Back in February, Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin announced that they would be working together and now we have the first result of that partnership, the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition, ref. 99296-21-001-BA6A.
This new model is a celebration of Girard-Perregaux’s Three Bridges pocket watch from way back in the 19th century. The watch has obviously been heavily modernised from everything down to the strap.
CEO of Girard-Perregaux, Patrick Pruniaux, said in a statement regarding the partnership,
“We are delighted to partner with Aston Martin, entrusting their team with arguably our most iconic timepiece, delivering a fresh perspective on Haute Horlogerie… Rarely do we work with others to reinterpret the Three Bridges, however, on this occasion, we have made an exception, mindful of Aston Martin’s prowess for design.”
I think they were right to trust Aston Martin because this watch is stunning. It’s a big watch, the case measures 44mm in diameter, 15.52mm in height and is made from grade 5 titanium with black DLC coating. The use of titanium means that the watch, while bulky, is actually quite light.
The best thing about this watch is the dial. In between two panes of sapphire crystal you see the movement suspended there like it’s floating in space. The bridges across the dial give the watch an aerial feel. These bridges are taken from Girard-Perregaux’s 19th century pocket watch that this piece is inspired by.
Each bridge is holding a different piece. At the top, under the first bridge, is the barrel, next is the gear train in the centre, and at the bottom you see the beautiful one-minute tourbillon. The tourbillon itself is extremely delicate in design, almost elven or something, especially with the elegant blue hand over the cage that indicates the small seconds. Its delicacy is translated to its weight, with all 79 components only weighing 0.25 grams.
They’ve used their in-house calibre GP09400-1683 self-winding movement with a 60-hour power reserve. This is also the only spot where you can see the Aston Martin logo, right in there engraved on the vertical flank of the micro-rotor. It does glow in the dark with white Super-LumiNova so you will see it at night but if you wanted the Aston Martin branding all over the watch you will be disappointed.
I like that the Aston Martin association is so subtle that you could miss it. It’s also an effective use of the transparent case concept, giving you a little reward if you examine the watch’s inner workings.
The sapphire case watch has been a unique and interesting concept that has seen a lot of experimentation from brands like Hublot whose aim seems to be to push the concept as far as it can go. What Girard-Perregaux have done here is far more interesting though. Instead of just making their watch transparent for the sake of it, they made everything inside the sapphire an essential piece of the overall design that adds to the watch and concept.
The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition has been limited to just 18 pieces for $146,000 USD.