If there is a watch brand out there that is worthy of a bit more recognition, it’s Girard-Perregaux. GP a historical name, not only uses in-house movements but also supplies their own ebauches to several brands. Like any well-established watch brand, Girard-Perregaux has had more easily accessible sports watch collections in their lineup for quite some tow. In the past and up until last year, Girard-Perregaux offered two distinct sports watch ranges, the diver’s Sea Hawk and the retro-cool Laureato.
And while both lines have enjoyed moderate success in the past decade or two, Girard Perregaux decided it was time to take on the challenge of rejuvenating the two lines to keep up with more contemporary aesthetics while still retaining the core design. So the solution for Girard Perregaux was not to simply readapt the collections, but to take the best of both lines and merge them into a single collection with different models: the Hawk.
The new Girard-Perregaux Chrono Hawk line has succeeded the Laureato as the brand’s staple sports watch, though if you’re familiar with the former this is probably obvious. Essentially you have the same octagonal case and round bezel structure, but in a beefier and more aggressive (in a good way) incarnation.
The 44mm case is definitely more in line with today’s sporty offerings, but what I really like are the sharp angular facets, which not only give the watch a stealthy silhouette (think of the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk) but also help render the watch more comfortable on the wrist. The steel versions are finished in satin brushed cases with circular brushed bezels, while the black ceramic is done in a sand-blasted matte finish. Between the case and bezel is a round black rubber element, with the crown and pushers tipped with the same material to add to the 21st-century look and provide a softer touch when manipulating.
Now let’s look at the dial. You will have no doubt noticed the three-dimension honeycomb pattern, perhaps the most modern Girard-Perregaux dial to date. And while you might think that this is inspired by the grill of some sports car a la Audi RS, the pattern is in fact taken from the edges of Girard-Perregaux’s iconic golden bridges.
There’s a lot to love in the clean bi-compax layout, where the subdials are evenly sized and equidistant from the center of the watch. You have the constant seconds on the right hand-side, indicated by a bright orange skeleton hand. The chronograph measures only 30 minute sequences, which some may find limiting- Personally, out of the 4 or 5 chronographs I own, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve actually used the chronograph functions so this doesn’t bother me at all.
The trapezoid hour markers are done in polished white metal and filled with generous amounts of Super-LumiNova, as are the hand. The way the markers fit onto the dial and partly into the flange chapter ring further enhances the 3D appeal of the dial. Considering its modern edginess, the dial remains quite clean and void of any superfluous text.
While a 44mm case may be too large for some, I’m pleased to say that with the brands leather and rubber-enveloped integrated strap, this becomes a non-issue. There’s also an integrated rubber strap available, as well as a recently announced bracelet variant with two new dials.
Now the final part I’d like to talk about is likely the most controversial. The display back shows the Girard-Perregaux in-house manufactured GP03300 movement, which has been the brand’s workhorse for quite some time now. Coupled with a Dubois Depraz chronograph module, the movement is both robust and reliable, not to mention well-finished. However, as evident by the relatively small aperture, Girard Perregaux need to upsize their movements if they wish to offer watches in this size range. Thankfully in the Chrono Hawk, this isn’t so obvious given that width of the bezel and the rehaut ring, as well as the size of the sub-dials.
The Girard-Perregaux Chrono Hawk in steel comes at a price of $13’800 USD, making it a worthy contender for a contemporary high-end sports watch. More resources available on Hodinkee (Live Pics). Also check this review of the Hollywoodland version of the Chrono Hawk by Matthew Boston on DreamChrono.