Some watches remain captivating, even after they have been released over a decade ago. A great example of this is the Opera 3 by Girard-Perregaux, which took miniaturization to new heights!
When you look at the dial of the Opera 3, it is remarkably clean. The lower part of the dial shows the hour and minute hands, with a “six-eater” displaying the seconds. It is, however, the top of the dial that shows that there is more to this watch then just displaying the time. In fact, the Opera 3 is nothing less than a wearable music box. A drum is set by hand with 150 pins, which hit one of the 20 blades, playing a full melody. Standard this watch came with not one, but two melodies, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Mozart’s A Little Night Music, which could be selected by a lever on the side of the case which moves the drum to the correct position. However, people who ordered this watch could also suggest a melody of their own.
That is not all, as another selector lever on the side of the case, allows the owner to choose the silent mode, play the melody at the full hour, or even on demand. The watch is manual wind and comes with a power reserve indicator for the carillon at one o’clock. This complication has a separate barrel, yet can be wound with the same crown as the movement, just turn it counterclockwise. Because of the independent barrels, the watch also has a power reserve of 50 hours.
At twelve o’clock Girard-Perregaux shows the governor on the dial. With minute repeaters this device controls the speed of the complication, and with the Opera 3, it serves a similar function, perfectly pacing the sound of the melody. This sound is very subtle, as the metal strips, which the pins pull back, are relatively small, and also contained within the case and the display back, yet the music it produces is instantly recognizable.
What makes this Girard-Perregaux all the more impressive is that all these functions are fitted in a case that is only 43mm in diameter and 14.05mm high. This makes this watch very wearable, and all the more remarkable, even more so because the back of the watch shows the drum that holds the melodies in full glory, adding to the experience of this extraordinary watch.