How do you update an iconic watch, one which defines Haute Horlogerie – one which is highly recognisable ? More often than not subtlety is the answer, with a light touch on the sketch pad and a few refined adjustments here and there – nothing too arduous and nothing too overpowering. With their Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges, Girard-Perregaux have proven that they are not afraid to unleash some bold styling and to add some high-tech ingredients into the mix. Not since 2012’s Laureato Tourbillon with Three Bridges has there been such a modernistic take on the trio of arrow-headed bridges and its dramatic movement alignment, but with the “Neo” the amendments are not merely cosmetic, this time they have re-vamped the whole shebang.
Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges – Skeletonized Bridges
The bridges have been skeletonized so that you can see what is going on behind them and the use of titanium in their construction skinnies their weight further still. Their curviness complies with the shape of the hands – also skeletonized, and despite a shadowy coating of PVD, the result is techy and not sombre. In keeping with the bridges, the mainplate receives a sandblasted finish providing an anthracite backdrop. The tactile pebble-like appearance of the case comes thanks to the domed sapphire which reaches right to the edge infinity-style without a bezel to halt its flow. There is no distortion, even side-on, allowing for a superb look-see whatever the angle. A combination of polished and satin finishes play with the light on a watch case made from rose gold.
Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges – Dramatic Calibre Redesign
The calibre has also been subject to a rather dramatic redesign. Referenced as GPO9400, it is larger than before but still retains a well-behaved symmetry. A new and more efficient white gold micro-rotor is tucked away beneath the barrel – not around it as before, a larger barrel drum makes room for a longer spring and ultimately a more generous power reserve is achieved, up to 72 hours for this piece. The one-minute tourbillon at the 6 o’clock has a titanium cage, a Phillips terminal curve and its aesthetics have been heightened by a blackened balance. Consisting of 245 micro components, and beating at a rate of 3Hz, the calibre is very much a “watchmaker’s” movement, with modular construction for ease of assembly and also servicing.
Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges – A Visually Stunning Bridge
Turn the piece over and the exhibition caseback reveals that there is beauty to be discovered in the marginally industrial plainness of this calibre. The arrow-shaped form is not only represented through some subtle styling but also with a visually stunning bridge which extends almost the whole width of the movement.
The Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges represents the interface between this company’s desire to nurture its traditions and its appetite for innovation. Constant Girard-Perregaux designed his “Tourbillon sous Trois Ponts D’Or” in 1865 but the distinctive aligned arrangement in wristwatch form, which is now a firmly established addition to the portfolio, did not appear until after 1991. As we near the hoopla that its 150th anniversary will bring, the Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges Is a very respectable preamble.