Iconic design, good mechanical features, beautifully finished.
Its a statement piece no doubt, but tinges on flashiness, that's negative assuming one does not like overt luxury.
Just a year ago, we reviewed the Girard Perregaux Vintage 1945 Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges. We were amazed by the design and quality of the watch. Not to be disappointed, Girard Perregaux’s latest release at Baselworld 2016, the Girard Perregaux Esmeralda Tourbillon has once again impressed us with its high quality craftsmanship and mechanical expertise.
The Case and Dial
The Girard Perregaux Three Bridges design and concept is closely tied to the history of the brand. First seen in a pocket watch in 1889, with its modern day reissue since the ’80s and then a tonneau shaped case last year, the manufacture has this time opted for a more widely accepted case shape for today’s wearers. The Girard Perregaux Esemeralda Tourbillon is fit in a circular shaped pink gold case and measures 44 mm in diameter and 14.5 mm in thickness. To accentuate the beauty of the dial, an anti-reflective raised sapphire crystal is used. We found that the case size while rather hefty, gives the designer adequate space to show off the tourbillon cage which measures 14.3 mm and contain a 10.5 mm balance wheel. The right size and proportions give the dial balance and allows the reader to properly admire the beauty of the 3 bridges tourbillon mechanism.
All three bridges are made from solid gold and the finishing of all three of them are impeccable. Their surfaces are mirror polished with hand chamfered edges and drawn flanks. For better ‘light effects’ from varying angles of reflection, the arms of the bridges are delicately rounded by hand using a burnisher.
No stones are left unturned on the dial side and the tourbillon carriage is also extremely well crafted. The carriage alone contains 80 components, of the 310 components in the movement. Laying its initials on the masterpiece, the manufacture’s signature lyre is affixed to the rotation carriage.
The Girard Perregaux Esmeralda Tourbillon uses the ref GP09400, a large 16-linge movement which contains more than 310 components and takes two months of work to assemble. The 27 jewel movement beats at 21,600 vph and has approximately 60 hours power reserve.
As with the dial side, the movement plate is also nicely decorated, albeit with a more subtle theme as compared to the rather flashy dial side. The usual ensemble of cote-de-geneve lines, bevelling and mirror polished screw holes can be seen. Instinctively, one looks for a conventional rotor when identifying an automatic movement, but this movement uses a rotor that is positioned under the barrel, decorated with the lyre motif.
As with the many before us, we find that the three bridges design is one of the most iconic of our time. For its price tag of CHF 180,000 or approximately USD 200,000, the Girard Perregaux Esmeralda Tourbillon is competitively priced. However, there are also plenty of options for a tourbillon at this price range. For instance, the Lange 1815 tourbillon, which comes in at USD 160,000 for pink gold. Objectively, it is difficult to do a just compare and contrast of the different tourbillon watches, but as a matter of preference, we find that the GP maybe leaning on the side of overt luxury. The size of the watch, the flashiness of the gold studded dial, and at times excessive decorations, like the words on the barrel wheel is definitely not features that one looks for in subtle luxury.