Presented both in understated white gold (refs. 49525D53A1B1-BK6A & 49525D53A1B1-53A) and flashy rose gold (refs. 49525D52A1B1-BK6A & 49525D52A1B1-52A) versions, the 2012 Girard-Perregaux 1966 Jewellery collection brings you a nice mix of an ultra-slim body, an in-house self-winding movement, as well as almost eight hundred diamonds adorning its dial and the bezel.
I can’t tell for sure which brand exactly Girard-Perregaux design team has in its crosshairs at the moment of yours truly writing this brief review, but I have a gut feeling that it is Patek Philippe whose comprehensive line of ladies’ watches currently lacks a similarly designed timekeeper that’s going to be on the receiving end of GP’s wrath.
With this new collection, Girard-Perregaux offers you a carefully assembled combination that a modern woman -a person who has earned her degree from a prestigious university and holds a position of importance in a multinational corporation- simply can’t get from PP: a moderately priced, high-jewelry item that features a classic circular-shaped design and is powered by a practical (and also simple) self-winding mechanism that drives nothing more than an hour and minute hands.
Yes, Patek Philippe has an absolutely gorgeous Ladies’ Calatrava line, but, lacking a true “high-jewelry” edition at this time, it can’t be as equally good both with formal attire and cocktail dress.
Case & Strap
Unlike many timekeepers in this niche, the Ref. 49525 is delivered in a deliberately oversized case whole 38 millimeters in diameter. However, being just over 8.60 millimeters thick, the 1966 Jewellery doesn’t look massive at all. On the contrary, even on a petite wrist this ultra-thin timepiece that will look organic and refined.
The effect of visual lightness, if you don’t mind the expression is further enhanced by its hair-thin bezel, which is decorated with 72 perfectly cut diamonds that together weigh around 0.85 carats and perfectly match the 713 precious stones of smaller size that adorn the timekeeper’s exquisite dial.
Thanks to its relatively wide alligator-skin strap (it is available in different colors with white or rose gold ardillon buckle set with 22 tiny diamonds) the polished lugs look long, but in fact they don’t protrude more than a millimeter or two over the outer diameter of the circular-shaped case and won’t be a problem even if your wrist is narrow indeed.
Even the setting/winding crown -the part that is often overlooked when designing yet another ladies’ watch- is usable here: while not terribly long, it is still large enough to be comfortably operated with its fine notches doing a good job in providing enough traction for your fingers. Perhaps, it may not be as comfortable if you prefer to wear long nails, but that’s hard for me to say for obvious reasons.
As I have already mentioned, the dial of this piece is paved with more than seven hundreds of clear cut diamonds. While the stones may not be the best background for a watch when it comes to readability issues, these ones do their job good both when it comes to versions with rose gold hands (ref. 49525D52A1B1-BK6A) and the variation in white gold (ref. 49525D53A1B1-BK6A,) although the latter is not that impressive in this department.
The reason for that is, perhaps, the difference in finish: the multitude of tiny diamonds creates a grainy texture that accents the fine-polished leaf-shaped hands nicely. Yes, the hands lack any sort of a luminous compound thus impairing the gadget’s nighttime legibility, but, as always, I don’t see a problem here although I should still take this into account while contemplating buying one of these glamorous beauties.
I personally would find the lack of a seconds hand sort of unnerving, but that’s probably just my anxiety speaking: after all, you can always take it to your ear to check if it’s working or has suddenly decided to give up on you at the worst moment possible. But that, of course, is high since the watch is equipped by one of the best “mass-produced” mechanisms currently available on the market.
Yes, according to official specs, the Ref. 49525 is powered by a new GP 3300-0066 self-winding caliber. As the name implies, the mechanism is based on their well-known GP 3300 “tractor” movement but has its calendar wheel and the seconds hand removed to create an ideal dressy timekeeper.
Although judging by the official jewel count, the movement hasn’t become any simpler than the original version, it is still one of the most reliable and accurate mechanisms that you can get in this niche.
As always, the mechanism is superbly decorated featuring the customary circular Cotes de Geneve motif, on the bridge, circular graining on the base plate, as well as circular Cotes de Geneve on the 18-karat rose gold oscillating weight. The blued screw heads (I can’t tell whether they were heat-blued or just powder-coated to get the look) finish the picture in the nicest way possible.
While I think that replacing the 18-karat rose gold oscillating weight for one in white gold for the version in the white gold case would probably be a nice touch, I don’t have any serious questions for the movement: it is robust, reliable and precise. What more would you ask from the poor guy?
Pricing & Availability
At the time of writing this review I didn’t have any information regarding the timepiece’s price, but, guessing by the choice of materials, the size and the quality of the movement I would expect the version on a leather strap to retail for some $60,000-$65,000* USD with the versions on bracelets obviously being a lot more expensive.
* UPDATE ON PRICE: It’s a pleasure to note that the watch is not that eye-popping expensive as I have expected. According to the info that was just released by the Swiss-based brand, this particular version on the black leather strap will cost ahem just $51,000 USD. However, MSRP for its siblings that feature rose gold and white gold bracelets respectively is set at a lot more intimidating $76,000 and $71,000 respectively.
Whether it is too expensive, or just okay, is only for you to decide.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 3.5/5
Girard-Perregaux 1966 Jewellery specification
Price: $51,000 USD (MSRP, versions on leather strap) / $76,000 and $71,000 (versions in rose and white gold on respective bracelets)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber GP3300-0066, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 26
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: Cotes de Geneve on the bridge, circular graining, circular Cotes de Geneve on the 18-karat rose gold oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power reserve: 46 hours
Case: White gold / Rose gold
Bezel: Set with 72 diamonds (approx. 0.85 carats)
Size: 38.00 mm
Dial: Set with 713 diamonds (approx. 2.97 carats)
Hour markers: White gold / Rose gold
Hands: Leaf-shaped, match case
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Alligator-skin strap available in different colors with white or rose gold ardillon buckle set with 22 diamonds
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Sapphire, antireflective