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Review: Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Planetarium

Finding its place in the galaxy
by Chester Lau on March 18, 2017
Positives

Elements of nice finishing and artistry can be found throughout the watch. The movement, the hand crafted globe, the moonphase disc.

Negatives

The case size and wide proportions may be a deterrent for many.

Girard-Perregaux releases an update to their haute complication Tri-Axial tourbillon with a globe. The new Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Planetarium features a rose gold case with a triple axis tourbillon, 24 hour globe and a moonphase display. 

 

The Case

The 48 mm-diameter pink gold case makes a really large watch; arguably to house the complication and the axial space necessary for the tourbillon. The thick case measures 18.66 mm and 21.52 mm when including the domes. Seeing its thick dimensions, the watch is fit with a bevelled bezel that has a steep incline and looks disproportionately wide.

 

A cut-out side section, a window to view the triple axis tourbillon in rotation.

 

For those unfamiliar with Girard Perregaux’s triple axis tourbillon timepiece, but are better acquainted with Greubel Forsey or Zenith’s Christophe Colomb, the watch may ring bells of uncanny similarity. The dome crystal atop the main glass reminds us of the Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane, the Globe; the GF GMT, and the side window, the GF Art Piece 1. And lest we forget to mention, Girard Perregaux’s predilection for bulbous objects which come in pairs is downright intriguing. Nonetheless, Girard Perregaux’s interpretation of case design for this piece is an interesting addition to the complicated watch genre.

 

A pair of sapphire domes cap the display of the tri-axial tourbillon and the day-night indicator globe.

 

The Dial

When itemized, each piece of the complex puzzle looks extraordinary. The Girard-Perregaux tri-axial tourbillon was first developed and subsequently release in 2014. As its name implies, this high-speed tourbillon is equipped with a regulator operating on three rotation axes instead of just one. This featherweight 1.24-gram,140-part movement comprises an inner lyre-shaped carriage – a signature of the Maison since 1880 – performing one rotation per minute. It is fitted inside a structure spinning on a second axis in 30-second cycles. Both are in turn incorporated within a third structure revolving once ever two minutes on yet another axis. This fixture on its own adds live to the dial and is fascinating to watch.

Read also:   Baselworld 2016: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona in stainless steel with new Cerachrom bezel & pricing

 

While the finishing level of the tourbillon parts is not as fancy as the likes of A.lange & Söhne’s, the animation of a tri-axial tourbillon is more than fascinating for the viewer.

 

The Globe and the Moonphase display

Two astronomical complications join the dance. The globe with its 24-hour rotation provides an instant reading of the time around the world. Set to 12 o’clock (noon), the arrow indicator positioned at the base of the 13 mm-diameter aluminium sphere serves to show where it is daytime on the dial side, and where it is night-time, on the back.

 

The planet of the planetarium features Girard Perregaux’s miniature painting technique. Its cartography depicts the world as it was in 1791.

 

Hand-crafted using the miniature painting technique, its cartography depicts the world as it was in 1791, the year the brand was created. The equally micro-painted lunar disc picks up the 17th century selenography at the time the telescope was invented, beautifully matching the blue shades of the rotating globe and reproducing the moon as we see it. Equipped with a precision mechanism, the astronomical moon-phase indicator requires adjustment only once every 122 years, by means of a dedicated corrector at 2 o’clock.

 

The watch uses the hand-winding Manufacture GP09310-0001 calibre with a 70-hour power reserve.

 

The Movement

The watch uses the hand-winding Manufacture GP09310-0001 calibre with a 70-hour power reserve. This movement visible through the transparent screw-down back is adorned with meticulous hand-crafted finishing and the iconic signature characteristics of the Maison: arrow-shaped bridges, along with the engraved eagle symbol holding the brand insignia. The rear baseplate is sandblasted and black PVD-treated to accentuate the ‘night’ side of the day/night indicator, thus making a striking contrast with the silver-toned guilloché dial.

Read also:   Review: Meditations on the Credor Fugaku Tourbillon

 

The Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Planetarium on the wrist.

 

The Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Planetarium is a curious timepiece to develop given Girard-Perregaux’s current brand reception. The genre of haute horlogerie has two distinct routes, the cult following indie with anti-classic designs, or the traditional Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, complication arms race/aggregator timepiece. For Girard-Perregaux to find success in this category requires a restructuring of brand image to fit either one of this routes and have a head-on competition with the market leaders, or to find a long-tail within the category.

Alternatively, GP should consider a divesting strategy and trim its broad product categories to achieve a better product market fit.

Either way, priced at S$ 431,800 with GST, it will remain the purview of only the very select few.

 

Technical specifications

Case

Material: pink gold

Diameter: 48 mm

Thickness: 18.66 mm (21.52 mm including the domes)

Sapphire crystal: glare proofed with two domes to highlight the tourbillon and the globe

Case-back: glare proofed sapphire crystal

Dial: silver-toned, guilloché

Hands: Dauphine-type hands

Water resistance: 30 metres (3 ATM)

 

Movement

Reference: GP09310-0001, mechanical manual-winding movement

Diameter: 36.10 mm (16’’’)

Thickness: 16.87 mm

Frequency: 21,600 vph – (3 Hz)

Number of components: 386

Watch jewels: 42

Power reserve: min. 60 hours

Functions: Tri-Axial tourbillon, hours, minutes, moon-phase and day/night indicators

 

Tri-Axial Tourbillon Carriage

One complete revolution in two minutes

140 components, 1.24 grams

 

Strap

Material: hand-stitched black alligator leather

Clasp: pink gold triple folding clasp.


Also published on Medium.

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