Independent Watch Brand
The history of the Girard-Perregaux trademark begins in 1856, when Constantin Othenin Girard, a Swiss watchmaker, married Marie Perregaux, and, according to the then tradition, used the combination of names to refer to the family business. The firm was formerly called Girard & Cie. and had been founded four years earlier by Constantin Girard and his brother Numa. Girard-Perregaux started out as the maker of precision pocket watches – chronometers which were distinguished by their graceful style, including the peculiar design of the movement with three parallel bridges. Such watches, both regular and tourbillon, were produced from 1865, and in 1867, he presented a magnificent pocket watch with tourbillon at the World Exhibition in Paris, winning a gold medal. Constant Girard patented the famous piece with a tourbillon and three bridges, with its characteristic baroque shape, in 1884 in the USA (design patent No. 14919). In 1889, the luxurious Esmeralda pocket watch with a tourbillon and three gold bridges was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition.
In 1906 Girard-Perregaux purchased Jean-François Bautte & Cie., the Geneva-based watch and jewellery company founded in 1791 by Jean-François Bautte, respectable master of elegant and extra-thin pocket watches. Girard-Perregaux has since then counted this date as the beginning of its history. In 1940, the successful Sea Hawk collection of water-resistant wristwatches was launched, while in 1957 the brand developed the Gyromatic self-winding movement with eponymous reverser, featuring roller-equipped unidirectional clutches. This proved to be a simple, reliable and efficient construction. The top-of-the-line Gyromatic HF high-frequency 36,000 A/h caliber was introduced by Girard-Perregaux in 1966, becoming the world’s first self-winding high-frequency caliber and earning a reputation as the Formula 1 of self-winding watches.
Girard-Perregaux started out as the maker of precision pocket watches – chronometers which were distinguished by their graceful style, including the peculiar design of the movement with three parallel bridges.
In the 1970s, the brand was actively involved in the development of quartz movements. In particular, the frequency of 32'768 Hz was introduced, which was accepted as the industry standard. Thin advanced quartz calibers enabled the launch in 1975 of Laureato, a collection of elegant sports watches on an integrated bracelet.
In 1979, the brand’s collection was restarted, with the aim of re-focusing the company on mechanical watches. With that in mind, 1981 saw Girard-Perregaux launch a 20-piece series of tourbillon pocket watches with three gold bridges in honour of the 190th anniversary of the brand. In 1986, with an eye on its 200th anniversary, the brand started the development of commemorative wristwatches again with a tourbillon and three gold bridges. In 1991, the watch was presented at the Basel fair.
The company has changed hands several times since the 1920s, merging with brands such as Mimo, Consul, and Landi, before being acquired by its Italian agent Luigi ‘Gino’ Macaluso in 1992. His leadership significantly changed the brand. For example, by agreement with Ferrari, a line of Girard-Perregaux ‘pour Ferrari’ models was created. The brand has evolved dynamically, continuing to offer classic, sporty and ultra-complex mechanical watches, including a variety of branded bridge designs and the innovative constant-force Constant Escapement. The jury of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) awarded in 2013 the ‘Aiguille d’Or’, a supreme distinction, to the Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement L.M. watch. In 2011, after the death of its charismatic CEO Luigi Macaluso (2010), the company was taken over by the French luxury group Kering. In 2016, Girard-Perregaux relaunched its Laureato line to compete with steel sports watches like the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. At the beginning of 2022, the management made a buy-out of the company.
Auction 2023 lot:
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