The first timepiece borne of the recently announced partnership between Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin has been revealed. The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition unites the watchmaking expertise of Girard-Perregaux with Aston Martin’s unique knowledge of luxury and performance. The Girard Perregaux Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges Aston Martin Edition will be delivered
Both brands demonstrate a passion for refined craftsmanship and have been working together, sharing their understanding of design, materials and technology. This latest model celebrates the iconic Three Bridges pocket watch from the 19th century in a decidedly contemporary way, down to the smallest details, including the strap. A sapphire crystal ‘box’ is positioned front of house, as well as to the rear, coaxing light to illuminate the case interior, thereby augmenting readability. The 44 millimetre case of the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition is formed of Grade 5 titanium, a strong, hypoallergenic alloy selected by Aston Martin for its lightweight properties. It is suffused with black DLC, bestowing the watch with a stealthy appearance. Interestingly, titanium ore was discovered in Great Britain, the home of Aston Martin, back in 1791 by an English clergyman, William Gregor, in the same year Girard-Perregaux was founded. Upholding Girard-Perregaux tradition, this model skilfully plays with proportions and shapes much to the delight of aesthetes.
Three bridges, an iconic signature of Girard-Perregaux, span the dial and are formed of titanium with black PVD treatment and polished angles. The design endows the timepiece with an airy appearance, affording breathtaking views of movement components ordinarily hidden from view. While Girard-Perregaux has a long history of making the invisible visible, in this instance it has ventured off-piste, creating a watch whose movement appears to levitate within the case. This is achieved by paring back the movement, causing the mainplate to seemingly disappear within the case, thereby creating the illusion of the movement flying within the case. The car company’s name is engraved on the vertical flank of the micro-rotor and is filled with white luminescent treatment which appears blue in restricted light.
The first timepiece borne of the recently announced partnership between Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin has been revealed. The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition unites the watchmaking expertise of Girard-Perregaux with Aston Martin’s unique knowledge of luxury and performance.
Earlier this year, Girard-Perregaux announced a new partnership with Aston Martin, most famous for being the carmaker of choice for James Bond. The watchmaker also signed on as a sponsor of the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One racing team, but a collaborative watch was absent, until now.
Girard-Perregaux has just taken the covers off the inaugural watch of the partnership, the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition, a sleek, modern interpretation of the watchmaker’s signature complication.
When the partnership was first revealed, the first watch that came to mind was an auto-racing chronograph on an integrated bracelet, making the all-black tourbillon a bit of a surprise. But the integrated-bracelet sports watch is now commonplace, so I am glad Girard-Perregaux went with the Flying Bridges tourbillon, a complication unique to the brand.
The tourbillon movement is, of course, an evolution of the brand’s iconic Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges that was invented in the mid-19th century and found in Girard-Perregaux’s finest pocket watches, including one that was sold to the then President of Mexico, the famous “La Esmeralda”.
First, the case as well as the movement bridges are titanium coated with diamond-like carbon (DLC). And the style of the movement has been revamped, with streamlined, flowing bridges and maximum skeletonisation to create floating, organic forms.
While the watch and movement are impressively executed, something a bit more novel would have made a bigger impact as the partnership’s first model. Perhaps it’s just because the British carmaker has other issues to deal with as its tie up with Girard Perregaux comes as it embarks on a fresh start, having been rescued by fashion tycoon Lawrence Stroll last year. Partnerships between automakers and high horology watchmakers do typically result in all-new models and movements, so the two brands likely have something else in the pipeline.
A large but lightweight watch, the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges is 44 mm wide and 15.52 mm high. But its effective height is significantly less, because much of its thickness is due to the highly domed sapphire crystals on the front and back.
A crucial part of the movement’s visual presentation, the “box type” sapphire crystal rises upwards from the case, allowing for a panoramic view of the calibre, even from the side.
At the same time, the height of the crystal allows for vertical hour markers that stand parallel to the plane of the dial. Each hour marker contains a block of Super-Luminova resin for excellent nighttime legibility, but because the markers are vertical, they do not obscure any part of the movement.
While seemingly simple in form – being maximally skeletonised – the Flying Bridges tourbillon is actually automatic. The uppermost bridge holds the barrel, which smartly hides a compact micro-rotor of 18k white gold.
Though camouflaged by the barrel, the micro-rotor is clearly visible at an angle – and in the dark. Its outer edge is engraved “Aston Martin”, which is then filled with luminescent material that’ll glow in the dark. The second bridge in the middle supports the hands as well as the gear train, while the third bridge at six o’clock carries the tourbillon. Notably, the base plate that supports the bridges in the Neo Tourbillon has been removed, enhancing the levitating effect and leaving the bridges only anchored on each end.
Last but not least, the watch is delivered with an extra strap of calfskin strap with a silver stripe down its centre. Named Rubber Alloy, the stripe is an insert of “injected white gold on rubber”, essentially rubber coated in white gold, an industry first that injects a bit of flair into the monochromatic look.