Girard Perregaux watches History

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Girard Perregaux History





Innovations in watchmaking became the aim of all companies. Innovation is synonym of creativeness, is the ability to have the vision and talent in the watchmaking world. Girard-Perregaux is one of Swiss watch companies that is always trying to achieve a higher level of quality and reliability as well as trying to keep the exceptional "savoir-faire" that distinguishes Girard-Perregaux as the most beautiful jewels in the watch industry’s crown. This means that Girard-Perregaux creates and manufactures its own movements. 1971 was the year in which a determined young boy, Jean-François Bautte, who was apprenticed successively as a case-fitter, engine-turner, watchmaker and goldsmith, gave birth to Girard-Perregaux . Jean-François Bautte at the age of 19 put his name to his first watches. He was known for his ultra thin collection showing his talent as watchmaker. Geneva was the scenery of his manufactory in which Jean-François Bautte housed once the watchmaking crafts of the period under the same place. In Geneva’s manufactory Jean-François Bautte was honored with the presence of the most distinguished visitors of his day, such as the future Queen of England, Victoria. Also, Jean-François Bautte, did business with all courts of Europe highlighting his talent as a brilliant and a shrewd businessman becoming one of the most remarkable watchmaker of his time. Some years later, Jacques Bautte and Jean Samuel Rossel, inherited an industrial and cultural legacy of a very high quality from Jean François Bautte. After that, Constant Girard founded in 1852 Girard & Cie. And two years later he married Marie Perregaux and joining their two names, they gave birth to the GIRARD-PERREGAUX Manufacture in 1856 in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Soon, Constant Girard-Gallet theaded the Manufacture from his father and because of his labor in looking for precision, GIRARD-PERREGAUX, was elected a permanent member of the jury at the most popular international watch fairs. Girard-Gallet bought the old and famous Bautte company and fused it with GIRARD-PERREGAUX & Cie

GIRARD-PERREGAUX watches continued succeeding in all markets, an example of this is that a GIRARD-PERREGAUX watch was used by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin to time the aeronautical trials of his airships in the 20th Century. GIRARD-PERREGAUX company has been always in constant changes and one of them was when Otto Graef, a German watchmaker and owner of MIMO (Manufacture Internationale de Montres Or), acquired GIRARD-PERREGAUX's share capital. As a result of this change GIRARD-PERREGAUX sold for the first time in 1930 more wristwatches than pocket-watches, about fifty years after Constant Girard had introduced this kind of timepiece. Apart from that GIRARD-PERREGAUX brand introduced its products in new markets, Europe and America and one of the watches that accompanied this growing was the water-resistant SEA HAWK model - while the MIMO brand concentrated on the European markets. Later, another acquisition was introduced in the watchmaking world, an Art Deco-inspired rectangular model, later called the VINTAGE 1945. Continuing its development, GIRARD-PERREGAUX brand was one of the very few manufactures to have an internal R&D department helping this to develop important revolutionary movements for GIRARD-PERREGAUX company; one of them was that GIRARD-PERREGAUX equipped its Gyromatic line with the first high-frequency movement (36,000 vibrations/hour). This means that watches equipped with this movement were synonym of accuracy. Recognizing this revolutionary change the Neuchâtel Observatory issued in 1967 more 70% of the chronometer certificates for the GIRARD-PERREGAUX's high-frequency chronometers. Encouraged with its achievements, GIRARD-PERREGAUX brand implemented to its creations quartz movements becoming first company in Switzerland to produce quartz watches on an industrial scale. The frequency of them , set by GIRARD-PERREGAUX engineers, 32,768 Hz, remains the universal standard for quartz watches. After that, GIRARD-PERREGAUX launched a sports model, the LAUREATO, with a polished octagonal bezel and a satin-finished integrated bracelet. Surprisingly, when the Swiss watch industry was amazed by the success of the quartz, GIRARD-PERREGAUX was one of the first prestige watch companies to gamble on a coming back to traditional mechanical timepieces. Then, GIRARD-PERREGAUX's master watchmakers produced twenty replicas of the famous Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges pocket-watch. In 1991 with the purpose to celebrate the GIRARD-PERREGAUX bicentenary, the world was delighted by a miniaturized wristwatch version of the highly celebrated Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges pocket-watch.

In 1992 GIRARD-PERREGAUX was in hand of Luigi Macaluso, an Italian entrepreneur, architect and former racing driver. With Luigi Macaluso heading the company, GIRARD-PERREGAUX signed a co-branding agreement with FERRARI. To highlight this event, the brand created a limited series of split-seconds chronographs stamped with the legendary "prancing horse" symbol. With this partnership the brand produced a remarkable collection sporting models and grand complications. During this period and considering that many Swiss watch companies were amazed by movements and movement-blanks from suppliers, GIRARD-PERREGAUX concentrated on expanding its manufactory capacity introducing the GP3000 and GP3100, a new family of ultra-thin movements. It as in 1998 that GIRARD-PERREGAUX acquired Villa Marguerite, an early-20th century building, and remodeled it to create its Museum. Some years later, GIRARD-PERREGAUX launched an automatic version of its famous Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, to celebrate its participation in the SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie). In this creation we can see has the introduction of an ingenious platinum micro-rotor system (patented in 1999) positioned under the barrel. At the same time, a new column-wheel chronograph movement 23.3 mm in diameter was introduced into GIRARD-PERREGAUX watches. Moreover, GIRARD-PERREGAUX introduced a movement with a new date system, with a large display window, and a moon-phases indicator as well as the development of the (World Wide Time Control), a large model combining chronograph function and hours of the world indication. With non stop in innovations the watchmaking GIRARD-PERREGAUX presented a new quartz movement and also launched the Cat's Eye concept: a new line of feminine watches with small complications mechanical movements.

Among the innumerable achievements GIRARD-PERREGAUX brand has been involved, another one was the its participation in the America's Cup alongside the BMW Oracle Racing Team. Finally, GIRARD-PERREGAUX opened its first boutique, in Gstaad and presented two additions to its portfolio of self-winding mechanical movements, the GP 2700, a 8 ¾ lines caliber, and the GP 4500, a 13 ¼ lines caliber. Last but not least, the Brand presented a technical and innovative version of its renowned Tourbillon with the model Laureato Evo3 Tourbillon with three sapphire Bridges.