CONCIERGE PRICE: $32,795
A NEW ICON FOR THE BRIDGES FAMILY
At Geneva Watch Days, Girard-Perregaux is pleased to present two new watches, the Free Bridge and the Free Bridge Infinity. These new models pay tribute to Girard-Perregaux’s legendary 1867 Trois Ponts, while looking forward to the future with enthusiasm. The design of each model is resolutely contemporary and perfectly suited to lovers of style, strong design codes and extraordinary watchmaking expertise.
“Girard-Perregaux is known for its Swiss-made excellence and innovative watchmaking,” explains Girard-Perregaux CEO Patrick Pruniaux. “With these models, our master watchmakers have reinvented the brand’s famous Bridges, born in the 1860s. The design of the Free Bridge and the Free Bridge Infinity edition has been refined for today and beyond. In addition, the styling of each model proves to be spectacular, and despite the achievement of these two references, each of these watches remains relatively affordable.”
The Free Bridge and its close relative, the Free Bridge Infinity, feature a recognizable arrow-shaped Neo bridge that spans the base of the plate. The shape of the bridge follows the design of the Manufacture’s iconic arrow bridge, while reinterpreting the contemporary structures often seen in architecture. While Girard-Perregaux can be proud of its past, the brand has not forfeited its creativity and its unparalleled sense of progress.
The master watchmakers of La Chaux-de-Fonds have reinterpreted the House’s well-proven GP01800 caliber by injecting it with a considerable dose of state-of-the-art technology. Girard-Perregaux has used silicon to make the escapement and balance parts. Although silicon is used by some companies, it remains rare despite its many advantages. It is not subject to corrosion, does not suffer from temperature changes, is light and not very sensitive to magnetic fields. For users, these characteristics offer many advantages. For example, while some parts made of conventional materials may behave differently depending on the temperature, silicon components are not affected and allow a constant measurement of time. In addition, silicon’s low coefficient of friction reduces both wear and energy consumption.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable differences with silicon is that it can be shaped into the most elaborate forms that would be impossible to achieve with conventional technologies. In 2013, Girard-Perregaux created an ingenious silicon blade for its award-winning watch, the Échappement Constant L.M. The forward and backward bending of the silicon blade provides a constant amount of energy to the escapement, thus improving precision.
Once again, Girard-Perregaux has capitalized on silicon’s ability to take complex shapes, using this advanced material to create not only an escapement, but also a large variable inertia balance. Most watches have a racket that alters the effective length of the balance spring, causing the watch to advance or retard. With a variable inertia balance, the length of the balance spring is fixed and the rate is corrected by moving the adjustable weights. The advantage of this approach is a greater stability of the balance and also a lesser sensitivity of the balance to shocks. Its airy design as well as its large diameter further improve its accuracy.
Unlike conventional sapphire crystal, each model has a redesigned sapphire crystal case that features a curved shape. The curved and polished shape requires four to five times more material, while the polishing of the crystal requires remarkable skill to achieve a flawless result. The opening of the movement, between 6 o’clock and noon, bathes the exposed movement components in abundant light. The inverted movement offers a breathtaking side view of some of the often hidden components, such as the balance wheel, escapement and barrel positioned in the upper part of the dial. The self-winding GP01800-1170 continues the brand’s reputation for fine watchmaking. The movement is decorated with a Côtes de Genève pattern, chamfering, sandblasting and colimaçonnage. The Infinity edition also features an 18-carat rose gold oscillating weight. The Aigle symbol of the House adorns the caliber, proof that the movement is from the Manufacture.
The Free Bridge and Free Bridge Infinity feature an hour bridge that draws the eye to the barrel and balance wheel. In the Free Bridge, this hand-angled hour bridge is finished in satin, while the hour bridge of the Free Bridge Infinity edition is made of onyx, a material with the darkest shades of intense black. The hour bridge features straight lines that contrast with the arched lines of the case. The Free Bridge has a 44mm steel case, while its counterpart, the Free Bridge Infinity Edition, is more discreet with its DLC treatment.
The Free Bridge features skeletonized Dauphine-style hands combined with suspended hour markers to give the exact time. The suspended indexes reinforce the language of this three-dimensional design. The Free Bridge Infinity edition, dressed in gold hues, has a different personality. On each model, the color-coordinated strap is enhanced by two visible seams adjacent to each horn in a contrasting color. Over time, this design element will become a recurring GP signature feature.
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