1791… 2016… Two dates, with a 225-year distance. One is the birth date of a manufacture; the second will be the year during which Girard-Perregaux will celebrate its 225th anniversary, making it one of the oldest manufactures around. With this important milestone in mind, Girard-Perregaux is creating anniversary collections, including the recently (re)introduced Laureato (a 1970s inspired sports watch) and now, an open-worked edition of their best-seller, the elegant, slim and discreet 1966. As a preview of what will be introduced at Baselworld, here is the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton.
Before going into the new attributes of this Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton, we have to look at what is known. As you can expect, this watch is based on the most traditional collection of the old manufacture, the iconic 1966 watch. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 is the essence of a dress watch, with a small diameter, a rather slim profile, elegant hands, a clean and discreet look and, overall, a luxurious and refined feel on the wrist. However, and even if we love this watch (as we experienced during a long-term review), there are a few faults to spot. First, as most traditional dress watches, it is a bit shy, especially in time-only editions (several complications, like an annual calendar or a large date and moon phase, can be added) and in classical (white or grey) colours – for a more striking design, take a look at the blue editions…
Then, we always had to complain about the size of the movement. Indeed, even in 40mm cases, Girard-Perregaux uses its nice and reliable GP 3300… But it measures only 25.6mm in diameter. This leads to a movement floating in the middle of the caseback and a date aperture placed way too close from the axis of the hands. With the new Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton, both issues will be solved. It won’t be shy anymore and the movement is certainly not small.
The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton is based on the smaller version of the 1966, meaning a 38mm case, which is here executed in 18k pink gold. No evolution concerning the design, as we find back the classical round case, entirely polished, with smooth and beveled bezel, short lugs and small crown. Same goes for the hands, which are still using the elegant leaf design. What changes however is the mechanical part. Not only has Girard-Perregaux decided to open the movement, but they chose to open their bigger movement, the calibre GP1800… and that makes a huge visual difference.
The calibre GP-1800 of the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton indeed measures 30mm – and housed in a 38mm case, it finally looks well proportioned. This movement features a self-winding capacity (via a skeletonized central rotor in gold), boasts a comfortable 54-hour power reserve and ticks at 28,800vph. As you can see, the regulating organ has also evolved, as now featuring a “Microvar” variable inertia balance, exclusive to Girard-Perregaux. On the contrary of the other GP 1966 watches featuring this movement (in non-opened editions), the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton doesn’t have a central second but instead a small second directly attached to the second wheel, right after the escape wheel (at 10). Finally, it gets rid of the date feature.
The skeletonization of the movement is interesting, as architectural and rather aerial. GP, on this 1966 Skeleton, haven’t chosen to go old-school, with engravings, arabesques or complicated shapes. Instead, the opening is done with subtlety and modernity in mind. The movement, from what we can see on these photos, is actually finished with great care. It shows many internal angles (done by hand), polished bevel angles on all the bridges and a concentric brushed finish on the top. To contrast with the warm and bright pink gold case, the movement of the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton is treated using a galvanic process, giving this anthracite gray ruthenium.
The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton will be officially introduced during Baselworld 2016 – price to be confirmed. More details on www.girard-perregaux.com.