Girard-Perregaux impresses with triple complication
Girard-Perregaux 1966 Minute Repeater, Annual Calendar and Equation of Time
Girard-Perregaux increased the size of the 1966 Annual Calendar and EOT by 2 millimeters and added a Minute Repeater. The result is the new GP 1966 Minute Repeater, Annual Calendar and Equation of Time that measures a decent 42 mm in diameter.
When the GP 1966 Annual Calendar and EOT was introduced in 2009 it was my favorite new release of the SIHH 2009. Especially the pink gold version with slate grey sunray-brushed dial that was introduced last year has become one of my favorite timepieces. What is so phenomanal is that Girard-Perregaux managed to make an unbalanced dial look incredibly balanced and that’s probably part of the charm of the GP 1966 collection.
This GP 1966 Minute Repeater, Annual Calendar and Equation of Time is limited to 15 pieces and comes at a price of $287,000 USD. Just wished they would come up with a shorter name…
The silvered sunburst dial is the background of the time, calendar and EOT indications. Around the dial are solid gold applique hour-markers and black painted minute markers. The date is located roughly between the 1 and 2 o’clock position and to the left, at the 9 o’clock position is the small seconds sub dial. The month is displayed in a window opposite if the date. The Annual Calendar’s ingenious construction only requires a single adjustment of the date every year, in February, which is easily carried out through the watch’s crown. The hand at 4.30 indicates the equation of time.
What is Equation fo Time? It is the difference between the real solar time and the mean or civil time. The length of a solar day actually varies daily, due to the elliptical shape of the Earth’s orbit. This astronomical complication is based on a mechanism incorporating an annual disc with an elliptical cam that reproduces the Earth’s movement around the Sun.
To complete this watchmaking masterpiece, a Minute Repeater makes it possible to hear the striking of the hours, quarter-hours and minutes. In total this masterpiece comprises of 419 individual parts!
The see-through case back reveals a peak into this very complicated mechanical wonder. The bridges look rather unusual for Girard-Perregaux, as they are skeletonized to reveal even more of the movement. A familiar design element is the balance cock, which is designed in a semi-arrow shape that recalls the Golden Bridges, the brand’s emblematic signature.
All bridges are nicely decorated with Côte de Genève and all angles have been beveled and polished by hand. The -screw-balance features small screws (variable inertia) screwed into its rim. Some of the jewels, it looks like all jewels of the gear train, are set in gold chatons.
Long, long time ago, when the minute repeater was conceived, it was necessary for people to be able to hear an indication of the time during the night. An electrical light wasn’t inveted yet. Today the minute repeater has become one of the complications that is most appreciated by connoisseurs of fine watchmaking. In order to create the vibration that will produce a crystalline sound, the adjustment of the striking mechanism is one of the most delicate operations for a watchmaker, requiring nimble fingers and a particularly acute ear.
Girard-Perregaux did exhaustive acoustic research in order to optimize the Minute Repeater mechanism. This also led to three specially designed aspects of the construction of the watch-case:
- an optimal fit between the internal diameter of the case and that of the caliber, so as to achieve maximum resonance;
- a curved case back that increases the volume of air between the movement and the case, and enhances the sound production;
- and the diamond-polished bottom of the case back, which reduces acoustic interference.
Technical Specifications: Girard-Perregaux 1966 Minute Repeater, Annual Calendar & Equation of Time
Case in polished pink gold, measuring 42 mm in diameter, with anti-reflective domed sapphire crystal. The case-back with sapphire crystal is closed with 6 screws and adorned with hand-engraved inscriptions.
Girard-Perregaux E09-0003 handwound mechanical movement
- Frequency: 21,600 vib/h – 3 Hz
- Power reserve: min.100 hours – 4 days
- Number of components: 419 of which 48 jewels
- Plate: rhodium-plated and circular-grained
- Bridges: côtes de Genève, polished beveled angles
- Striking mechanism: repeating with two facing hammers, hours, quarter-hours, minutes. Regulation of the speed of the striking-mechanism by inertia-driven governor, countersprings accessible on the bridge side, inverted minute rack; conventional gong pitches.
- Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds, minute repeater, annual calendar, equation of time
The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Minute Repeater, Annual Calendar & Equation of Time is limited to 15 pieces and retails for $287,000 USD. More information can be found at the Girard-Perregaux website.
This article is written by Frank Geelen, executive editor for Monochrome Watches.