The new Girard-Perregaux Cat’s Eye (refs. 80486D11A361–IK7A & 80486D11A861-IK8A) automatic wristwatch features the same level of refinement and understated elegance that we love so much about the collection, but comes in a fairly affordable stainless steel body: something that modern, carrier-oriented ladies would probably love even more than flashier gold. Besides being less prone to scratches compared to white gold (the precious alloy is a lot softer than steel,) the light-grey metal also serves as an almost perfect frame for the 56 diamonds that adorn the thin, oval-shaped bezel of the watch.
So far, the watch is offered in two versions: one with silver-toned dial and on a white calfskin strap and the other sports a less common beige dial and a color-keyed calfskin strap. Both versions have their faces decorated with finely executed sunburst pattern that brilliantly emphasized the polished hands, hour markers and the single Arabic numeral, which is placed at 12 hours.
The dial looks beautiful and even mesmerizing, no doubt about that, but when it comes to readability, the timepiece leaves somewhat dubious impression. When lighting is good, the dial is still contrast enough to easily tell time and even use the small seconds hand as a rudimentary timer. The date window, too, can be read without putting too much strain on your eyes. However, when lighting is less than adequate (in a dimly lit underground parking lot, in a theater or even in a car with ambient lights turned down,) reading this piece may prove problematic. Of course, this all is purely subjective and you may have a completely different use case for this otherwise absolutely beautiful piece of jewelry, but I think that a future owner of the watch has to understand what she is getting into.
By the way, the power reserve indicator, too, seems to sacrifice readability in favor of esthetics. While very useful (especially if you or your loved one doesn’t normally wear a watch or usually prefers quartz-powered ones to mechanical and tends to forget that a mechanical watch needs winding every two day or so) in theory, this particular indicator doesn’t look very legible to me since it lacks a normal, easily readable scale.
Well, it will probably require some time to get familiar with the display.
The new Cat’s Eye is equipped with Girard-Perregaux‘s omnipresent GP03300 base caliber, which seems to be upgraded with the aforementioned power reserve module. Although the caliber can’t really be called ‘high-end’ (it’s just not sophisticated enough to earn the title,) I must admit that it is still a very nice ‘workhorse’ movement. Both extremely reliable and robust, it seems to be a good choice for a watch, which is supposed to be worn on a daily basis while doing a good job at keeping time. Perhaps, the only problem you may encounter with this mechanism compared to a more ubiquitous ETA caliber of similar design, is that it may take a bit longer to repair it if something gets broken. Other than that, the movement is simply great.
Compared to the petite Girard-Perregaux Cat’s Eye Small Second that was revealed two years ago during SIHH 2011, this model looks a lot bolder with its impressive dimensions of 38 millimeters in width and 33 millimeters in height.
While still not being particularly large, the watch looks considerably more slender with its body still being around 11 millimeters thick.
If this model will arrive to stores before February 14th, it can really become a hit among those folks looking for a nice present to their soul mates.
Girard-Perregaux Cat’s Eye Steel Automatic watch specification
Price: $14,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, GP03300, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 27
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 46 hours
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, power reserve indicator
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case, 56 diamonds (1.08 carats)
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Oval
Bezel shape: Oval
Case size: 38.00 mm x 33.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Beige or Silver-toned
Hour markers: Applied
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: White or beige calfskin strap with a steel folding buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire