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Bridging the Past and the Present: Girard-Perregaux’s Iconic Watches Return to the Philippines

It’s no surprise that, having practiced the art of horology since the 18th century,  Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Girard-Perregaux has created and continues to create some of the world’s most awe-inspiring timepieces. The dedication to such a fine craft is evident in their beloved models: the Art Deco inspired Vintage 1945, the classic 1966, the iconic Laureato, and of course, their signature Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges. 

Where It All Began

Girard-Perregaux’s story begins with Jean-Francois Bautte who founded the manufacturing company in 1791. His company was later acquired by newlyweds Constant Girard and Marie Perregaux. Afterwards, the couple established a manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. With just their luck, in 1889, they won a gold medal at an exposition in Paris with their signature model—The Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges—cementing the manufacture’s reputation in the world of high horology.

By the second half of the 19th century, the company was on a mission to widen their market. With great help from François Perregaux and Henri Perregaux, they were able to attract wealthy Japanese and South American clients who took an interest in their tourbillons, minute repeaters and other grande complication models.

Meanwhile, the beginning of the 20th century saw Girard-Perregaux dominate numerous international expositions, and eventually gained an uncontested privilege as a result. Because of this, they were selected to be a permanent member of the Jury, which excluded them from competing in international events.

Constant Innovations

Over the course of the 1960s, the manufacture was hard at work to create a watch with a high frequency movement. And so in 1971, they showcased the first quartz watch produced in Switzerland—The Gyromatic Chronometer HF. Its high frequency of 32,768 Hz became the standard among watch manufacturers. Hence, the Gyromatic, along with the Laureato, became the talk of the town throughout the 70s and 80s.

In 1994, the company partnered up with Ferrari to create a Chronograph line. The partnership lasted a decade, with four collections released. A few years after, Girard-Perregaux attempted to replicate its Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges onto a wristwatch. Successful in learning the traditional skills to recreate the model, they came out with several variations of the timepiece. From that point on until the 2000s, the company kept creating models, mostly taking inspiration from its older timepieces.

Making A Comeback

In 2013 Girard-Perregaux made a groundbreaking development: it presented the first watch that was equipped with a constant force escapement. And for this reason it won the most prestigious award, the Aiguille d’Or of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.

Most recently, at SIHH 2019, the company released their latest novelties, drawing inspiration from the cosmos. And in February of this year, a new model was added to the latest collection: The Quasar. Named after the celestial object, the Quasar grabbed attention with its fully transparent sapphire case, skeleton dial, and signature three bridges.

The Laureato’s Evolution

An entirely separate spotlight should be given to one of Girard-Perregaux’s best-sellers: the Laureato. The timepiece was first conceived in 1975 as a luxury sports watch with a hexagonal bezel and linked bracelet. It was reproduced in 1984, with the addition of mechanical movements and added astronomical indicators. Throughout the years, it was reimagined in different ways, most recently at this year’s SIHH, with the introduction of three Laureato Absolute models featuring different complications.

Truly, Girard-Perregaux’s long and illustrious history is a testament to their passion for haute horlogerie as they continually develop techniques and innovations that cement their place in the watchmaking world. And with its recent relaunch in the Philippines, now is the perfect time to reawaken your love for this manufacture and its horological masterpieces.

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