On the occasion of the Geneva Watch Days, Girard-Perregaux showcased the new Free Bridge model and a ‘capsule’ collection including a special edition of their existing models.
In January 2020 I was invited to a presentation at Girard-Perregaux’ headquarters in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where Patrick Pruniaux (CEO of Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin) dropped hints about where the ship of Girard-Perregaux is sailing towards. The heritage of the company is amazing but it definitely needed a breath of fresh air. Back then we saw not only the manufacture and the novelties but he and his team gave us an overview presentation about how the brand aims to conserve its values and know-how while become much more up-to-date and consistent with its collections at the same time.
The Free Bridge & Free Bridge Infinity Edition
The new models are great examples of the above mentioned philosophy – they pay respect to Girard-Perregaux’s legendary Three Bridges of 1867 but the watches are very contemporary.
‘Girard-Perregaux is known for Swiss-made excellence and innovative horology’, explains Patrick Pruniaux. ‘With these models, our master watchmakers have re-imagined the company’s famous Bridges, first seen in the 1860s. The designs of the Free Bridge and the Free Bridge Infinity Edition have been refined for today and beyond. Furthermore, the styling of each model proves stunning and, despite the execution of both references, these watches remain comparatively accessible.’
I tried on the steel Free Bridge. The 44 mm case is not my size for sure, but it is a cool watch anyway. It features a satin-finished and hand-bevelled hour bridge which visually frames the barrel and the oscillating balance wheel. Interesting contrasts appear on the model: the straight lines of the hour bridge play with the arches of the case, wheels and other components, just like the colours from white to black and the finishing of the various surfaces. The look is completed with the colour-coordinated and fabric-structured strap.
Inside in the Free Bridge is the reinterpreted GP01800 in-house calibre with a silicon escapement and balance wheel parts. Silicon is not liable to corrosion, is unaffected by changing temperature, is lightweight and less susceptible to magnetic fields. Similarly to Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux is also at the forefront of silicon usage – they presented the Constant Escapement (the super thin silicon blade bending backwards and forwards delivering a uniform supply of energy to the escapement) in a test piece in 2008.
The Free Bridge Infinity Edition is made of steel but is finished with a dark DLC coating and includes pink gold details. While the Infinity Edition is limited to 88 pieces, the Free Bridge is aimed to be a new pillar of the Bridges collection of the brand and a nice ‘entry’ to the haute horlogerie world.
Both models are available worldwide in all authorised Girard-Perregaux retailers from October 2020.
The Infinity Editions
The latest releases include a kind of ‘capsule collection’ – with the Laureato, the 1966, the Vintage 1945, the Cosmos and the aforementioned Free Bridges timepieces. The Infinity Edition watches follow some common design codes: polished black onyx dials and some pink gold accents (like the hour markers, the logo or little stitches on the strap).
For the diamond-set Laureato Infinity 38mm and 42mm options, Girard-Perregaux announced an exclusive distribution agreement with the well-known German retailer Wempe, for a limited period of two months in select points of sale across Germany as well as its flagship stores in New York and London, starting in September 2020.
GP’s dressy classics, the 1966 (in 30mm and 40mm) and the Vintage 1945 come in a limited edition of 188 and 88 pieces respectively.
The flagship piece of the Infinity collection is the Cosmos Infinity Edition, an evolution of the Cosmos released in 2019; this version limited to just eight pieces. The Cosmos Infinity emphasises the haute horlogerie values of the company – it features a tourbillon at 6 o’clock with the signature ‘Neo Bridge’, a terrestrial onyx globe at 3 o’clock for day and night indication and a celestial globe displays the constellations of the Zodiac at 9 o’clock. Both globes are formed of polished onyx and are hand-decorated using micro-painting in pink gold.
Photo credits: Loupiosity.com, Girard-Perregaux
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