This year, at baselworld 2016, Girard-Perregaux introduced several novelties, including some that we found rather interesting, like the cool re-birth of the Laureato or the nicely finished 1966 Skeleton. One watch on the other hand seemed to be less coveted by our colleagues of the horological press, but this is one that we found very pleasant for the eyes of collectors and amateurs of vintage. The Girard-Perregaux 1957 “Tribute to the Gyromatic” indeed looks back at one of the greatest watches created by GP, with its in-house automatic module (the Gyromatic) and with its high-frequency. Seems like a pretty good deal, with a watch that is very nice… with one or two things we need to look more in details though!
In the late 1950s, in 1957 to be precise (and now you know the reason why this new watch is called the Girard-Perregaux 1957), GP found their own solution to the issue of winding a watch, with their in-house developed winding module, called the Gyromatic. This mechanism, which could be added on existing manually-wound movements, has been developed internally by GP, to improve the winding and to offer a safer environment to the movement. It consisted in a unidirectional winding system, relying on 2 “Gyrotron” wheels, with each 7 rubies to prevent wear. This module allowed for the watch to wind fast, to be strong and reliable. Then, in 1965, GP pushed even further, as they designed the first mechanic movement at high frequency, with the balance beating at 36,000 vibrations/hour: the Gyromatic HF – the first Gyromatic movements (calibre 21 and 22) beat at 18,000vph and the second series, calibre 32, were running at 21,600vph. The Gyromatic HF was produced in 662 examples. Girard-Perregaux received the Centenary Award from the Astronomical Observatory de Neufchatel for this movement.
With the Girard-Perregaux 1957 “Tribute to the Gyromatic”, the brand honors this rich past, with a watch that takes inspiration from the 1960s models. The stainless case measures a reasonable 40mm and features rather strong lugs. The sides of the case are brushed and the crown remains discreet. Overall, the case of the Girard-Perregaux 1957 is elegant, slightly vintage-inspired (with more modern proportions) and feels almost dress, with a thickness bellow 10mm (9.45mm to be precise).
The nicest part of this Girard-Perregaux 1957 is certainly its dial. First of all, it shows an interesting, not often seen color, a sort of underrated golden / champagne / light brown, which feels totally in place in this context of 1960s inspired watch. The dial is highly domed (again, a reference to the 1960s), something that, combined with the sun-ray pattern, gives nice reflections. As usual with GP, we quite regret the presence of the date, printed on a white disc. The hands, as well as the indexes, are manufactured in steel and polished. Again, their shape is reminiscent of vintage watches of the brand and perfectly fit the rest of the watch. Clearly, design-wise, this an elegant, discreet watch with just the right amount of originality. As you can see bellow, the Girard-Perregaux 1957 is pleasant on the wrist – modern by its proportions, vintage by its look, subtle by the size.
Then comes the movement. The Girard-Perregaux 1957 is equipped with the well-known GP3300 calibre – a movement that we find in the 1966 for instance. This movement is certainly nicely finished (Geneva stripes, straight on the bridges and circular on the rotor, perlage on the main plate, polished bevelled angles on the bridges and the rotor, blue screws…). It is visible through the sapphire caseback, and even if a bit to small and with a power reserve that we’d like a bit longer (46 hours, comfortable, but not extraordinary), it remains a pleasant movement to look and a precise one, considering the different tests we did with watches equipped with the GP3300.
Overall, there’s nothing to complain about here: a nicely designed case in steel (good for the pocket…), a superb dial with a lot of charm, a nice movement and a watch that is pleasant once on the wrist, discreet and original at the same time. Well, this true however, there’s something that disappoints us a bit here. This Girard-Perregaux 1957 is supposed to be a “tribute to the Gyromatic and to high-frequency watches”. However, none of these features is actually included in the watch. The GP3300 has a classical rotor and winding system and it ticks at a modern frequency of 4Hz / 28,800vph, which is not a high-frequency of 5Hz / 36,000vph.
This might be the fault here. Why paying tribute to mechanical solutions in a watch that is not equipped with it? Marketing might have pushed a bit too far here. It’s sad, as alone, without this mention of a tribute to the Gyromatic HF, we would have been happy with such a novelty from Girard-Perregaux. Too bad – but it shouldn’t prevent you to consider this nice watch for its looks and overall good price / quality ratio, as it comes against 10,400 Swiss Francs (retail price).
Specifications of the Girard-Perregaux 1957
- Case: 40mm x 9.45mm – stainless steel, with polished and brushed surfaces – sapphire crystal on front and back – 30m water resistant
- Movement: GP03300-0130 Automatic Movement – 46h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, seconds, and date at 3
- Strap: black alligator leather strap with folding buckle
Ref. 41957-11-131-BB6A – Price: 10,400 Swiss Francs / 10,300 USD