Antonio Calce, who has recently been appointed to head Girard-Perregaux, already has a milestone to mark, since the Vintage 1945 collection is celebrating its 70th birthday this year. While it had been very much on the back burner for a few decades, it currently constitutes one of the main growth drivers for the firm. “It’s a collection typical of the 1940s and 50s”, says Product Development Director Stefano Macaluso. “It features the Art Deco signature design of the era and that was extremely widespread before the more conventional round shapes took over”.
What the general public is less aware of is that the collection was in fact revived in 1995 and is therefore also celebrating the 20th anniversary of its rebirth. “Our museum had just bought back two vintage models that gave us the original inspiration for this new collection”, Stefano Macaluso explains. “In this respect, the models we are presenting at Baselworld are very similar to the originals."
Nonetheless, these watches will be snapped up by only a lucky few, since three new models will be issued in limited series ranging from 8 to 100 at the most. This extremely exclusive anniversary is first embodied in a three-hand model with small seconds at 6 o’clock. The model combines gold and steel, but with a subtle difference. The original model featured a gold bezel and steel case, while the 2015 anniversary reverses this combination by offering a gold bezel and steel case. As on the original, the hours are marked off by Arabic numerals. The in-house self-winding calibre guarantees a 46-hour power reserve.
An even more exclusive version will delight tourbillon fans: the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges appears in the iconic case of the Vintage 1945 collection. This is not the first such match, which had already been seen in 2004. The 2015 men’s version is more vibrant and contemporary than ever, with a white gold case admirably highlighted by the contrast with the pink gold bridges. Their finish is one of the strong points of this model whose curving architecture alternates between matt and brilliant-polished surfaces and showcases a countless number of hand-polished interior angles.
This fine specimen of hand craftsmanship is interpreted in two versions: an 18-piece non-gemset version, and eight of the gemset variation sparkling with 112 baguette-cut diamonds accentuating the Art Deco lines of the famous rectangular case.
The new generation of Three Bridges
Neo-Tourbillon: its name already proclaimed its ambitions in 2014, the goal clearly being about “appealing to a more contemporary clientele”, says Stefano Macaluso. “The Three Bridges model retains its classic architecture, but in this new edition we have done a lot of work on its three-dimensionality.”
Technically speaking, the model remains identical, with a line-up of its famous three bridges, the barrel, hours/minutes and tourbillon. It now reveals a cathedral-type perspective creating a new depth effect. “The case has no bezel”, as Stefano Macaluso points out. “This model features a sapphire dome spanning the entire case middle, which we also decided to slim down at 12 and 6 o’clock to enable the gaze to literally plunge into the movement”.
Whereas in 2014 the case was in pink gold and the bridges were black PVD-coated, the 2015 version comprises a PVD-coated mainplate visible on the dial side and a DLC-coated titanium case. This model is joining the brand’s mainstream collections.