Although the Eastern European country still struggles to overcome its Soviet-bloc legacy, the free market economy has apparently created just enough wealthy customers for a major Swiss watchmaker to create a highly exclusive (and also quite expensive) Girard-Perregaux WW.TC Lady Shopping “Mondo Exploris” (Ref. 49860D11A778S-BA6A) limited edition wristwatch.
Created together with the Romanian glamour magazine CAESAR, the new Girard-Perregaux WW.TC Lady Shopping “Mondo Exploris” Limited Edition (Ref. 49860D11A778SBA6A) ladies wristwatch is limited to a total run of just four numbered pieces.
Frankly speaking, when I first read the press release regarding this watch, I was utterly surprised, if not to say amazed.
You see, assessing the economic situation in the country only by articles in Western media, I have always had an impression that Romania was one of the poorest countries not only of the European Union itself, but also in the region as well.
I always thought that Romania was still struggling to find its way after collapse of its main ally, the Soviet Union, and the whole Eastern bloc.
However, it is still a great pleasure to see that the country is at least developed enough to have a noticeable class of rich and famous people who can afford going shopping to London, Beverly Hills, Dubai or even obscenely expensive Tokyo.
Dial & Legibility
At least, the new Girard-Perregaux WW.TC Lady Shopping “Mondo Exploris” Limited Edition (Ref. 49860D11A778SBA6A) watch implies just that, since it has the names of respective cities replaced with the names of avenues and squares known for their endless rows of luxury boutiques.
The usual hour markers were, too, replaced with eight diamonds alternating with arabesque-styled Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock.
Of course, the watch wasn’t designed for CAESAR from scratch: it is in fact based on a recently introduced Girard Perregaux WW.TC Lady 24 Hour Shopping (ref.49860D11A762-CK6A) model with the only difference between the two being a slight change on the external ring on the dial with “Tretyakovsky” inscription now printed in smaller font and moved clockwise in order to give place for the “CAESAR” inscription placed over the diamond at 1 o’clock.
As far as legibility and/or readability are concerned, the watch retains the same weak points as the original. First of all, there is no Superluminova neither on the meticulously open-worked hour and minute hands, nor over the hour markers. The second problem of this piece lies in its incredibly overcrowded dial: as decorative as it is with all those tiny stars, the moon crescent and something that looks either a comet or a shooting star, it is also incredibly difficult to read.
The only thing that looks normal here is the 24-hour military-style secondary time zone indicator, which is operated by the secondary crown at 9 hours, but, well, that doesn’t help much.
Case, Bezel & Strap
What’s interesting about this model is that, although being a watch designed primarily for ladies, it is by no means small: whole 41 millimeters in diameter (both onyx-decorated crowns are not included,) it is also 11 millimeters thick looking rather massive for a lady of normal proportions.
The fixed bezel of the watch is set with 54 round diamonds totaling around 1.95 carats and matching quite nicely the precious stones on the dial.
Featuring so many precious stones, the watch will inevitably be quite expensive, so guys at Girard-Perregaux has probably decided to reduce costs (and, probably, increase margins since the watch steal bears a very impressive price tag: see below) and introduced the timepiece not in white gold (something that I would probably expect from this sort of wristwatch,) but in a lot less appealing stainless steel thus greatly reducing its value for money ratio. Well, at least the metal is a lot harder than any gold alloy making it easier to keep in top shape in the long run.
The authentic alligator strap that this watch comes on is equipped with steel deployant buckle and, predictably, leaves a very good impression. I think, a black (or very dark grey) silk strap would look a bit more interesting here, but that’s always easy to fix later with so many high-grade aftermarket straps available these days.
As the other members of the growing WW.TC family (including this gorgeous WW.TC World Wide Time Control JOHN HARRISON (Ref. 49870) model,) the wristwatch is powered by the same Caliber GP033G0 automatic movement. Made in-house, the caliber is based on their Caliber GP3300, but features a power reserve indicator and a worldtimer disk with day/night indication.
Robust and reliable, it is decorated by hand, features diagonal Geneva stripes, as well as polished screw heads and a decorated oscillating weight. With its formidable power reserve of at least 46 hours, it is quite practical, too, although the power reserve is still not enough for the watch to survive a weekend in a chest of drawers.
Pricing & Availability
Regrettably, the Swiss watchmaking brand refuses to name the timekeeper’s price. However, the original Girard Perregaux WW.TC Lady 24 Hour Shopping Ladies Watch (ref.49860D11A762-CK6A) that this particular limited edition is based on currently retails at a recommended street price of approximately $26,000 (that depends on the part of the world you live in) and something tells me that the Romanian version will be more or less close to the original in this regard.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 3/5
Girard-Perregaux WW.TC Lady Shopping “Mondo Exploris” Limited Edition (Ref. 49860D11A778SBA6A) ladies wristwatch specification
Price: Approx. $26,000
Movement: Automatic, caliber GP033G0, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 27
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve, GMT
Power reserve: 46 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Stainless steel, set with 54 round diamonds (approx. 1.95 carats)
Crown material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 41.00 mm
Case height: 11.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: White mother-of-pearl
Hour markers: Eight diamonds
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with stainless steel folding buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire