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Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Large Date Moon-Phases
A fine vintage with a delightful finish
The word, “vintage”, often accompanies the finer things in life such as wine, cars and in this instance a magnificent timepiece.
Girard-Perregaux have a long history producing some of the finest examples of haute horology. They are a true manufacture of long standing and are world-renowned for their peerless finishing and alluring aesthetics.
Earlier this year, I attended SIHH. The event is fast paced, dashing from one presentation to another and marvelling at some of the horological oddities borne to inspire debate. However, one of the pieces caught my attention for a different reason.
The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 captures the elegance of my favourite period of design, Art Deco.
The rectangular shaped case appears simple and clean. Yet on closer inspection there are many subtle nuances which enhance the whole and distinguish this as something a little special. The watch is available in two variants; steel or pink gold. I personally favour the latter.
The creamy white dial features gold Arabic numerals applied to its face. The numerals are slightly italicised, presented in a traditional font.
The gold coloured hands are sword shaped, providing graceful indication of the hours and minutes. A silver coloured axis to the centre of the hands, provides visual contrast with the warmth of the adjacent pink gold hue.
Within the numerals resides the minute track. It is rectangular in shape, detailed with black markings. The minute track interfaces with two apertures. The upper aperture is rectangular and used for the date, whilst at the southerly location of the minute track a round aperture, or subdial, features the moon phase indicator.
These two aspects of the dial require further expansion as not to elaborate on their detail would be an injustice to the creators of this watch.
The date aperture features provision for two numerals, each delivered on a separate disc. Girard-Perregaux use a solid white disc to show the first part of the date on the left hand side of the date display. However, a clear disc, floats partially above the first disc to show the numeral on the right hand side of the display.
The overlapping nature of the two discs helps to retain the diminutive dimensions of the movement within. The system is patented and it shows the matchless mastery of this manufacture.
The moon phase indicator is framed with a scale to complement the subsidiary seconds hand at the centre of the sub-dial. The close proximity of both functions requires further ingenuity on the part of the manufacturer’s boffins. Moreover, the fact that both functions impart data to the wearer in a clean and legible way, despite their close proximity to each, is further testament to the brilliance of the design.
The rectangular shaped case does not look contrived but somehow authentic to the period, despite being a new model for 2012.
The case slightly arcs, following the natural contour of the wrist. The form has followed function. The curved profile of the case provides the wearer enhanced comfort, but in so doing has resulted in a beautiful form.
The crown nuzzles into the case wall, only partially protruding. It has a knurled finish and features the GP logo on its vertical flank.
The lugs taper and snuggle the strap in close embrace. There is little clearance between the the strap and the case, ensuring a tidy appearance.
The case back is closed with four screws and features a sapphire crystal. Some watches in the altitudinous heights of haute horology harness wonderful craftsmanship but deprive the wearer of the spectacle of admiring the artisans’ artistry. Thankfully, Girard-Perregaux have indulged my need to see the loveliness laying behind the handsome dial of the watch.
The watch is automatic, surprising for a traditional looking watch, but offering the wearer convenience. The rotor is 5N 18-carat gold and imparts a noble bloom within the case.
This calibre is only 4.9 mm in height which is remarkable bearing in mind its obvious complexity. The watchmaker has not used a metaphorical rolling-pin to spread the movement over a large area, measuring 25.60 mm x 28.80 mm, it has postage stamp dimensions.
The movement may be petite in stature but it is a giant in terms of mechanical eminence. It has 282 components, 32 jewels and a power reserve of 46 hours. This is no mean feat for a lithe lovely such as this calibre.
All previous discussions pale next to the fantastic finissage. I have always had a horological fetish regarding the finishing of a watch. This watch satisfies my insatiable appetite with several finishes.
The rhodium-plated mainplate boasts circular diamond-polishing and circular-graining of both the visible and non-functional areas. The results of this are surfaces which engage with the light in a courtship dance.
The bridges feature circular diamond-polishing, circular graining and Côtes de Genève.
The wheels are gilded, the pivots are burnished and the drum of the spring barrel is decorated with a sunray finish.
For those unfamiliar with sunray finish, it is a decoration made of lines that intersect at the same point, resembling the rays emanating from the sun. It is ornamental and achieved by using a grinding wheel with deft hand and incredible patience.
I have obsessed about watches all my adult life. I have written about watches from a relatively low price level to the ethereally costly with prices approaching heavenly heights. But this watch, is one for my own wish list.
It may be currently be beyond my fiscal grasp, but it symbolises elegance and grace in a demure form and I dream of the day it resides on my wrist.
The handsome lines will always cohere with any sartorial ensemble remaining untouched by changing fashions.
There is a depth to the beauty of this timepiece. Beneath the immediate gratification offered by its appearance is a virtuous soul of impeccable breeding.
The best vintage wine has layers of flavour, ages well, a rich bouquet and a fine finish. But after swallowing and the taste of the finish subsides, it is the length of the flavour, the time is persists on the palate which truly indicates quality.
The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Large Date Moon-Phases has a delightful finish and a length which reaches to infinity.
- Model: Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Large Date Moon-Phases
- Case: 18-carat pink gold; dimensions 36.10 mm x 35.25 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and rear.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; large date; moon-phases indicator.
- Movement: 03300-0062, self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 32 jewels; power reserve 46 hours
- Strap: Black alligator leather strap on pink gold deployant.