Girard-Perregaux: The Final Frontier

The divide between past and future is collapsing.

 

It’s happening slowly and all at once; more and more, tomorrow looks a lot like yesterday, run through a funhouse mirror. Did you see Star Trek: Discovery, the next-gen period piece that’s set a decade before the original series? Catch high-fashion’s astro-chic looks on the runways last year? Or hear that S.J. Clarkson, a young Netflix director, will helm the franchise’s next film? Welcome to life inside the supercollider of “back then” and “right now” and “in a moment.” It’s pretty weird in here.

 

It’s also harder than ever to put a finger on the zeitgeist. But that’s exactly what Girard-Perregaux is doing with its current collection. The latest entry into that heady catalog, the new Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges Skeleton, arrives steeped in tradition; its triple-arch layout, the brand’s signature motif, dates back to 1884. One hundred and thirty years later, Girard-Perregaux reinterpreted the idea with the Neo Tourbillon. The bridges, traditionally gold, have been enlarged and hewn from titanium, a nod to modern cable-stayed structures, like Southern France’s Millau Viaduct, the tallest in the world.

 

The new Skeleton conveys all that history, while also introducing decidedly futuristic design elements. Girard-Perregaux’s flagship automatic movement carries over here, composed of 260 components, with a lightweight, titanium tourbillon cage and 18k white gold micro-rotor, offering a 60-hour power reserve. But the 45 mm case is taller and, crucially, the baseplate is gone. Exposed screws now sit deep into the structure of the openwork movement, holding the polished and bevelled bridges in place.

 

Somehow, the resulting piece, a mash-up of heritage and progress, feels cohesive. The Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges Skeleton isn’t a limited-run proposition. But its $138,000 price point ensures exclusivity, and, in a way, it’s the rarest piece of all: one that’s both timely and timeless. Like the rest of Girard-Perregaux’s contemporary portfolio, it would look right on the wrist of William Shatner’s Kirk, or Patrick Stewart’s Piccard, or Jason Issacs’s Lorca, in any galaxy and on any planet, a watch sure to remain fashionable and collectible well into the future—even if that future is just a colorful sendup of the past…

 


 

 

Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges Skeleton

 

It starts with the case, steeply-cambered, anti-reflective-treated sapphire front glass and sapphire crystal caseback. Inside, the unidirectional, self-winding mechanical movement features a brilliant 18k white gold micro-rotor. Still, the bridges remain a highlight. They’re made of titanium, sandblasted, blackened via PVD process. Their shape is so complex, composed of interior angles, arches, extensions and overhangs, that their machining is a watchmaking feat in itself. The result is a taut and powerful shape. Gravity, mass, transparency—what do you need with a spaceship? This radical new skeleton has it all.

 

 


 

 

Constant Escapement L.M.

 

The L.M.’s avant-garde, titanium case contains an innovative solution to the age-old horological concern: how to maintain the precision and regularity of a mechanical watch. Introduced as a prototype in 2008, this award-winning movement uses an integrated, microscopic silicon blade; it serves as an intermediary device in the escapement, metering energy to ensure constant power delivery to the oscillator, and, in turn, constant amplitude and constant rate. Sound like science fiction? Consider this: Even with Girard-Perregaux’s master watchmakers gave ‘er all they had, the super-complicated L.M. still required eight years of research and development.

 

 


 

 

Laureato 42 mm

 

The Laureato is sports watch icon. Designed by a Milanese architecture studio, it was released in 1975, flourishing in an era that celebrated leisure for leisure’s sake. In 2016, Girard-Perregaux brought out a limited-edition re-release; it was so well-received, the brand upped the ante, bringing out a whole new range. This Laureato 42 mm beams the octagonal case styling of its iconic 1975 predecessor straight into the present, but brings two thoroughly modern touches: a handsome rubber strap in place of the old integrated bracelet, and the acclaimed mechanical GP01800 caliber (designed, produced, assembled, and adjusted in-house) in place of the original’s quartz movement.

 

 


 

 

Laureato Skeleton Ceramic 

 

That new Laureato collection? It now includes dozens of references, housed in a variety of case sizes and materials. Among them, a skeletonized ceramic, which uses a thin, suspended, indexed ring as a dial, in turn offering a glimpse deep into the heart of the movement, dubbed GP01800-006, those last three digits denoting a skeleton variant. It’s a self-winding labyrinth, comprised of 173 total components, sand-brushed and treated using a galvanic process (“anthracite gray ruthenium,” according to the Girard-Perregaux’s master watchmakers), decorated by hand in a “unique and contemporary manner.” Which is all to say: the Laureato Skeleton Ceramic is a collector siren. Resistance is futile.

 

One (Perfect) Day in Berlin With NOMOS Glashütte

Spending time at work, hours and minutes can often feel slow and deliberate. But when visiting a foreign city on vacation, rules change. Scheduling becomes irrelevant. In a recent issue of Watch Journal, we featured a travel story about Berlin, a city our friends at NOMOS Glashütte know well. Concurrently, the German watch brand brings us a new series of watches with a significant update: Tangente, Orion, and Ludwig, each with a radically redesigned caliber, the neomatik date DUW 6101. These pieces require less maintenance, provide greater precision, and offer super-legible date indicators. Perfect for getting the most out of a day in Berlin, a bustling city that demands punctuality.


8:00 am –  The Tangente neomatik 41 Update at the Hotel Oderberger

NOMOS Glashütte Tangente neomatik 41 Update. (Photo courtesy of NOMOS Glashütte)

The ideal watch to start the day, the Tangente easily synchronizes to local time (GMT +2). Gained or lost a day in transit? A simple turn of the crown sets the date backward or forward, with a cool, red marker that travels around the outer ring of the dial.

Facade of Hotel Oderberger, formerly Oderberger Stadtbad

“This boutique hotel occupies an old public bathing house [designed by architect Ludwig Hoffmann in 1898]–the rooms still have some of the old features, and, more importantly, the swimming pool is open to all. We held an event here last summer to launch our Aqua series.” 

– NOMOS Glashütte
NOMOS Glashütte Tangente neomatik 41 Update. (Photo courtesy of NOMOS Glashütte)

10:30 am – Tour The Boros Collection, but keep an eye on the Tangente. The museum can only accommodate 12 people at a time, and German-language tours start on the full hour, English on the half-hour. Open Thursday thru Sunday, 10 am to 8 pm. (Make sure to book a viewing in advance.)

The Boros Collection. (Photos, including opening image, by NOSHE)

“Only in Berlin can you find 3,000 meters of exhibition space in a converted war bunker. We share the Boros’ love for clean and creative design, rooted in the 20th century but constantly in dialogue with today’s developments.”

– NOMOS Glashütte

NOMOS Glashütte Tangente neomatik 41 Update Specs:

  • Oxidized black hands
  • Steel case with anti-reflective sapphire crystal dial
  • Automatic movement
  • Diameter: 40.5 mm
  • Height: 7.9 mm
  • Weight: 58 g
  • Horween black cordovan leather strap
  • Reference 180

12:00 pm  – The Ludwig nemomatik 41 Date at the Berlinische Galerie

NOMOS Glashütte Ludwig neomatik 41 Date. (Photo courtesy of NOMOS Glashütte)

Midday is ideal for contemplating great German design. The Ludwig has it in spades. Its date window sits at the 4 o’clock position, displayed in Arabic type—a smart, contrasting twist alongside the dial’s elegant Roman numerals.

Berlinische Galerie. (Photo by Nina Strassguetl)

“This is one of our favorite museums in Berlin, as it focuses on local art from the past 150 years, giving a real insight into the cultural history of the city.”

– NOMOS Glashütte
NOMOS Glashütte Ludwig Neomatik 41 Date. (Photo courtesy of NOMOS Glashütte)

3:00 pm – Visit the Istanbul-inspired Turkish Bazaar. Again, timing is everything here. The open-air market is only open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm.

Turkish Bazaar. (Photo by Neil G Hamilton)

“NOMOS employees can often be found here on their lunch breaks, having a stroll, or getting groceries.”

– NOMOS Glashütte

NOMOS Glashütte Ludwig neomatik 41 Date Specs:

  • Steel case with anti-reflective sapphire crystal dial
  • Tempered steel blue hands
  • Automatic movement
  • Diameter: 40.5 mm
  • Height: 7.7 mm
  • Weight: 54 g
  • Horween black cordovan leather strap
  • Reference 260

7:00 pm – The Orion neomatik 41 Date for an evening at Katz Orange

NOMOS Glashütte Orion neomatik 41 Date (Photo courtesy of NOMOS Glashütte)

Nighttime is ideal for the Orion, named after the constellation, with its elegant golden indices, small seconds at the 6 o’clock position, and date window at 3. Ideal for a stylish night out on the town. Here, that means a fabulous dinner at Katz Orange. Reservations can easily be made online via OpenTable.

Kate Orange Courtyard. (Photo by Thanasis Boucharas)

“We also think [Katz Orange] has great taste in desserts—try the petit fours, to which we have dedicated our latest series of Tetra watches.”

– NOMOS Glashütte
NOMOS Glashütte Orion neomatik 41 Date. (Photo courtesy of NOMOS Glashütte)

NOMOS Glashütte Orion neomatik 41 Date Specs:

  • Steel case with anti-reflective sapphire crystal dial
  • Tempered steel blue hands
  • Automatic movement
  • Diameter: 40.5 mm
  • Height: 9.35 mm
  • Weight: 58 g
  • Horween black cordovan leather strap
  • Reference 360