Girard-Perregaux 1966 Chronograph (Ref. 49539-53-151-BK6A) Swiss

The new Girard-Perregaux 1966 Collection chronograph (ref. 49539-53-151-BK6A) automatic wristwatch will see the light at the upcoming 2010 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie event set to open in Geneva, Switzerland on 18 January 2010. Fulfilling the public’s desire for “classic” timekeepers, the Swiss watchmaker has presented a device that stylishly combines vintage design cues with state of the art modern technology. With its easy to read dial, compact body, and lots of good taste, this watch ceases to be an accessory or an expensive time measuring device and becomes a true living classic.

The latest member of GP’s popular 1966 collection will feature plain and simple dial layout. Sporting the typical for the 1960s scheme with a pair of symmetrically placed sub-dials, the gadget features a stopwatch-styled small seconds hand at 9 o’clock, as well as a pair of chronograph counters: a central seconds hand and a 30-minute totalizer at 3 hours. All three indicators are crafted from blued steel making them very contrast against the off-white background of the dial.

Its perfectly circular 40 mm case is made of 18-carat polished rose gold (mind you that the 1966 Chrono is also supplied in a more demure white gold case for the kind of folks who want their consumption to be as inconspicuous as possible), just as the humble winding crown featuring GP’s logo and a pair of push-pieces.

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Chronograph watch

As usual, elegantly shaped and making an impression of quite ergonomic ones, they feature the usual algorithm of counting time intervals: push the one at 2 o’clock and the timer starts, push it again and it stops. To reset the mechanism to zero, you will need to press the other pusher at 4 hours just once.

As I have already noted, the three control elements are not only finely executed, but also seem to be quite ergonomic allowing for an easy operating of the watch, although some may find the crown a bit too flat to easily grasp.

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Chronograph watch (detail)

It is reported in the brand’s official press release that the watch will be powered by a Caliber GP030C0 automatic column-wheel chronograph movement. Only 23.68 millimeters in diameter, the mechanism –what an irony– is currently GP’s movement of choice when it comes to powering ladies watches.

Although the mechanism is quite small, GP’s designers managed to overcome the problem with a sort of style that, regretfully, rarely comes as a part of the packaged when you deal with luxury items. Thanks to the wide and long tachymeter scale that lets you measure speeds of up to 1000 kilometers per hour, and a classic railway minute track scale, neither hands, nor chronograph counters look out of proportion here creating an illusion of the movement to be finely fitting the timekeeper’s vintage dial layout.

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Chronograph watch (GP030C0 automatic column-wheel chronograph movement)

Well, just to be hair-splittingly picky, I must not that the scale is still a little out of proportion to the rest of the dial taking just too much real estate compared to the rest of the face and that it would possibly be better if the chronograph totalizers were set a trifle wider. However, I can’t but admire the stylish way the designer of the piece has solved the technical problem. After all, Girard-Perregaux is in this business to make money and they just can’t let hundreds of unused mechanisms to take up storage space just because there is not enough demand of ladies watches.

For the display to look well-proportioned, the distance between the counters should be equal to their own diameters.

Well, I guess it is just another sign telling us that, diameter wise, the industry went too far. I hope, we will see more sub-40mm men’s watches in the nearest future.

SIHH 2010: Girard-Perregaux 1966 Chronograph (Ref. 49539-53-151-BK6A, sapphire back and branded pin buckle)

WWR Verdict

Originality 4.5/5
Build Quality: 5/5
Usability: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

See also: Rolex Daytona Everose Ref. 116505 model

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Chronograph watch (GP030C0 automatic column-wheel chronograph movement, detailed view)

Photos: Girard-Perregaux

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Chronograph (ref. 49539-53-151-BK6A) automatic watch specification

Price range: $31,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber GP030C0, automatic, column-wheel chronograph, 304 parts, manufactured in-house, Swiss Made
Jewels: 38
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with tachymeter
Power reserve: 36 hours
Case material: Polished rose or white gold, 18-carat
Case shape: Round
Case size: 40.00 mm
Case height: 12.00 mm
Dial: White with two sub-dials and a tachymeter scale
Hands: White or Rose gold, 18-carat
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Alligator leather strap with gold buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Sapphire

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