on exceptional manufacturing and finishing criteria. The three parallel arrow-shaped Bridges create a perfect balance on the movement whose shape is adapted to the Vintage 1945 case. The combination of favorite Art Deco materials highlights the strength and character of this timepiece.
Entirely handmade, the finishing requires such dexterity that it can only be carried out by a few artisans at the top of their art. The pink gold Bridges are rounded-off: their chamfering gives them a rounded shape, over their entire length, a perfect curve. The light glides over and is reflected on their "mirror polished" finish, offering a fascinating contrast with the matte finish of the main plate. The Tourbillon is also the subject of particular attention, its 80 component parts being assembled within a space only 10 mm in diameter. To maintain its oscillations, Girard-Perregaux has chosen automatic winding with a platinum micro-rotor positioned under the barrel. It is an ingenious solution that leaves the architectural majesty of the movement intact.
The new Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges 70th Anniversary is available in two limited editions. One of 18 watches in 18k white gold —reviewed on this post— under reference 99880-53-00B-BA6A, and the other consisting of 8 watches, also in 18K white gold but set with 112 baguette-cut diamonds —under reference 99880B-53-H000-BA6A— whose geometry radiantly highlights the lines of the elegant rectangular case. For this particular watch, Girard-Perregaux has chosen an invisible setting, one of the most complex techniques in the production of jeweled watches, juxtaposing the gems side by side in such a way that no metal is visible. The case back of both watches is satin-finished and engraved with the commemorative logo of the 70th anniversary of the collection.
The beating heart inside this timepiece is the Girard-Perregaux automatic calibre GP09600-0028 composed of 249 parts, 31 jewels, three "rounded-off" arrow-shaped gold bridges beveled and polished by hand and a one minute tourbillon composed of 80 components and weighing 0.3 grams. When fully wound, the watch provides a power reserve of 48 hours.
To round out its elegant design and ultra classic look, both models are available with a black alligator strap with a white gold folding clasp. The jeweled version includes a clasp set with 8 baguette diamonds. On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and very comfortably thanks to its ergonomic curved shaped case back.
Sticker Price $215,000USD for 18K white gold and $320,000 USD for 18K white gold diamond set. For more info on Girard-Perregaux click here.