Girard-Perregaux Adapts Its 19th Century Bridge Concept For the 21st Century

Victoria Gomelsky
·2 mins read

Bridges are essential to Girard-Perregaux’s reputation in the world of watchmaking, both literally and metaphorically. Not only is the Swiss firm famed for its Three Bridges movement, a staple of its lineup since 1867, but the bridge also serves as a metaphor for the passage of ideas, connecting disparate elements across space and time. That makes it even more relevant to its positioning today as a 229-year-old watchmaker that is wholeheartedly embracing the future.

Few timepieces embody the company’s contemporary design ethos as well as its latest introductions, the Free Bridge and Free Bridge Infinity Edition, both unveiled at Geneva Watch Days.

Unlike the traditional Three Bridges models, the new pieces employ a single arrow-shaped “Neo-Bridge” spanning the base of the mainplate.

The self-winding GP01800 in-house calibre that powers each model—built at the Girard-Perregaux facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland—incorporates silicon on the escapement and parts of the balance wheel, in order to take advantage of its unique characteristics, including corrosion-resistance, stability in the face of changing temperatures and minimal susceptibility to magnetic fields—all in service of more efficient, consistent timekeeping.

The movement has been inverted so elements—such as the balance, the escapement and the barrel positioned at the top—can be seen through the dial, which features a swath of openwork between 6 o’clock and noon.

Contrast the contemporary dome-shaped sapphire crystal box that tops each model with the traditional techniques that embellish the movement—including bevelling, sandblasting, snailing and Côtes de Genève finishing—and Girard-Perregaux’s seamless blend of historic and future-thinking design is evident.

The Infinity Edition, which is limited to 88 pieces worldwide, is distinguished by its 18-karat pink gold oscillating weight, 18-karat pink gold hands, an hour bridge made of onyx as opposed to the satin-finished and hand-beveled version on the Free Bridge, and a DLC-treated 44 mm steel case (in contrast to the Free Bridge’s 44 mm steel casing).

Both the Free Bridge and Free Bridge Infinity Edition will be available from October; the former retails for $17,400 while the latter for $20,800.

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