To coincide with the Geneva Watch Days event, Girard-Perregaux is launching a new member in the Bridges family, a modern take on this iconic range (which can go from ultra-classical to technical) known as the Girard-Perregaux Free Bridge. Relying on some elements of the legendary Three Bridges of 1867, it adds modernity in the style and innovation in the movement, resulting in a contemporary watch with a strong design. Visually complex, yet relatively accessible. Let’s have a closer look.
The bridges family is inspired by what’s certainly Girard-Perregaux’s most emblematic creation, a pocket watch with three arrow-shaped bridges. In 1867, a tourbillon pocket chronometer version with three bridges won a First Class Bulletin from Neuchâtel Observatory, as well as a medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition. A few years later, a tourbillon model with three gold bridges known as “La Esmeralda” won a gold medal at the 1889 Paris Universal Exhibition. Over the years, the three bridges have become the brand’s signature for high-end models and turned up in different guises: sometimes steeped in classicism like this GP Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges of 2015 or radically contemporary interpretations like this Neo Tourbillon in a DLC Titanium case, and even aboard the GPHG prize-winning Constant Escapement.
The Girard-Perregaux Free Bridge
The new Girard-Perregaux Free Bridge features the iconic arrow-shaped bridge but in a far more contemporary way, a style that was introduced in the “Neo” models – for instance, the Neo Bridges. Its shape upholds GP’s iconic arrow-shaped bridge design but simultaneously reinterprets it in a contemporary structure, which can also be seen in the proportions of the watch itself. It is housed in a 44mm case, with a 12.20mm height, crafted in polished and brushed stainless steel, topped by a wide box-shaped sapphire crystal offering an uncluttered view on the elements of the dial.
While only one of the trademark arrow-shaped bridges is used on the dial, the Girard-Perregaux Free Bridge retains the vertical architecture of the movement to offer pleasant visual symmetry. The dial is framed by a floating inner flange, with suspended, faceted indexes with luminescent material. Starting from 12 o’clock, the barrel dominates the upper half of the stage and is opened to reveal the mainspring – concurrently working as a power reserve. The hands are classically mounted in the centre. Finally, at 6 o’clock is the regulating organ, on full display and held in place under the Neo arrow bridge, with matte surfaces and polished bevels. The rest of the dial is composed of black and dark grey elements, with matte or brushed contrasting surfaces, resulting in a technical look.
True to its modern approach towards the bridge concept, the Girard-Perregaux Free Bridge has incorporated a modern and innovative regulating organ, which is mostly composed of silicon elements – a material that is corrosion-free, unaffected by changing temperature, lightweight and less susceptible to magnetic fields. Also, silicon can be formed into intricate shapes, benefiting the chronometric performances of the watch. This is clearly visible on the large variable inertia balance with its aerial design composed of blades and adjustable inertia blocks.
In order to power the Free Bridge, Girard-Perregaux uses its well-known and reliable calibre GP1800 as a base – yet heavily modified in this context. The movement, which runs at 4Hz and stores up to 54 hours of power reserve, is self-winding and visible through the caseback. The movement, coated in dark grey, is decorated with Côtes de Genève, bevelling, sandblasting and snailing.
The Girard-Perregaux Free Bridge is worn on a black calf leather strap with a fabric effect, closed by a triple folding clasp in stainless steel. Priced at CHF 16,250, it will be available at retailers from October 2020.
The Infinity Edition
In addition to the permanent steel model above, Girard-Perregaux also introduces an 88-piece limited edition, the Free Bridge Infinity Edition. This model is housed in a 44mm steel black DLC-coated case. The dial features black onyx plates and gold-coloured elements – arrow bridges, applied indexes and logo. It is worn on a black alligator strap with black and pink gold-coloured stitching. The back reveals a pink gold oscillating weight.
The Free Bridge Infinity Edition will also be available from October 2020 and will be priced at CHF 19,410.
More details at girard-perregaux.com.