girard perregaux - Girard-Perregaux Neo-Tourbillon  with Three Bridges and DLC titanium case
girard perregaux - Girard-Perregaux Neo-Tourbillon  with Three Bridges and DLC titanium case

Girard-Perregaux Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges and DLC titanium case

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Sculpting future time

A contemporary reinterpretation of movement architecture designed by Girard-Perregaux in the nineteenth century, the Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges and DLC titanium case definitively places the Manufacture in the third millennium and puts the watch mechanism on the level of kinetic art.

Daring has always been the watchword of exceptional people who defy established rules to create new paradigms by sheer force of conviction. Iconic since its inception, the Tourbillon with Three Bridges has imposed its unrivalled and minimalist architecture on the whole profession for the past 150 years. At the dawning of this new millennium, the time had come to make a change and uphold the magic of a sustainable idea. With the Neo-Tourbillon developed by the Manufacturer's watchmaking teams, form has evolved in tune with contemporary tastes, but the architectural principle of perfection, which focuses on the essentials, remains just as powerful. Designed with the will to always move forward in compliance with the values dear to watch enthusiasts, the Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges endorses the technological potential mastered by the Manufacture, honouring the past and proving itself worthy of the future.

Between past and present

One look is enough to understand that the Neo-Tourbillon is primarily the expression of a stylistic principle around which it is possible to compose without ever deviating from the blueprint. The new aesthetic used to magnify the ethereal mechanism plays with the graphic codes of the era to attract and maintain attention. It also uses the best that avant-garde technology and materials have to offer. The new bridge design, through its curves, emphasises the omnipotence of this dynamic as expressed in the geometric design of bridges in the watch presented in 1889 by Constant Girard-Perregaux at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, which went on to win a gold medal.

A bridge to the future

The structure of the bridges, openworked in such a way as to give an insight into each detail, is an ethereal celebration of the mechanism. Machined in titanium, a metal nearly half the weight of steel, each bridge is sand-blasted and then PVD-treated to give a materiality to this fine construction, which is a tribute to contemporary architecture and sometimes defies the rules of universal gravitation. Yet this is quite logical as the Tourbillon, supported by its sculptural arch, performs a timed revolution that has the fascinating property of releasing the balance spring from the effects of gravity.

Framed by gravity

To maximise the effect of depth and catch the eye - and thereby the soul -, engineers and watchmakers have reworked the plate, also sand-blasted and black treated, in order to concentrate perspectives and light in its centre. This centre is contrasted and fractal, formed by a succession of three intertwining light grey circles. The sophisticated plate is designed like a frame and protected by a super-convex crystal dispensing the need for the case to include a bezel and thus emphasising a very large and magnificent Tourbillon cage. Also made in titanium, as in traditional steel versions, it offers fine watchmaking finishing with "traits tirés" surfaces and hand chamfered ridges. Performing a full rotation in one minute, this 14.44 mm diameter part, comprising 80 components and weighing only 0.25 grams, takes with it in its timed circle a balance spring adjusted by a set of gold screws, oscillating at 3 Hz through a spiral with a Phillips terminal curve.

The art of handling figures and numbers

As a perfect equation, the calibre of the Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges has a striking mathematical construction. A fleeting observation could suggest that this movement, called the GP09400, consists of only a few parts. In reality, it takes 245 to bring it to life. Distributed into subsets, they facilitate servicing of this heart finished to fine watchmaking standards. It is also the result of a large-scale development involving exclusive technical solutions, for some selected options such as automatic winding.

Tremendous endurance

Here for example, the platinum rotor that rewinds the barrel spring in one direction is placed beneath it and not around its drum as applied by the Manufacturer on certain other Tourbillon with Three Bridges models. This reviewed positioning guarantees the watch a power reserve of 60 hours by the use of a larger diameter barrel drum, capable of holding a much longer spring.  Aware of the stylistic choices made, watchmakers have removed the teeth on the drum and replaced them with a screwed wheel. Engraved and chamfered, this wheel has six arms, assembled like turbine blades, to form a unique décor whose pattern is repeated as a kind of signature on the other visible wheels in the movement.

The Neo-Tourbillon in substance

Obviously, the Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges adorned with a 45 mm case in titanium DLC, water resistant to 30 metres and worn on an alligator strap has a transparent case-back. It allows enthusiasts to get to the heart of the components, some of which have been specifically designed to capture specific shapes of the Tourbillons with Three Bridges. Thus, on the case-back, an arrow-shaped bridge completely crosses the movement. Likewise, the ratchet at 12 o'clock reproduces the shape of a lyre and all the parts of the calibre, in addition to playing with multiples of three, have contemporary finishes treated according to the strictest traditional watchmaking rules.

Technical specifications

Girard-Perregaux Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges

Technical specifications

DLC Titanium Case

Diameter: 45.00 mm

Crystal: anti-reflective sapphire

Crown: titanium with engraved GP logo

Hands: dauphine style skeletonised, in gold

Case-back: sapphire crystal, secured by 6 screws

Water resistance: 30 meters (3 ATM)

Girard-Perregaux GP09400-0002 movement

Automatic mechanical movement

Diameter: 36,60 mm (16 ''')

Thickness: 8,21 mm

Frequency: 21.600 Vib/h - (3 Hz)

Power reserve: min. 60 hours

Jewels: 27

Number of components: 245

Main plate: PVD treatment and a sand-blasting finish

Bridges: Three Bridges in titanium with PVD treatment, beveled and sand-blasted

Barrel: upper wheel of the barrel skeletonised beveled, polished, circular grained and engraved.


·       cage of the Tourbillon: 80 components for a total 0.25 grams in weight

·       one revolution per minute

·       beveled and hand-polished upper and lower cages

Balance wheel: variable inertia with golden poising screws

Spiral: Philips terminal curve 

Winding: micro-motor in platinum, assembled on the same shaft as the barrel

Functions: tourbillion, hour, minute, small second on the Tourbillon

Hand stitched black alligator leather strap

Folding buckle with PVD Titanium blades and ceramic cover

Reference: 99270-21-000-BA6A

Who's who

When you ask Laurent Picciotto about the reason for his long-standing partnership with Grand-Perregaux, he’s likely to take some time to weigh his words; there are so many good reasons for working with ‘GP’ that he needs to be sure of highlighting the right one – the one that would endure even if all the others were no more. He finally chooses to illustrate this, the reason, with an occurrence over twenty years ago somewhere in the midst of BaselWorld. “It was in 1991,” recalls Picciotto. “I was doing my rounds of the exhibition, and suddenly came to a halt in front of the tourbillon with three gold bridges. I went into the stand and asked them for a case containing three numbered timepieces, one for each type of finish. This outstanding box set, sold a few months later to one of my clients with a collection of over one thousand watches, remains for me the defining moment of all my work with Girard-Perregaux”. What emerges is that the key reason for this work together is the brand’s ability to offer exceptional timepieces that take everyone by surprise – whilst seemingly blending in flawlessly with the traditions of haute horlogerie. And so, over the years, the production of limited editions – and sometimes even unique items for Chronopassion – has become a regular feature of the two big names’ collaboration. Most of the brand’s collectors became aware that in rue Saint Honoré, they could winkle out timepieces they would never see anywhere else. A friendship was formed between the two owners, Luigi Macaluso and Laurent Picciotto, which lasted right up until Luigi’s death in 2010. For Laurent Picciotto, the history of Girard-Perregaux is rooted in haute horlogerie; he’s particularly impressed with the complications in which the brand specialises. “The tourbillon is one of Girard-Perregaux’ strengths,” he says. “Twenty years ago, it was a characteristic that really made a watch stand out. There weren’t many on the market – it was a far cry from the extensive offer that can be found these days.” Picciotto’s expectation today is that Girard-Perregaux plays to some other defining characteristic of the world of watchmaking – the stuff that great manufactures are made of. “It’s an institutional brand that commands respect and sobriety,” he adds. “This kind of brand has a duty to anticipate and surprise people. Girard-Perregaux has done so on a number of occasions and will do so again.” Keep your eyes open – “GP” could well show up just where you’re not expecting it.

Journalist : Olivier Müller (11/2012)

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