Today, we bring you our hands-on review with our usual photography of the Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL Large Date Moon Phases Squelette ref. 25882-11-222-BB6B. This new timepiece from the legendary manufacture from La Chaux-de-Fonds features a first time ever sapphire dial that reveals the beating heart of the Vintage 1945 XXL watch. The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Large Date Moon Phases Squelette is a perfect example of the Art Deco inspired timepieces released during the mid-century era in the 1900s. The new Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Large Date Moon Phases watch fully reveals the complexity of its movement for the first time, thanks to a transparent dial carved in sapphire. This new timepiece available in stainless steel or 18K rose gold features a rectangular —almost square— 'tonneau' shaped case measuring 36.10mm in length and 35.25mm in width. The case visually appears larger than its actual measurements but its quite comfortable on the wrist, true to its size and quite light —total weight of the watch is 82.5 grams. This watch is fitted with a perfectly curved convex sapphire crystal that does not protrude at all in order to enhance the visibility of the dial at any angle. The beautifully executed case is fitted with a nicely engraved crown and a push piece corrector at 4 o'clock to set the moon phase. Its curved caseband along with the meticulously shaped lugs make the Vintage 1945 one of the most unique and classiest timepieces out there.
This elegant watch is fitted with a smoked sapphire dial —between gray and brownish in hue— offers the wearer a fascinating mechanical spectacle of gears, display discs, screws, levers and wheels, all arranged in a perfectly orchestrated system. The dial is very well balanced in terms of design featuring applied Arabic numerals at 12, 3 and 9, a large date aperture at 12 with double superimposed discs and a running seconds indicator with moon phases at 6 o'clock. To round out the elegant look of the watch, the time is marked by sand blasted dauphine hands. Among the first features to be noticed is the large jumping date at 12 o’clock, displayed by a tandem of two adjacent discs. In terms of technical performance, this patented mechanism impresses by the rapidity of its operation: a date change is completed in under 5 milliseconds when triggered. It is also noteworthy for its display on the same level, achieved thanks to an ingenious mechanism.
The transparent disc bearing the numerals indicating the units, placed on top and with a minimum thickness of 0.1 mm, has its numerals inscribed on its back, contrary to usual practice. The level difference is thus imperceptible in relation to the black disc positioned underneath that bears the numerals indicating the tens. The two numerals thus give the appearance of being displayed naturally side by side, without any line of demarcation. Even when the dial on this watch is a real treat for the eyes, we noticed that the dial causes a strong glare and reflection on the crystal of the watch, limiting the visibility with heavy unwanted glare unlike the Vintage 1945 XXL we reviewed last year here. You will see in the last wrist shot picture at the bottom of this post what we are talking about.
The beating heart inside the Vintage 1945 XXL is the automatic Girard-Perregaux calibre GP03300-0051 with 32 jewels that provides a power reserve of 46 hours when fully wound. The movement beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and after several days of wearing this watch, we noticed that it is quite accurate with no time gain or loss over a 48-hour period. The nicely finished movement —with perlage and 'Côtes de Genève'— is fully visible via the display case back and the smoked sapphire crystal dial.
To complete the classic and elegant look of this watch, the Vintage 1945 XXL Large Date Moon Phases Squelette is fitted with a nice black alligator strap with a folding clasp that is quite comfortable and easy to use. Additionally, towards the area where the strap meets the case, there is a flexible folding piece built into the strap that allows for the watch to sit flatter on the wrist and for the strap to wrap around the wrist instead of pushing down in a straight line and lifting the bottom of the case.
On the wrist, the watch fits nicely and comfortably like a glove. One of the best things about 'tonneau' shaped watches is that they mold perfectly to the shape of the wrist. One thing that caught our attention was the lightness of the watch weighing roughly 82.5 grams when compared to the 100 grams on the Vintage 1945 XXL Large Date Moon Phases ref. 25882-11-121-BB6B. The watch sits quite high on the wrist with a thickness of almost 12mm but it can still be comfortably tucked under a French cuffed shirt. While this watch is extremely beautiful and one of our favorite GPs at the moment, it is unfortunately too elegant to be worn with a casual attire for those of you wondering how it would look in a less formal setting.
Sticker Price $16,000 USD. For more info on Girard-Perregaux click here.