This year, Girard-Perregaux is celebrating its 225th anniversary. The brand founded in 1791 has a long and rich history, full of impressive watches. However, the situation at GP was not so bright for a few years, until a new CEO was invited to bring back the brand on rails. As one of the oldest manufactures around and 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 extremely appealing open-worked edition of their best-seller, the elegant, slim and discreet 1966. It’s time now to go hands on with this new creation, the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton.
A point has to be made straight… This Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton is very attractive, both visually and mechanically. It is modern, elegant and the movement is highly finished, showing the skills of this old manufacture. On top of that, it also corrects a few of the faults of this iconic model from GP. The 1966 has always been a watch that we love here, at Monochrome-Watches. However, as everything that we love, we can be rather critical. The 1966 has advantages, like it’s small and thin case, its clean hands and dial or a very elegant presence on the wrist. However, we always argued about the too small movement, the short power reserve and the date window placed too close from the center of the dial. Also, it could be seen as too conservative by some. Well, with this new Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton, everything will change.
This Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton is based on the classical 38mm case of the collection – 38mm is the small diameter (the 1966 exists in 41mm and in 40mm, for the steel edition only). It uses the same design, with a flat and polished bezel, thin and curved lugs and a central container that tappers to the caseback, emphasizing the impression of thinness – for a case that is already quite thin, at 9.27mm. This edition is made in 18k rose gold, which contrasts with the anthracite colour of the movement and the black alligator strap. On the wrist, we still have the same feeling of elegance that we previously had with the blue and gold edition reviewed here. No big changes on this side – and that’s fine to us.
The dial – well the face – of the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton is all dedicated to the movement and the mechanics. One thing to note however is that, even if highly opened and skeletonized, this watch remains quite easy to read, due to the high contrast between the polished gold hands and the matte anthracite movement (something that is not always the case with skeletonized watches). The movement is circled by an inner flange printed with a 60-minute scale, on which gold hour markers are applied. This flange also serves as a movement ring. The view from the front is modern and architectural, with bridges opened with curves and straight lines. No engraving on the bridges here – in the old-fashioned style – but a circular graining on the flat surfaces. Every part visible is highly finished – and by hand. The bridges feature chamfered edges with internal angles, the barrel is opened to reveal the main spring (meaning that you’ll have a natural power reserve indicator) and the wheels and screws are also executed with great care. It’s clean and very pleasant for the connoisseur’s eyes.
The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton is rather “active” on the wrist. The gold rotor can be seen moving through the bridges, the balance wheel at 12 is ticking constantly and the watch even features a small second, discreetly placed at 10 (an indication that is more a runner that a proper small second, due to the absence of track).
The back side of the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton is also a pleasure, with a large gold rotor – also skeletonized and finished with internal angles – and all the bridges are using the same execution as the front of the watch. Again, an interesting finishing. The best part comes with the movement used. Usually, the Girard-Perregaux 1966 in 38mm is using the calibre GP3300, a movement that we think too small for the watch – when looked from the back of the case, the movement feels lost and when look from the dial, the date window is too close from the center of the dial. Here, we have the GP1800 movement as a base, meaning a 30.60mm diameter calibre… and considering the 38mm case, we can say that it fills it perfectly. And of course, as a skeletonized watch, no date window here. Our wishes have been heard!
The GP1800-0006 Calibre of the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton benefits from its larger diameter to have a longer power reserve of 54 hours. It features a “Microvar” variable inertia balance exclusive to Girard-Perregaux, pulsating at 4 Hz.
This Baselworld 2016 Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton is clearly a nice watch, with a lot of charm and elegance, balanced by a modern looking movement – and finally a correction of the faults of the 1966 watches. On the contrary of certain editions launched for the 225th anniversary of the brand, like the Laureato, it will be part of the regular collection and not limited in production. It will be priced at 56,900 Euros (inc. taxes), which is quite a huge step compared to the normal edition of the 1966 in pink gold and 38mm case, priced at 14,400 Euros. The price of a properly hand-finished movement…