The History of Girard-Perregaux Watches and Chronographs

Girard-Perregaux sign

Innovation in watchmaking has become something every company strives for. Innovation is synonymous with creativity, it is about having vision and talent in the watch industry.

Girard-Perregaux is one of the Swiss watch manufacturers whose consistent high quality and trust, as well as exceptional "savoir-faire", have made the brand stand out as the most beautiful jewel in the watch world.

In other words, Girard-Perregaux produces its own movements.

Girard-Perregaux was founded in 1971 by Jean-François Botté, a young man who had served his apprenticeship as a case assembler, a lathe, a watchmaker and a goldsmith.

At the age of 19, Bott put his name on the first watch he made.

His watches were known to be very thin, showcasing his talent as a watchmaker.

Geneva was once the site of Bott's factory and the place where he himself lived during that time.

Queen Victoria of England was among the notable guests who visited Bott at his Geneva factory and praised his talent.

Bott also had dealings with courts throughout Europe, demonstrating his talents as a shrewd and astute businessman and becoming the most famous watchmaker of his time.

A few years later, Jacques Bott and Jean-Samuel Rossel took over the factory, which had a great industrial and cultural presence.

Later, in 1852, Constant Girard founded Girard Company.

Two years later, Girard married Marie Perregaux, and in 1856 they founded Girard-Perregaux, a company named after their union, in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Constant Girard-Gallet soon took over the Girard-Perregaux factory from his father, and his demands for precision from his workers earned Girard-Perregaux a permanent seat on the jury of the International Watch Competition.

Galette bought an old and well-known watch company and renamed it Girard-Perregaux.

Girard-Perregaux watches have been successful across all industries, one example being that a Girard-Perregaux watch was used by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin to time the test flights of his airship in the 20th century.

Girard-Perregaux has always been a company that has undergone changes, including the purchase of a stake in Girard-Perregaux by Otto Graef, the German watch manufacturer and owner of Mimo.

As a result, in 1930, some 50 years after the founding of Constant-Girard, Girard-Perregaux achieved the remarkable feat of selling more wristwatches than pocket watches.

Aside from the Girard-Perregaux brand introducing its products to new markets in Europe and America, one of the watches that came along with this growth was the waterproof Seahawk model.

Meanwhile, Mimo was focusing on the European market.

The watchmaking world then gave birth to a rectangular model inspired by Art Deco, which would later be called the Vintage 1945.

As it continued to grow, the Girard-Perregaux brand was one of the few manufacturers with its own in-house Research and Development department, helping to create key innovative moves for the company's development.

One of these is the installation of a production line for Gyromatic (automatic winding) watches with high-frequency operation (36,000 vibrations per hour).

This feature means that a watch is accurate.

In recognition of this revolutionary change, in 1967 the Neuchâtel Observatory announced that over 70% of its certified chronometers were Girard-Perregaux high-frequency chronometers.

This achievement spurred Girard-Perregaux to become the first Swiss company to produce quartz watches industrially.

The frequency, determined by Girard-Perregaux engineers, is 32,768 Hz, and is still used as the global standard for quartz watches.

Girard-Perregaux then introduced the Laureato, a sports model with a polished octagonal fluted edge and a matte finish bracelet.

With the Swiss watch industry all excited about their quartz watches, it was a surprise to see storied watch company Girard-Perregaux return to time-honored mechanics.

The master watchmakers at Girard-Perregaux have created 20 replicas of the famous Tourbillon pocket watch with three gold bridges.

In 1991, people were delighted to see the launch of a miniaturized wristwatch based on the Tourbillon Three Gold Bridges pocket watch to celebrate Girard-Perregaux's 200th anniversary.

In 1992, Italian entrepreneur, architect and former racer Luigi Macaluso became President of Girard-Perregaux.

The company, led by Macaluso, has signed a brand licensing agreement with Ferrari.

This led to the creation of a limited series of split-seconds chronographs bearing Ferrari's Cavallino Rampante symbol.

The contract with Ferrari gave birth to famous sports models and grand complications.

While many Swiss watch companies were surprised by this unpredictable movement, Girard-Perregaux expanded the scale of its factory and launched the ultra-thin watches GP3000 and GP3100.

In 1998, the company acquires the Villa Margaret, an early 20th century building, and transforms it into a museum for the company. A few years later, Girard-Perregaux marks its participation in SIHH (Exposition International de la Haute Horlogerie) by introducing a self-winding version of its popular Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges.

This product is fitted with a pure platinum micro-rotor (patented in 1999) located beneath the barrel.

At the same time, a new column wheel chronograph with a diameter of 23.3 mm was added to the Girard-Perregaux product range.

Additionally, Girard-Perregaux introduces a new data system with a large display screen showing the phases of the moon and the with chronograph to show the time in various countries around the world.

Ever the daredevil, Girard-Perregaux has introduced a new quartz watch and a reduced complication called the Cat's Eye, aimed at women.

Among the many achievements that Girard-Perregaux has been involved in is its participation in the America's Cup with the MMW Oracle Racing team.

Eventually, the company opened its first boutique in Gstaad and added new manual winding models to its range: the 8-calibre GP2700 and the 13-calibre GP4500.

Last but not least, the company has introduced the Tourbillon, a technically superior and innovative new version of its much-loved Tourbillon, the 3 Sapphire Bridge Laureato Evo3 Tourbillon.

Introducing the Girard-Perregaux Competizione series

Girard Perregaux Chronograph Watches

Girard-Perregaux had great success at Baselworld 2016 with the launch of the 1966 Dual Time and Esmeralda Tourbillon, but they haven't yet mentioned their new Competizione range of vintage chronographs.

This product series comes in two types: Stradale and Circuit.

Girard-Perregaux is known for the racing chronographs it produced in the 1950s and 1960s, and were loved for their simple cover designs and overall balance.

The Competizione series has the same vintage specifications in a 42mm cover.

The series comes in two types: Stradale and Circuit.

Both are essentially the same watch (size, automatic, 46-hour operation), but one is made of steel (the Stradale has a rubber or black dial) and the other is made of titanium and carbon (the Circuit has a honeycomb dial).

Girard Perregaux Chronograph Watch Images

The Stradale is popular with classic collectors because of its traditional lines and look.
It features a dial with second, 30-minute, and 12-hour hands.
Additionally, the date frame is located between the second hand and the 4 o'clock position on the 12-hour hand.

The watch is powered by the GP03300 automatic and, as mentioned earlier, is available with a black or silver dial and a bracelet or alligator strap.
Girard Perregaux Chronograph Watches

The Circuit is the most advanced part of the collection, made from a titanium and carbon composite and with the same 42mm cover as the Stradale.
It has a black honeycomb dial with red accents and the layout is the same.