The Swiss watchmaking house Girard-Perregaux has once again teamed with the famous Italian fashion brand Zegna to produce a special edition Ermenegildo Zegna by Girard-Perregaux Monterubello Solo Tempo automatic watch.
A major watchmaker is always happy to lend its services to a fellow fashion house. That’s what I have learned during the years of publishing this blog. Although, decade after decade, they invest considerable amount of money into promoting their own brands, they probably don’t consider jewelry makes like Boucheron or sellers of all things luxury like Hermes or Ralph Lauren their competitors and prefer to live in a sort of symbiosis selling them mechanisms (blank or sometimes decorated to their own specs,) casings and all sort of parts the fashions houses need to sell watches under their own names.
It’s difficult to get information on how successful one or another model from a fashion brand is, but, judging by the way they keep introducing new timekeepers every couple of years or so, they probably consider this business model quite successful.
This particular Ermenegildo Zegna by Girard-Perregaux Monterubello Solo Tempo self-winding wristwatch seems to be based on Girard-Perregaux well-known 1966 Collection of dress watches. Besides rather obvious -and quite thorough at that, since the only reference to Girard Perregaux is left only on the oscillating weight of the mechanism that powers it- rebadging, it also features different styling of its dial that is now more classic in its appearance and looks radically different from the aforementioned 1966 family three-handers although all three hands, as well as the calendar wheel with its stylized Arabic numerals seem to be identical to those employed on GP’s own watches.
Well, that’s what differentiates a team of mediocre designers from the one comprising only -as the late Steve Jobs would call them- “A Players”: they get a product, apply carefully thought-over changes in some thoroughly chosen strategic places and, with minimal visible effort, get an absolutely different artifact. That’s what I call ‘true professionalism’.
Although the exterior of this timekeeper can’t really be called ‘revolutionary’ or even ‘original’, I, for the purposes of this review, still feel obliged to admit that this is so far one of the best dress watches that you can get from a true fashion brand.
Also, to be frank, I don’t usually like “rebadged” products. It somewhat hurts my feelings when a Mitsubishi Outlander gets a new front fascia, as well as a couple of different logos here and there and is sold as a Peugeot 4007 or a Citroen C-Crosser. It may have something to do with custom duties and local taxes, but there is something deeply unfair to it.
With this watch, however, my feelings are mixed with a slight bias to the ‘like’ button somewhere deep in my brain. I would certainly prefer if GP didn’t fall to selling its watch under another brand. On the other hand, the timekeeper looks absolutely brilliant and, I must admit, that I like it even more than the model it borrowed its intestines from.
As the rest of the series, the watch is animated by the Girard-Perregaux caliber GP03300-0030 manufacture made self-winding movement that comes equipped with a gold oscillating weight, is built on 27 jewels and offers a rather standard power reserve of 46 hours.
The movement is a variation of their in-house caliber GP03300 and is basically the same, just slightly modified, workhorse movement that we have seen in a great number of timekeepers issued by the Swiss-based based brand since the mechanism was first introduced back in 1994.
Although relatively (and probably deliberately) simple in its design, the mechanism features a number of nice features that, surprisingly, are still not very common among mechanical watches even in this price range. First of all, it features a hacking second hand that resets to “zero” every time you pull the crown to set the watch, which basically means that you can always set it with more precision compared to those -rather irritating- mechanisms where the second hand pointer runs independently of the hour and minute hands. Also, the watchmaker from Switzerland has the flat Nivarox-1 hairspring welded to the Glucydur balance wheel using a laser, which, too, is cool.
Perhaps, the only thing that is not so impressive here is the power reserve of just 46 hours, yet the watch still can be considered practical for those who plan to use it as a daily, um, beater.
Case, Bezel & Strap
Presented in a slim, well-proportionate rose gold or white gold case 38 millimeters in diameter and just 8.50 mm in height, the new Ermenegildo Zegna by Girard-Perregaux Monterubello Solo Tempo uses the same time-tested case as other members of the 1966 Collection sharing both advantages and limitations of the latter.
Falling in the first category is the ultra-thin bezel that allows for a very impressive (at least, for a watch of this size) dial opening and makes the whole watch look visually lighter, as well as very ergonomically designed overall shape of the case that makes the watch a very comfortable thing to wear on almost any wrist.
As for the limitations, there are few, although you may find yourself really loathing the small setting crown if your fingers are not especially delicate and nails are relatively short.
The case-back with the sapphire crystal and a number of standard inscriptions doesn’t look particularly interesting though.
As for the strap, it’s yet another evidence of the fact that Girard-Perregaux never tries to cut a corner when it comes to ‘expendables’: the black alligator leather band with a rose gold pin buckle looks and feels just as great as the rest of the timekeeper.
Dial & Legibility
As I have already noted, the watch features a dial that, while not terribly original and also sharing a number of its visible parts with other GP wristwatches, looks absolutely gorgeous. The main ingredient here, I think, is the way the hand-applied, Breguet-style Arabic numerals are executed with their impressively polished surfaces nicely contrasting the matte-beige texture of the dial itself.
While the matters of finish are purely subjective, you probably won’t deny that the legibility (or, at least, daytime legibility since, due to the lack of Superluminova or any other luminous compound, reading the watch at night is all but impossible) is superb even for a vintage-styled timepiece.
Pricing & Availability
The major Italian fashion house plans to sell the rose gold version of the watch at a price of CHF 12,500 (around $14,000 USD at today’s exchange rate.) The same timekeeper in a white gold case will set you back at an even more impressive CHF 13,500 (almost $15,000 USD.)
The price seems to be more or less on par with (or, maybe, just a tiny bit higher than that of) Girard-Perregaux ‘normal’ member of their dressy 1966 Collection three-hander that is powered by the same mechanism. However, I have gut feeling that, sporting a different brand name on its dial, the watch may lose more of its value after you’ve opened the box, but has a chance to actually start gaining its popularity among collectors somewhere in the future simply because there will be a lot less of them than those with normal dials and finish.
There is still no official info regarding the international availability of the watch, but there is a good chance that, if there is a Zegna boutique in your city, then you will have a good chance to see this watch in person.
Ermenegildo Zegna by Girard-Perregaux Monterubello Solo Tempo (ref. 38525) automatic watch specification
Price: CHF 12,500 (MSRP, Rose gold) / CHF 13,500 (MSRP, White gold)
Movement: Automatic, Girard-Perregaux caliber GP03300-0030, 27 jewels, in-house, Swiss Made
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: Branded 18-carat gold rotor, perlage on the base plate, blued and polished screw heads, Geneve stripes
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: 46 hours
Case material: Rose gold / White gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 38.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: 8.50 mm
Numerals: Arabic, applied
Hour markers: Black
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Natural leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire