The historical manufacture Girard-Perregaux, has several iconic timepieces in its collection, most prominent of which is of course the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges. Another is actually an entire line of watches that is the brand’s bestseller: the Girard-Perregaux 1966. Elegant, refined and discreet, the Girard-Perregaux 1966 pays tribute to a model created in that year.
History and inspiration
The Girard-Perregaux 1966 is the most classical watch from the manufacture: an understated dress watch that find its roots in a 1960s timepiece but represents the spirit of the modern edition. “The collection fits perfectly into the Manufacture’s long tradition of expertise,” explains Antonio Calce, CEO of Girard-Perregaux, “Paying tribute to the 1960s when the technical and timekeeping innovations developed by Girard-Perregaux were awarded the Neuchâtel Observatory Centenary Prize.”
1966 is a reference to an important year for the manufacture. That year, Girard-Perregaux introduced within its Gyromatic family the first high frequency movement that ran at 36,000 beats per hour. Girard-Perregaux was one of the few manufactures at the time to have an in-house research and development team, which enabled them to develop new movements and also be one of the few brands that clinched prizes at chronometry contests. In 1967, 70% of all chronometer certificates issued by the Neuchatel Observatory were awarded to Girard-Perregaux’s high frequency chronometers. They even won the Neuchâtel Observatory Centenary Prize in 1966.
Like its predecessor, the modern Girard-Perregaux 1966 is a sleek and round watch with a very pure design. It has become an iconic watch for the brand, and is available with a variety of highly interesting complications.
An iconic complication, which is the namesake for several timepieces, is Girard-Perregaux’s tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, now offered in several classical and modern iterations. The architecture of the movement is modelled on a old creation of Girard-Perregaux that was first found in 19th century pocket watches. The tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges first appeared in the famed Esmeralda pocket watch that won a medal at the 1889 Universal Exposition. Girard-Perregaux’s tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges has since featured in pocket watches and wristwatches, bearing the same the arrow-shaped gold bridges.
2016 will be an important year for the brand, being the 50th anniversary of the 1966 collection and also the 225th anniversary of the company. According to Mr Calce, the occasion will be celebrated with “the birth of a very special piece dedicated to our antique watch”.
The modern collection of the Girard-Perregaux 1966
As a complete collection, the 1966 exists in several iterations (different complications, different sizes, several materials) but always with a common design. The overall look of the Girard-Perregaux 1966 is refined, simple and elegant, with plain dials complemented by thin leaf hands and subtle applied indexes. The simplest iteration comes with only three hands, and beyond that there’s a choice of delightful complications: an annual calendar with equation of time, a complete calendar, a chronograph (equipped with an in-house, integrated chronograph movement) or simply a small seconds.
Girard-Perregaux is known for its ability to create haute horlogerie and, as the 1966 is a flagship line of watches, the 1966 also features the very best of the manufacture. The line-up includes a superbly finished minute repeater, a minute repeater with annual calendar and equation of time but also a simple tourbillon, just showing a discreet aperture on the dial for the regulator, secured in place by a handsomely executed arrow-shaped bridge.
Recently Girard-Perregaux introduced the 1966 in pink gold, with a striking blue dial. A combination that was widely discussed in magazines and online, as being extremely attractive.
As with most editions of the three-hand 1966, it is available with a 38mm or a 41mm case. Both are equipped with in-house movements, based on the famous GP3300 calibre.
Until very recently, the Girard-Perregaux 1966 was offered only in precious materials (palladium, pink gold or white gold). However, to offer the beauty of this watch to a larger audience, Girard-Perregaux recently introduced a stainless steel edition of the 1966, keeping the same beautiful movement and style, but with slightly redesigned dial and hands, for a more modern look. The white dial and the leaf hands are fitted in an exclusive 40mm stainless steel case, making it a perfect elegant everyday watch. Its discreetness and the purity of the lines make this new 1966, like all of the previous iterations, a watch that only connoisseurs will recognize for what it is – the true hallmark of elegance.
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