Presented as a limited edition of just 15 numbered pieces, the new Girard-Perregaux 1966 Minute Repeater, Annual Calendar & Equation of Time (Ref. 99651-52-131-BKBA) wrist watch looks like a mildly refreshed version of the gorgeous (and even stately) Girard-Perregaux 1966 Annual Calendar & Equation of Time model that was presented just over a year ago. However, this timekeeper is a completely different story.
The first of all, the watch is powered by a different mechanism. Instead of the self-winding GP033M0 movement, this beauty is equipped with a unique Girard-Perregaux E09-0003 hand-wound caliber.
Beating at relatively slow frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (it not only allows to increase the mechanism power reserve to more than four days, but also reduces wear on moving parts, which is good considering how expensive the movement is) and comprising 419 components, the in-house engine not only manages to compress three “grand” complications (including a striking mechanism regulated by an inertia-driven governor) into a diminutive volume of a small poker chip, but does it with unique style, too, featuring beveled and polished bridges, rhodium-plated and circular-grained plate, as well as a beautifully shaped balance cock. Of course, like it’s almost always the case with mechanisms of such a noble pedigree, all finish is applied by a skilled hand of an artisan, not some soulless CNC tool.
Oversized fine watches are still quite popular among enthusiasts and, quite predictably, the new version of the watch grew a little larger, too, now measuring whole 42 millimeters in diameter. While definitely looking massive, the model with a reference number 99651-52-131-BKBA can still be considered a bona fide dress watch that will look great on a normal (and larger) wrist of a middle-aged gentleman who knows a thing or two about elegance and style.
So far, the timepiece is presented only in one version with an 18-carat rose gold case, which nicely contrasted by a (rhodium-plated?) brass dial that provides an almost perfect background for the rose gold hands and applied hour markers. While I can’t really call the timekeeper’s dial ‘ultra-legible’, it seems to be adequate for the task: getting used to the unusual layout (including filtering out the unnecessary “equation of time sub-dial”) doesn’t take much time and after that reading the piece is really a breeze.
As usual for this niche (or rather the chosen styling,) the timekeeper doesn’t feature a single drop of lume on its beautiful face, but that doesn’t look like a serious problem: it’s neither a diver, nor a pilot and is not supposed to be used outside of heavily guarded and highly controlled environments.
In its press release Girard-Perregaux didn’t say a word about the timekeeper’s price, but if you have to know it, you possibly can’t afford it*.
* UPDATE ON MSRP: Okay, pricing for this wristwatch is officially out and it is impressive indeed. According to the Swiss-based watchmaker, the new watch will retail at stunning $290,000 USD, which makes it one of the most expensive “grand complication” timekeepers ever released by the brand. When it comes to ultra-luxury accessories like this one, assessing their “value for money” ratio is clearly not the best idea: these watches are not about money, they are about statement and attitude and this particular specimen is rather good at that, it really does deliver The Message.
Girard-Perregaux 1966 Minute Repeater, Annual Calendar & Equation of Time (Ref. 99651-52-131-BKBA) watch specification
Price: $290,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Manual, Girard-Perregaux E09-0003, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 48
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: Approx. 100 hours
Movement decoration: Decorated by hand, rhodium-plated and circular-grained (perlaged) plate, Cotes de Geneve pattern on the bridges, gold semi-arrow shaped balance-cock
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, month (annual calendar), equation of time, minute repeater
Case material: Rose gold, polished
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Brass, rhodium-plated
Hour markers: Rose gold, applied
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Brown leather strap with pink gold pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective, domed
Case back: Sapphire
Limited edition of 15 pieces