For many years, the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges was one of the rare tourbillon models on the market. In a period when this complication was not yet so widespread and still radiated a highly exclusive aura, Girard-Perregaux was one of its most prestigious exponents. It must be said that its impressive and highly visible architecture was certainly eye-catching. During the 2000s, this model was repeatedly reinterpreted, in versions featuring modifications to the shape of the bridges as well as that of the case. In all instances, however, these were based on updated archive designs or existing cases, such as the large rectangular case of the Vintage 1945. However, at Baselworld 2014, Girard-Perregaux presented a Tourbillon with Three Bridges that looks resolutely to the future rather than the past.
The Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges is indeed based on a concept that is profoundly different from previous versions, as is visible at first glance. The three famous bridges are no longer shaped like arrows or bars as they were before, but instead like openworked arches spanning a large ‘valley’ hollowed out in the centre of the GP09400 movement. And for the very first time, they are made of blackened titanium rather than gold. Skeletonised so as not to obstruct the view, their taut lines convey a combined sense of lightness and sturdiness, like the retaining arches on a bridge. This is hardly surprising when one considers that the Macaluso family, the brand’s shareholders and senior executives, has a history of trained architects.
The structure of the Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges is twin-faced. The dial side features the bridges and of course the tourbillon at 6 o’clock. For the first time, the latter is also made of blackened titanium. At the other hand of the kinematic chain, a deliberately larger barrel at 12 o’clock enables the Neo-Tourbillon to enjoy a 70-hour power reserve, whereas all previous Three Bridges models offered a maximum of 48 hours. To achieve this, Girard-Perregaux has redesigned the barrel, a fact that can only be grasped by turning the watch over in order to explore the subterranean forces in play.
It is not widely known that Tourbillon with Three Bridges models have for years existed in self-winding versions thanks to a micro-rotor. In the Neo-Tourbillon interpretation, this invisible white gold element is concealed beneath the barrel, which has been enlarged and also contains a longer spring. The mainplate is sandblasted like the rest of the movement and features a grey ruthenium surface treatment matching the colour theme of this model. This dark, matt, tech-look finish sets the perfect final touch to the overall appearance.
This same movement side bears traces of both past and future. It is crossed through by a large straight bar-shaped gear-train bridge featuring the pointed tips already seen on previous models. It also introduces new wheels, including the ratchet wheel beneath the barrel, which is shaped like the tourbillon carriage, while the other visible wheels have more modern spokes.
Modern is definitely the operative word for this watch, and particularly its all-new asymmetrical pink gold case. Its rounded sides are reminiscent of the brand’s Grande Complication models, although this version has no bezel. Its sapphire crystal takes the shape of a box-like window and rises vertically before forming a smooth surface providing clear and smooth visual access. Lined up with the central ‘valley’ of the watch, it touches the case which is hollowed accordingly, and is naturally lower on the sides at 3 and 6 o’clock, given that the case itself is higher in these spots. The skeleton hands featuring a new design akin to that of the bridges contributes to its unprecedented aesthetic appeal. The panoramic view is truly spectacular and shifts subtly according to various viewpoints.