I’ve always thought that the ww.tc collection from Girard-Perreguax offers some of the best world-timers on the market; clean, well-designed and easy to read. Their latest adaptation, the ww.tc John Harrison, has only served to re-enforce this view whilst at the same time allowing the brand to showcase its superb in-house enameling capabilities.
John Harrison – In Brief
For those not in the know (which included myself up until a short time) John Harrison is considered by many to be one of the greatest British watchmakers ever and was the inventor of the H-4 watch (capable of calculating a ship’s longitude to within half a degree). To test the reliability of this historic timepiece his son, William Harrison, embarked on a sea voyage in November 1771 taking him from Portsmouth, England, to Port Royal, Jamaica. The performance of the watch was assessed against a map of the Atlantic Ocean throughout the journey and was found to be quite satisfactory.
The WW.TC John Harrison
To celebrate this achievement GP have created a limited edition ww.tc which features a gorgeous champlevé enamel dial depicting the journey undertaken by the younger Harrison, delicately indicated across the dial by a trace of silvered powder stretching from Europe to America. And whilst the end result may look simplistic enough, the process to achieve this stunning finish is anything but.
Produced in the manufacturer’s own, in-house enameling workshop (which I have been fortunate enough to visit), the contours of the map are engraved on an unprocessed plate of white gold, while the compass rose, showing the eight directions of the wind and measuring no more than 3 mm, is hand-sculpted by a craftsman-engraver. Ensuring even distribution the liquid green and blue enamel is laid into the cavities using a brush, before the dial is put in for the firing process, timed to the minute in a furnace at 800°C, to create the magic of vitrification. After cooling, the excess enamel is removed by vigorous sanding using a hard stone and water. The dial is then manually polished with a diamond file, before a last firing called “Dorure” or gilding which adds shine and reveals the enamel’s full splendor.
And whilst the dial is the obvious visual draw-card it’s the little touches that, in my opinion, really make this a polished piece. For example the two main ports of the journey, Portsmouth and Port Royal, are highlighted in royal blue on the cities ring, whilst the hands are also subtly skeletonized to ensure as uninterrupted a view as possible of the exquisite dial.
Turn the 41mm white gold case over and you discover that GP has one more testament in store; the pink gold oscillating weight has been engraved with a parchment bearing the dates on which the H-4 started and finished its Atlantic crossing. A small touch no doubt but it just adds that little bit extra to the authentic feel of this piece.
Available in a limited series of just 50 pieces so please act quickly if you want one.
The Final Word
Whilst this piece is certainly nothing new from GP in terms of function and overall construction, it still allows the brand to exhibit its mastery of what is fast becoming a lost art and takes this from being just another world-timer to something a little more special.
For more information please visit the official Girard-Perreguax website: www.girard-perregaux.ch/