I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of watch collectors in the world are male, but that’s not to say that women don’t like watches too. Any man that’s had his wife or girlfriend ‘borrow’ one of his favourite pieces for a night out will tell you that. As nice as sharing is however, sometimes it’s even nicer still to have something that is completely your own.
That’s why today we’re doing something a little different. Instead of getting hands on with just one watch, we’re getting hands on with two. Both are from luxury watchmaker Girard-Perregaux but the real twist is that one is for him and the other is most definitely for her. So gentleman, if you’re got an important anniversary or birthday coming up, pay attention and ladies, if you’re in the market for something new for your man then this may just be what you’re looking for. Alternatively of course you may simply choose to buy the watches for yourself, but that wouldn’t be anywhere near as romantic, now would it!
Now for those of you who aren’t that familiar with Girard-Perregaux – and there’s no shame in that, there are so many high-end watch brands out there it’s hard to keep up sometimes! – I thought it might be useful to provide a bit of background before we get into the watches. The company has an incredibly rich history, the origins of which it can trace all the way back to a talented craftsman named Jean-François Bautte, who first began plying his trade 1791 (that’s a whopping 213 years ago!) The company didn’t start to take its present day form however until some 60 years later when a man by the name of Constant Girard founded the Girard & Cie firm in 1852. Two years later, he married Marie Perregaux, and in 1856 the union of their surnames gave rise to the Girard-Perregaux Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Fast forward to the present day and Girard-Perregaux is now one of the few remaining authentic Swiss watch Manufactures. It designs, creates, develops and produces both the external components of a watch as well the movement within. According to the brand this comprehensive approach enables it to offer a complete portfolio of top-of-the-range movements (over 100 variants) and prestigious mechanical watch collections.
In recent years Girard-Perreguax it seems has been working extra hard to put this technical mastery on display for all the world to see, as evidenced by the incredible 2013 “Aiguille D’Or” winning Constant Escapement L.M. that we got hands on with here. This was followed in 2014 by the breath-taking – albeit slightly impractical – Tri-Axial Tourbillon. As you might have guessed both pieces are being produced in limited numbers and come with six-figure price tags attached, putting them firmly out of reach of all but the very few. Fortunately however the two models we have here for you today are much more in the realm of affordability, although you still get the peace of mind of knowing they’ve been made by one of world’s top watch manufacturers.
Girard-Perregaux Traveller Moon Phases and Large Date
First up is the Girard-Perregaux Moon Phases and Large Date for him. Offered in a 44mm case the watch certainly makes its presence felt on the wrist and is not for the faint of heart (or slender of arm.) That being said the relatively flat construction of the case – it measures just 12.10 mm high – goes some way towards offsetting this, meaning the watch is not quite as bulky on the wrist as you might assume. As you can from the pictures the case of the model we reviewed is made from rose gold, however there also other variants available in steel if you’re looking for something a little more budget friendly.
What I like most about the Traveller however is the practical functionality it offers. The first thing you will notice just below 12 o’clock is the large date display. This is a striking feature aesthetically but it also means checking the date is a breeze, which comes in handy more often than you think. Further down in the bottom half of the dial there are two sub-dials side by side. On the left is the gorgeously illustrated moon-phase display, with small seconds shown on the outer ring. On the right is a second time-zone indicator in 24-hour format which is set in one hour increments using the pusher at 4 o’clock. In other models in the Traveller collection the second time-zone is replaced by a power reserve indicator, however I find this particular version to be more useful. Inside is the calibre GP03300-0095, an in-house automatic movement that offers a minimum power reserve of 46 hours and is partially visible through the sapphire caseback.
The price for the Girard-Perregaux Traveller reviewed here is US$31,600.
Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Lady
For the ladies meanwhile we have chosen something a little more elegant in the form of the Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Lady. Presented in a distinctive rectangular steel case that curves ever so slightly to ensure a snug fit on even the daintiest of wrists this classic little number comes adorned with two rows of diamonds – a girl’s best friend don’t you know. On the version we reviewed you will note that this sparkly theme is continued on the gorgeous silvered dial, which boasts a central rectangular rail track also laid out in diamonds. This is complemented nicely by the silvered, oversized numerals at 12, 3 and 9 o’clock respectively, with a small date window at 6 o’clock adding an element of practicality to the watch’s otherwise glamourous appearance. If you prefer something a little more subdued however there is a second dial alternative in anthracite which has two diamond hour markers at 9 and 3 o’clock respectively, instead of the diamond-studded minute track.
Inside is the manufacture caliber GP02700, visible through the sapphire back. Entirely designed in-house at the Manufacture, it is the brand’s smallest self-winding caliber, specially designed to drive ladies’ watches. Completing the look is your choice of either a black or white alligator leather strap, or if you want something even more flashy, a matching steel bracelet.
The price for the Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Lady reviewed here is US$13,900.