Among the vast number of under and over-rated watch brands the second kind is for sure a far more common problem. That said, the list of under-rated manufacturers of our beloved timepieces is by far more impressive, consisted of names that mean a lot. And I mean a lot if you consider the true values of mechanical watchmaking, its history, inventions and quality. Without going into the full list of those brands (that might vary according to your personal preferences) let’s just focus for a moment on one of them – Girard-Perregaux.
Founded back in 1856 by Constant Girard (with the support of his wife – Marie Perregaux – hence the name) the watchmaking house located in La Chaux-de-Fonds is a manufacture capable of great things. You need a proof? – just look at the highly anticipated and awarded Constant Escapement – the best watch of the 2013 Grand Prix de Horlogerie de Geneve. Highly innovative creation with a silicon constant force escapement based on the buckling rule impressed the watch world, automatically bringing Girard Perregaux to attention. Attention that is well deserved, if you look at other high-complication pieces from GP like the legendary Three Golden Bridges and the Bi-Axial tourbillions.
Luckily for us, regular dudes with a passion for quality watchmaking, GP is also a brand with gorges (and far more affordable) classic watches in the 1966 and 1945 collections as well as the newly introduced sport-casual lines: the Seahawk and Traveler. First one is a sporty set of a diver’s and a chronograph watch with sharp cases and sporty futures. The later bears a more casual feel to it, with two models presenting two different sets of complications. The WW.TC combines a chronograph with a WorldTime, the Moon Phases and Large Date is, as you can guess, a model with a moon phases indication, large date and power reserve. And this is the piece will have a look at now.
If you knew Girard-Perregaux offerings already, you might remember the direct predecessor of the Traveller series – the Laureato. Although the new pieces underwent deep redesign, there are few resemblances here and there. The case is completely new, made out of stainless steel, satin brushed with polished bezel, and with hefty 44mm in diameter (12mm thick). It could have been made a bit smaller, but at the same time it’s very well finished and the best profiled case I ever wore. Despite large size it hugs wrist perfectly, making the experience as comfortable as it can get. Leather strap with a fold-over buckle and safety buttons does its job to.
With Laureato pieces in mind, the biggest resemblance lays in the dial. The watch presents the obvious moon phases indication along with small-seconds at 7 o’clock, the power reserve at 5 o’clock and the big date at 12 o’clock. Time is indicated by set of two polished, round-edge hands with some super-luminova. The surface is mat-black with raised minutes ring, polished indices with some luminova dots and overall quite sober, readable look. One thing that bothers me though – it’s not much of a “Traveller’s” watch – as it does not have any kind of second or multiply-time-zones indication whatsoever. In a piece called boldly a “Traveller” you could expect it, yet it’s sadly missing.
On to the movement now. Girard Perregaux is a fully entitled manufacture, so it equips its watches with in-house made mechanical movements. The one you’ll find under the sapphire caseback of the Girard-Perregaux Traveller Moon Phases and Large Date is caliber GP 03300-0081. It’s automatic with 46h power reserve, 4Hz balance wheel, stop-second, quick-date-setting and moon phases correction by means of a button in the case side. The finishing is all you might expect from a high-end watchmaker – circular graining, Geneva stripes, blued screws, bevels etc. On the down-side – the black and white winding rotor looks a bit out of style – but that is just my taste probably. All in all it is a compact, well made, reliable and user-friendly engine.
So – to sum up. I wore the Girard-Perregaux Traveller Moon Phases and Large Date for two weeks and was quite pleased with it. It is fairly casual timepiece with both sporty and elegant character in it. Could have been made a bit smaller I think, but still it wore and felt very nice, as every daily-wearer should. I might not entirely dig the GP style on that one (a bit to “normal” perhaps), none the less can’t say a serious bad word about it. The quality is all there, as you might expect from a watch priced at 12.000CHF. And if you don’t find the Traveller appealing to your taste, there is plenty to chose from this highly respectable yet highly unappreciated manufacture.
Girard-Perregaux Traveller Moon Phases and Large Date – Technical Specs
- Moon phase,
- Power reserve,
- Big date,
- Small seconds.
- Swiss Made Manufacture,
- Movement designation: Automatic, GP 03300-0081,
- Finish: circular-graining, Cotes de Geneve, blued screws, beveling,
- Power reserve: 46h,
- Frequency: 4Hz / 28800 Vph.
- Diameter: 44mm,
- Thickness: 12mm,
- Material: Steel,
- Finish: Satin finished/polished,
- Back Opening: Sapphire crystal,
- Water resistant: 10 ATM (100m).
- Color: Black,
- Indices: Minute track, polished indices,
- Hands: Polished, with Luminova.
More resources about the Girard-Perregaux Traveller Moon Phase and Large Date on The Horophile.