Girard-Perregaux recently announced a new addition to its classic 1966 collection, and it’s in steel. Now to uninformed outsiders the fact that it’s in steel might seem a little redundant, after all, so what if the watch is in steel? Lots of Swiss watch brands make watches in steel, right? Right. Except Girard-Perregaux isn’t one of them. Not typically speaking anyway.
Girard-Perregaux 1966 Automatic In Steel
Poor old Girard-Perregaux, they’ve had a tough go of it the last few years. Despite creating some truly stupendous watches, like the jaw-dropping, award-winning Constant Force Escapement, the centuries-old brand has struggled to remain consistent – and relevant – at the mass market level.
…the complaint I hear most often from collectors and enthusiasts alike is that Girard-Perregaux’s propensity for the use of precious metals makes attractive, well-made but otherwise fairly simplistic watches unreasonably expensive.
Part of this can be attributed to the brand’s hyper intensive focus on haute horology, where it has no doubt recorded a number of significant accomplishments in recent times. I think it is also fair to say though that the brand lost its way for a little while, introducing multiple new references, confusing buyers and making it generally difficult to determine what they are really all about.
By far though the complaint I hear most often from collectors and enthusiasts alike is that Girard-Perregaux’s propensity for the use of precious metals makes attractive, well-made but otherwise fairly simplistic watches unreasonably expensive. Pick any watch in the 1966 collection for example and you will have a really great watch, beautifully designed, well-balanced and fitted with a true in-house movement. The only problem is they have only ever offered in precious metals (i.e. white gold, rose gold, etc) thus putting it in the same price category as an entry-level Vacheron Constantin or Audemars Piguet. Until now that is.
The opaline silvered dial is extremely clean and features beveled indicators that add a subtle sense of depth.
This, conveniently, brings us back to today’s topic of discussion, the new 40mm 1966 automatic in steel. It seems like the folks over at Girard-Perregaux are finally starting to listen to feedback from the market and have realized that in order to recapture the imaginations and the attention of the broader audience things need to change.
Given the aforementioned popularity of the 1966 collection as a whole, it’s hard to believe that this is the first time that such a simple watch – the 40mm automatic is time and date only – is being offered in a steel case. Still, as they say, better late than never and hopefully it is a sign of things to come.
As I mentioned before the watch is presented in a 40mm steel case, complete with all the little flourishes and meticulous finishings you’d expect of a Girard-Perregaux watch. The opaline silvered dial is extremely clean and features beveled indicators that add a subtle sense of depth. Marking out the time are what Girard-Perregaux calls its “leaf” type hands – which are unique to the 1966 collection. In keeping with the theme the unusual hands are also crafted from steel.
Turn the watch over and the sapphire case back reveals the automatic GP03300-0030 mechanical movement, designed, produced and assembled in the workshops of Girard-Perregaux at La Chaux-de-Fonds. Offering 46-hours of power in reserve, it is wound by its oscillating weight decorated with a “Cote de Genève” motif. Nothing terribly fancy here, just a solid workhorse that can truly claim to be made “in-house”.
All in all the new 1966 40mm Automatic in steel is a tidy little package, offering a clean aesthetic and a top quality movement. Whilst it’s certainly not enough to catapult Girard-Perregaux back into the limelight anytime soon, it is definitely a step in the right direction and I am sure it will be welcomed by retailers and potential customers alike. Best of all the pricing is very reasonable; $7,500 on a black leather strap and $8,200 on a steel bracelet. There are not many brands that can claim to offer this level of craftsmanship coupled with a true in-house movement at this price point.
I think I speak for all of us when I say thank you Girard-Perregaux. Now, more please?
Check out www.girard-perregaux.com for more information.