This is a somewhat special post, but rather than going on about some personal milestones, I’d rather look at historic milestones of Girard-Perregaux!
The modern collection of Girard-Perregaux outside the Haute Horlogerie with the iconic Three Golden Bridge Tourbillon, consists mainly of 3 model lines:
The Vintage 1945
The 1966 collection
And all three lines have their historic vintage watches. Putting them together like this, took me years of effort but a great outcome as it is so important to understand the historic roots when looking at a modern collection of watches of a manufacture.
So here we have:
The Ref 5080 from around 1945 with the characteristic case shape. Art Deco at its best.
The Ref B-2153 from 1966 with the High-Frequency Caliber 32A and a special Observatory Chronometer dial to celebrate the unrivaled achievements in chronometry by GP in 1966
The Reference 4266 TA, launched in 1975 as the Laureato, dubbed with this name by the Italian Retailer after the movie with Dustin Hofmann.
The Vintage 1945:
The modern Vintage 1945 line was launched in 1995 with a limited edition in the “vintage” collection. The initial Reference was 2595 and was closely modeled after the historic museum piece.
It came with a manual wind movement like in the original watch and only slightly increased the case proportions.
Due to its great success, a follow-up collection was launched and has been since then in production with various models.
Ref 2593 for example houses a automatic inhouse caliber and is otherwise very similar to the initial Ref 2595.
Soon after the collection was expanded with added complications, such as the Chronograph 2599 or the Large Date / Moonphase 2580
Currently, there are a number of models in production and the closest interpretation of the original design is model 25880 with the sensually curved case and small seconds.
It is time now to see some development on the Vintage 1945 line with new models, so let’s hope for 2019.
The 1966 Collection:
The 1966 collection had its origins, you guessed it, in 1966. However, what was so special in 1966? GP had already very elegant time-only (or with date) dress watches, both manual wind or automatic with the Gyromatic mechanism.
What made 1966 special was the development of the high-frequency caliber 32A. A development that was done together with a number of manufactures, but it was GP who submitted its entire production of calibers to the Neuchatel Observatory for Chronometry certification.
Until that time, typically, only hand-selected calibers were submitted to the Observatory but never just the whole production. That resulted in GP getting more than 70% of Chronometer Certifications issued in the years 1966/67. For that achievement, the Neuchatel Observatory issued the only ever Centenary Award to GP.
One of the hardest to find vintage GPs and something I consider a holy grail, is an original Chronometer HF from 1966 with the special dial print of “Observatory Chronometer”, which was released in celebration of the Award from the Neuchatel Observatory.
Reference B-2153 with “Observatory Chronometer” in 18k Yellow Gold can be considered the grandfather of the 1966, Ref 49525, which was the first release in the 1966 collection.
The line of dress watches proved successful and was widely expanded with different sizes and complications, such as:
Annual Calendar and Equation of Time:
And more recently with a number of steel models:
The 1966 collection has a great potential as an evergreen in the GP collection, a classic, high-quality watch that can be interpreted in many ways. But none of that would make much sense without the historic model
Last but not least in this little history excurse is the Laureato. Especially here it is very important to understand the roots from the mid 70s when steel bracelet sports watches became fashion. Just because the Laureato has an octagonal bezel, it does not make it a copy of the other well-known sports watch with octagonal bezel.
The really interesting part is inside the 1975 Laureato. For sure today, we sniff at the quartz movement, but in 1975 it was a bold and logical move by GP. Who knows what we will think about watches with silicon or nano technology in 20 years from now, surely today we think they are a logical state-of-the-art development.
Let’s not forget that it was GP who really brought out the first production Swiss Quartz watch and also set the standard with the 32768 Hz frequency, still used today. The Laureato 4266 TA had already a second generation of the Quartz movement which was highly integrated and very thin.
It offered the best precision (it was also a Quartz Chronometer) in a thin enclosure that did not require manual winding.
Thankfully from today’s view we put the Quartz and its crisis behind us and the Laureato lives on with automatic calibers.
Already in 90s, the Laureato was reborn with the model 8010 and an automatic movement.
And in 1996, the Laureato Olimpico was launched and in the 2000s followed up with the Laureato Evo3.
In 2016 finally, the time-only Laureato, a very close interpretation of the original 4266 and the 8010 was released.
Today, the Laureato is a key collection for GP, aiming to achieve a higher visibility and market penetration. The Laureato collection has been expanded with a number of interesting models, including the much acclaimed Skeleton or Ceramic versions and also provides a big variety for Ladies.
What has struck me most is the new Laureato Chronograph as I had already reported here.
It just hits all the buttons for me and it is at the top of my wish list.
It is fantastic to see that the main watches in the collection of GP have well-known historic roots and for me finding and owning those vintage predecessors is very important for a collection of GP watches. All three of them are incredibly hard to find, but with luck and perseverance, it is achievable, like reaching an incredible count of 10000 posts, something I never thought will happen.
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