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BaselWorld 2014: Belles of the Fair: Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Tourbillion

by Robin Lim on May 21, 2014

The Tourbillion is a complication that was created to optimize precision in timekeeping. Girard-Perregaux has always produced some of the most beautiful tourbillons, and this year, they upped the ante to further this feat, through the use of a Tri-Axial Tourbillion.

The Tourbillion, a mechanism that was initially created by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1795, is used to counter the effects of gravity to improve the accuracy of watches. Overtime, the quest for perfection has led to the creation of double-axis tourbillons and the triple-axis tourbillons. Even though Girard-Perregaux is not the first watchmaker to use a triple-axis tourbillon for their watches, the first being the Gyrotourbillon by Thomas Prescher in 2004. The JLC Gyrotourbillon and the Greubel Forsey tourbllons are double axis, as the third axis is fixed relative to the other two.

 

The Girard Perregaux Triple Axis Tourbillon. One of the main design cues of the Tri-Axial Tourbillion- circles and curve.

The Girard Perregaux Triple Axis Tourbillon.
One of the main design cues of the Tri-Axial Tourbillion- circles and curve.

 

The triple-axis tourbillon, or the “Tri-Axial Tourbillon”, features a regulator on three separate axis of the mechanism itself. The core of the mechanism lays the traditional tourbillon, where the escapement makes a complete revolution on its own axis. It is integrated within a structure positioned on a second axis which rotates on its own. Finally, both are incorporated into a third system, in which it is placed on a third axis, with its own rotation.  This allows the escapement to compensate for the effects of gravity as the entire escapement eventually goes through all positions of the sphere.

 

A close up shot on the Tri-Axial Tourbillon. To accomodate the tourbillon, which eventually traces all the points of a sphere, the sapphire crystal accomodates a domed surface.

A close up shot on the Tri-Axial Tourbillon.
To accomodate the tourbillon, which eventually traces all the points of a sphere, the sapphire crystal accomodates a domed surface.

 

At the back of the watch contains pointers the iconic Girard-Perregaux features- the Three Bridges and the Eagle motif. The Eagle is the symbol of Girard-Perregaux since 1897, and it is engraved on the plate of the movement itself. A plaque, bearing the shape of the Three Bridges’ iconic bridges displays the individual number of each piece. The traditional motif of the three bridges, with the double headed arrows is used as inspiration to the bridge and cock which holds the drive system to the tourbillon.

 

A caseback shot of the watch, featuring bridges with style cues from the iconic "Three Bridges" and the Eagle Motif.

A caseback shot of the watch, featuring bridges with style cues from the iconic “Three Bridges” and the Eagle Motif.

 

Aesthetically, the Tri-Axial Tourbillon is a stunning watch. The main star of the watch, the triple-axis tourbillon, lies on the “9 o’clock” position of the watch. The mechanism is a relatively big one; it has a diameter of 13.78mm. In fact, the mechanism is a little too large that Girard-Perregaux had to create an additional domed sapphire crystal at that position to house it. At the side of the watch also lies a toric-shaped sapphire crystal to showcase the triple-axis tourbillon at a different perspective.

 

The Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Tourbillon, showing the triple axis tourbillon, power reserve indicator and time display.

The Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Tourbillon, showing the triple axis tourbillon, power reserve indicator and time display.

 

The dial of the watch is situated at the “half-past one” position of the watch itself. The dial is a rather special one; it has a Clous de Paris motif. The numerals, hands, and markers of the watch are crafted in pink gold. The dial is enclosed by an applique in pink gold, which features a black flange that contrasts very well with the white numerals in it.

The bottom of the watch features another complication: the Reserve de Marche (or power reserve, in layman terms). The design of the Reserve de Marche blends in very well with this watch. Unlike some other watches, the power reserve in this piece does not stick out like a sore thumb. The design of the various features of the watch (the dial, tourbillon, and the Reserve de Marche) is done very well; they integrate and compliment with each other very nicely.

One intriguing point to note would be the empty areas of the face of the watch itself. At these places, Girard-Perregaux has incorporated the “Japanese Zen” design element, in which these supposedly empty spaces are filled with regular concentric shapes. The watch is also designed with curves and circular shapes in mind too. This way, it helps to counterbalance the “complicity” of the timepiece, with understatement and simplicity. We think this concept works very well indeed.

 

The rear of the Tri-Axial tourbillon, showing the bridges, which takes design cues from the traditional and iconic GP Tourbillon in 3 Golden Bridges. The double headed arrow bridge, crafted in rose gold and a bridge with stylistic reference to the same holds the drive system to the tourbillon.

A closer look at the rear of the Tri-Axial tourbillon, showing the bridges, which takes design cues from the traditional and iconic GP Tourbillon in 3 Golden Bridges. The double headed arrow bridge, crafted in rose gold and a bridge with stylistic reference to the same holds the drive system to the tourbillon.

 

This 48mm watch is cased in pink gold, featuring the design codes of Girard-Perregaux’s Haute Horlogerie Collection. The movement has a minimum power reserve of 52 hours, and it is built with 317 components. It is strapped with a black alligator strap, with a pink gold folding buckle. This would be a rare piece though, as only 10 of such examples were made. Overall, this is a very special watch. The finishing is exceptional, as seen in the pictures. It is also impressive to see how Girard-Perregaux is able to infuse different kinds of finishing into the watch itself, which makes it a very exciting watch indeed. Only 10 pieces are made though, so it is going to be something that is very exclusive as well.

 

The Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Tourbillon, on the wrist.

The Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Tourbillon, on the wrist.

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