Girard-Perregaux renews and transcends the tradition of the famous Cabinets of Curiosities, the forerunners to museums which emerged in Renaissance Europe in the Chamber of Wonders collection. Through the honorary name, Chamber of Wonders, the brand opens a doorway into a place brimming over with amazing treasures: discoveries, secrets, fabulous stories, natural assortments and curiosities of all forms.

Thanks to the talents of artisans of miniatures, who craft fine detail over a background of extraordinary materials, this Chambers of Wonders collection offers three meticulously immortalized cartographic parentheses of time in the limited space of a watch dial. Today, we are introducing the first model: The Pearls of Wonders.

Circular like the circumference of a classic watch, the map drawn during the first half of the fifteenth century by historian Ibn al-Wardi is, in itself, a concentrated moment of history. Firstly it is inspired by the theories of Ptolemy who is considered to be the father of geography. This atlas of the world demonstrates, at the turning point between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the influence of Arab culture on other civilizations. Arab astronomy was very advanced in the Middle Ages, as they described the constellations, created maps of the sky and perfected instruments such as the astrolabe.

Girard-Perregaux - La Perle des Merveilles

The Pearl of Wonders is a limited edition of 18 pieces. © Girard-Perregaux

Centered on the Arabian peninsula, the hub of the sacred pilgrimages, the unlikely lines of this mythical map allow us to recognize Africa hosting the mountains where the Nile takes its source. The river, represented by a wide blue line, suddenly flows into the Mediterranean at an abrupt right angle. In the center, surrounded by the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf surmounted by the Indian ocean, the Arabian Peninsula occupies a semicircle. Other noticeable elements are the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and, in the distance, India, Sindh and China.

Girard-Perregaux - La Perle des Merveilles

Close-up on The Pearl of Wonders' dial. © Girard-Perregaux

To render such a monument of ancient history, what could be more appropriate than the sodalite stone with its isometric structure, composed of silica-poor minerals? Its characteristic blue color and its open crystalline structure are incentives to plumb the depths of knowledge further. This sodalite stone, known for its hardness, comes from a block from which a disk 0.70 mm high is cut and polished manually. It is meticulously carved and engraved by hand. It takes almost 4 hours of scalpel work for it to house the fragmented mosaic of a papyrus, 0.25 mm thick. Once locked between two steel plates, to ensure that its surface is perfectly flat, the parchment, like an unexpected territory of expression, can accommodate the talent of a miniature painter who, for 28 hours, reproduced the contours of the ancient map. Then a coat of lacquer covers the work of art with a thin protective and stabilizing veil. In total, approximately 50 hours work is needed to realise The Pearl of Wonders. 

Girard-Perregaux - La Perle des Merveilles

The Technics used to realised The Pearl of Wonders: stone carving, papyrus cutting, miniature painting. © Girard-Perregaux

Three watches, three eras, three worlds interpreted with exceptional expertise; The Pearl of Wonders, the Terrestrial Map, and The New World. Renaissance images are immortalized by Girard-Perregaux on three dials, in numbered pieces within a trio of pink gold Girard-Perregaux 1966 watches fitted with an automatic manufacture caliber, all delivering different perspectives and emotions. Born in the workshops of the Manufacture, the GP03300 caliber highlights Girard-Perregaux' tradition of watchmaking and guarantees reliability and precision. Its mainplate and its bridges are carefully drawn, chamfered, and circular-grained and decorated with Côtes de Genève. Composed of 205 parts, it offers a 46-hour power reserve at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Its 25.60 mm diameter (11 ½ lines) for a thickness of 4.20 mm is perfectly suited to the refined lines of an elegant pink gold case, developed and made in the workshops of the Manufacture. A model of harmony sporting the remarkable detail of a gently sloping and polished bezel to highlight its thinness.