Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Just Arrived: The Girard-Perregaux 1957

The new 1957 recalls the look of Girard-Perregaux's classic Gyromatic.

As Girard-Perregaux celebrates its 225th anniversary this year, the Swiss haute horlogerie manufacture unveils the 1957. This 40mm steel watch features a revisited vintage design strongly inspired by the aesthetic codes of the Girard-Perregaux’s Gyromatic watches dating from the 1960s.

The champagne dial adds a nice retro vibe.

For centuries, watchmakers had been fascinated by the prospect of winding a watch’s mainspring automatically. Girard-Perregaux produced a revolutionary solution in 1957 called Gyromatic, and it remains a milestone in the development of the self-winding wristwatch.

One of the major challenges associated with automatic winding is how to turn the circular to-and-fro movement of the movement’s oscillating mass, or rotor, into the one-way circular motion that can actually wind the mainspring. 

For this purpose, horological engineers usually resort to a device called a motion reverser, featuring ratcheted wheels. However, the stronger the pawls and teeth, the larger they are, leading to an increase in idle travel. The remedy lies in using smaller, hence more fragile components. The only solution here is a never quite satisfactory compromise.

The Gyromatic system substitutes roller-equipped unidirectional clutches for the ratchet wheels. The resulting construction is simple, reliable and efficient. What’s more, its compactness opens the way for slim, sleek and stylish designs. 

The classic Gyromatic, circa 1957.

The Gyromatic has since demonstrated its excellence in thousands of Girard-Perreaux timepieces including the top-of-the-line Gyromatic HF (for high frequency), the self-winding watch equivalent of the Formula 1 race car. This development marked its ultimate major contribution to mechanical watch design. Along with others, it is attested by the patents granted to the company over the years.

In 1966, the Neuchâtel Observatory’s prestigious Centenary Prize acknowledged Girard-Perregaux’s superior ability. The next year, no less than 73% of all rating certificates were attributed to Girard-Perregaux high-frequency watches, a tribute to the extreme degree of precision that Girard-Perregaux had brought to mechanical time technology.

As an homage to this period, the manufactures celebrates this year its iconic timepiece at the occasion of Girard-Perregaux’s 225th Anniversary. The 1957, with its glass box, champagne dial with a retro effect, dauphine hands with luminescent material and applied indexes recalls Girard-Perregaux’s heritage.

The stainless steel case with polished upper and brushed sides encloses the vintage dial under a sapphire glass that the design recalls the Plexiglas used in the past. The 1957 comes with an open case back showing the in-house movement GP03300 with traditional finishes like back in the 70’s with “Côtes de Genève" and circular graining decorations on the main plate & oscillating weight.

Girard-Perregaux 1957
Technical Specifications

Reference: 41957-11-131-BB6A
Case: Stainless steel
Diameter: 40mm
Height: 9.45mm
Dial: Retro-effect champagne toned dial
Hands: Hour and minute hands with luminescent material
Caseback: Sapphire crystal
Water resistance: 3 ATM (30 meters)
Caliber: GP03300-0130 automatic movement
Diameter: 25.60mm (11”’)
Thickness: 3.20mm
Vibration: 28,800 Vib/h (4 Hz)
Power reserve: approimately 46 hours
Jewels: 27
Components: 218
Functions: Hour, minute, second, date
Strap: Black alligator strap with stitches

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