After exhibiting at SIHH for more than a decade, Girard Perregaux is back at Baselworld, marking the occasion with a world premiere launch: a new constant force escapement that employs a silicon blade rather than the remontoire or extra spring used as the intermediary escapement in a traditional constant force mechanism.
A constant-force mechanism is designed to manage the flow of energy to the escapement wheel, the heart of the watch. The point is to correct the inevitable gradual diminishment of energy, which makes a watch run fast when it is first wound, and finishes like a machine running out of steam as the power from the mainspring diminishes. The silicon blade, which measures one sixth of a hair’s thickness stores the energy and then redistributes it in a more constant form. It doesn’t wind down as it runs out of energy. It simply stops. The mechanism functions with the use of two escapement wheels, for a remarkable looking movement, displayed through a sapphire window. To offer maximum visibility to the escapement, with its butterfly wing frame, the hours and minutes occupy a subdial off-centered at 12 o’clock. The first prototypes for this movement were presented in 2008, and altogether, it took altogether eight years of research and development.
The brand also introduced a new chronograph movement in Baselworld, the hand-wound column wheel GP0 3800-001. Cased in the 1966 Integrated Chrono, the new watch is distinguished by an interesting novelty in modern watchmaking: a jumping minute – the small minute hand visibly jumps from one minute to the next in a fraction of a second.
Finally, GP has introduced one of the most beautiful moonphase watches I have ever seen, with a remarkably realistic depiction of the moon as seen from earth. The date window is a real achievement, with a single window display and no trace of division between the digits – the top disk is transparent, with the numeral printed underneath so that the numeral on the bottom disk shows through. Genius.
Girard-Perregaux has one of the largest movement portfolios in the watch industry, with over 100 different references and four base calibers.