Girard-Perregaux, a reputable watchmaking brand that is based in Switzerland and, back in the 19th century, became the first brand to produce a first batch of mass-produced (!) wristwatches for the German Navy, has just announced a new addition to their Vintage 1945 collection of dressy timekeepers. Compact by today’s standards, yet solid-looking, the new Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL Automatic Chronograph (Ref. 2588352121-BB6C) gracefully blends old school design of the timekeeper’s case and face with a modern self-winding movement that animates it.
As some other members of the large 1945 Collection family, the new dress watch features a boxy, yet elegantly sculpted miniature body that features that familiar to all art deco fans combinations of organically flowing surfaces and silky-smooth textures, soft colors and bold font faces that gently but clearly whispers: “this is the style, man”. As you can see on the photos above and below, the design is easy to recognize, which is certainly a plus if you wish to make a subtle statement with this timekeeper (and, with its price of $33,000 USD, you probably do wish the gadget to make a statement for you.)
Powered by the automatic Girard-Perregaux GP03300 work-horse movement that is equipped with a simple chronograph module riding atop of it, the new watch is less than 13 mm in height, but may still look somewhat bulky despite measuring just 37 millimeters in length and 36 millimeters in width. However, thanks to its slightly curved profile, the timepiece sits quite nicely on a normal wrist although we always recommend to actually go to a nearest GP boutique in your city and try one of these beauties on your own wrist in order to make sure that it indeed fits your particular hand.
While the mechanism is sort of obvious when it comes to decor (it has nothing more impressive than circular Geneva stripes on its rose gold oscillating weight, vertical stripes on plates and bridges, and blued screw-heads,) it is still quite reliable and also very good at keeping time: something that is clearly required from a mechanism inside a dress watch.
As its even smaller siblings, the Vintage 1945 XXL features a pair of push-pieces that operate its chronograph function. Although not terribly ergonomic (anyway, the chronograph here is just for show), they are well proportioned both to the rose gold body and the winding crown, which is placed at 3 o’clock. As far as the winding/setting crown goes, it looks well-proportionate to other control elements and, while clearly being on a shorter side, still seems to be large and long enough to be easily operated by normal fingers.
The face of the watch, too, features every single detail you can expect from the Vintage 1945 series. It is decorated with rose gold, hand-applied Arabic numerals that are perfectly matched with the traditional railway minute track and a pair of dauphine-styled hour and minute hands that are, too, made from rose gold.
The recessed 30-minute chronograph totalizer and the small seconds sub-dials are located at 9 and 3 hours respectively. Just like the central chronograph seconds hand, they are crafted from blued steel (it’s not clear whether the metal is heat-blued or simply painted in a similar color) and look especially contrast on the silvered, sand-blasted surface of the dial. The design is also very ergonomic, since, again, we rarely use mechanical chronographs these days, but quite often count time using the good old second hand. Like it’s often the case with vintage-styled dressy timekeepers, the watch comes sans any luminous compound on its white dial, but I don’t really think that this can be called a ‘usability problem’: while nighttime legibility is sacrificed for elegance, the watch will do its job just fine during the normal office hours and that’s what it seems to have been designed for: to do its job while you are doing yours and then be gently put away in a storage or a winding box till next morning.
See also: Girard-Perregaux DLC Titanium Bi-Axial Tourbillon Limited Edition (Ref. 99810-24-000-BA6A)
Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL Automatic Chronograph (Ref. 2588352121-BB6C) watch specification
Price: $33,500 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber GP03300, in-house, hand-finished, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 47
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 46 hours
Movement decoration: Decorated by hand
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Case material: Rose gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Rectangular
Bezel shape: Rectangular
Case size: 36.95 mm x 36.00 mm
Case height: 12.77 mm
Lug width: No data
Numerals: Arabic, rose gold, applied
Hour markers: Black “railway” minute track
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap on rose gold folding clasp
Case back: Sapphire