A new era of mechanical three-dimensionalityBASELWORLD 2014: The Girard-Perregaux Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges
A radical reissue of an old tradition, the Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges ushers in the emblematic Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon into a new era of design and mechanical three-dimensionality.
The Tourbillon with Three Bridges, an iconic timepiece created nearly 150 years ago by Girard-Perregaux, has undergone a quantum leap in design. The Manufacture has transformed its legendary Three Bridges model into a new standard in design and watchmaking craftsmanship. The architecture and codes from which it derives its strength and originality have been preserved: however the changes made are captured in the design of the Bridges, the shape of the crystal, and in the heart of the completely redesigned caliber. Crafted with an avant-garde spirit that breaks away from the norm, the Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges showcases the Manufacture's potential for innovation and its ability to honor history while embracing the future.
The Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges imposes new rules in terms of aesthetics. A quest for volume and a drive for three-dimensionality on a micrometric scale has powered the minds of our engineers and designers until the very moment that their vision materialized. This endeavor begins with the Bridges, which present a radically different cut and structure. In the literal sense, they evoke the excellence and integrity of the most stunning architectural achievements. The Bridges have been skeletonized to give them an even more lightweight appearance while their strong lines create perfect visual balance. Made of titanium, a metal that is as strong as steel yet 45% lighter, they are sandblasted down before receiving a black PVD treatment. The manufacturing of these avant-garde arches requires very special attention to prevent deformation from occurring during their complex production process. When seen from above, they present a slightly oval-shaped cut on each side, a shape that is also present on the skeleton hands.
The Bridges are secured to two integral shafts of the mainplate that are positioned vertically, thus presenting an inclined plane. As visually beautiful as it is technically sound, this construction forms a slope in the center to simultaneously house the movement parts and create a sense of depth. Treated with ruthenium anthracite and then sandblasted, the mainplate features a grey color that contrasts with the black Bridges.
Acting as a protective dome, the sapphire glass has been created in the shape of an anti-reflective box-like window. Sitting naturally flush against the edge of the case-center (the bezel has been removed), it creates a translucent structure that acts like a window through which the kinetic life it houses may be observed. The challenge was to design just the right shape that would prevent any visual distortion. Its design allows the caliber to be observed from the side, a rare possibility with timepieces boasting such a high degree of complexity.
Made of pink gold with alternating satin-finished and polished surfaces, the case features characteristics exclusive to Haute Horlogerie creations.
The Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges watch features a completely redesigned caliber that is larger than previous versions, yet respects the identity codes of the Tourbillon with Three Bridges: it features a symmetrical design, an aligned gear-train, a tourbillon case at the 6 o'clock position and a micro-rotor mounted under the barrel at the 12 o'clock position. In addition to these features, the GP09400 caliber (consisting of 245 components) incorporates several exclusive developments. Its frequency is of 3 Hz to ensure excellent performance and longevity. It has also been designed in a modular fashion to optimize its assembly and maintenance.
Echoing the shape of the historic lyre-shaped cage designed by Girard-Perregaux (one of the only manufactures to have a historic cage named after it), the tourbillon fits within a larger-than-average diameter of 14.44 mm. It also presents Haute Horlogerie finishes with recesses and beveled edges. Completing a full rotation in 1 minute, it has been made for the first time from titanium. With a special black color, the balance is variable thanks to gold regulating screws. It features a Phillips terminal curve balance spring. Although it houses 80 components, it has a total weight of only 0.25 grams.
New winding system
The barrel and its integrated unidirectional winding system have been reworked to optimize its performance. The white gold micro-rotor is now located entirely under the barrel and not around it as seen with previous Tourbillon with Three Bridges calibers. The power reserve has been increased by integrating a larger barrel drum, which allows a longer spring to be used. The teeth of the drum have been removed and replaced by a gear mounted above it. Engraved, beveled and skeletonized, it features 6 tilted arms, an aesthetic that is also repeated on other gears of the caliber. Thanks to this unique construction, the architectural character of the movement has been preserved while integrating automatic winding with a power reserve guaranteed to last up to 72 hours.
Several of its elements feature a specially worked design that echoes the unique style of Tourbillon with Three Bridges watches. On the back, it features an arrow-shaped bridge that spans the entire movement. The ratchet located at the 12 o'clock position is reminiscent of the shape of a lyre. The number 3 and its multiples, in reference to the number of Bridges, is seen throughout the watch's design. Naturally, according to the purest Girard-Perregaux tradition, the entire caliber sports high-end contemporary finishes to reveal the beauty of its components and magnify its structure.
The Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges fits within a diameter of 45 mm and is 14.45 mm in height. Water-resistant up to 30 meters, it features an alligator strap with a pink gold folding buckle.