Watches: Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Tourbillon (+live pics and video)

By Thierry Ané on April 25, 2014

Although Girard-Perregaux amazed everyone last year with its groundbreaking Constant Escapement model, it is for another form of high precision regulator that the brand is historically famous. Indeed, the quest for chronometric perfection with the use of what has become the symbol of Haute Horology, the tourbillon, has always been in the brand’s genes since the very first pieces developed by Constant Girard in the mid-nineteenth century.

Either in a classic gold version or a resolutely modern titanium interpretation, the "Tourbillon with Three Bridges" will remain the perfect example of the brand's mastery of the subject. Far from resting on these laurels, the brand also contributed to the search for precision with more pioneering approaches in the past, for instance, with the use of bi-axial tourbillons, again in classic and modern forms. This year, the La Chaux-de-Fonds-based manufacture sets the bar even higher with an exceptional timepiece proving that a demonstration of watchmaking mastery can also be a lesson in the search for aesthetic perfection.

One does not need more than a glance at the new Tri-Axial Tourbillon to understand that countless technical challenges have to be surmounted to produce such a captivating spectacle. This amazing watch features a regulator on three separate axes. At the heart beats a traditional one-minute tourbillon. It is integrated within a structure positioned on a second axis completing its revolution in 30 seconds. They are both inserted in another system placed on a third axis that rotates in 2 minutes. Altogether this ensemble features a total of 140 components for a total weight of just 1.24 grams. They are of course hand-finished according to the most exacting standards of Haute Horology. A sensational mechanical ballet to defy the Earth’s gravity and mesmerize the owner as a byproduct!

The tri-axial tourbillon construction

The beautiful 48 mm pink gold case has a large bevelled bezel in line with the design codes of the brand and presents a sapphire aperture on the case band to let you admire the magic of this tri-axial dance. The view of the tourbillon, however, is nowhere as spectacular as it is from the dial side where a domed lens has been placed onto the sapphire crystal to provide the extra space required by this jaw-dropping tourbillon placed at 9 o’clock. But since no words can properly describe this magical show, here is a little video of the watch we made during Baselworld:

Apart from the large aperture of the regulating system, on an anthracite grey base with circular stripes, this multi-layer dial presents a silver sub-dial with a “Clou de Paris” decoration at 1 o’clock to indicate the time of the day. Circled in pink gold, it features pink gold hollowed Dauphine hands and matching appliqués. It is surrounded by a black flange that brings a lot of contrasts and serves as a minute track. To balance the elements of the upper dial, a power reserve indicator describes an arc from 6 o’clock to the middle of the dial and the pink gold “GP” initials stand proudly at 11 o’clock.

The show is not over though, as the GP09300 calibre hides some more surprises on its back. Through the sapphire case back, one can admire the symbol of the manufacture, an eagle with the GP initials, engraved on the movement plate as well as a small arrow-shaped pink gold plate bearing the individual number of the watch. This motif is picked up on the two emblematic gold bridges visible on the back of the movement. True connoisseurs will not fail to notice the perfectly bevelled and mirror-polished edges and the beautiful contrast with the satin-brushed or circular finished surfaces.

Limited to just 10 pieces, the Tri-Axial Tourbillon is an absolutely sensational model at the very high-end of what watchmaking can offer. If one may be dumbstruck by the technical prowess that this model represents, it is definitely not a surprise that such achievement comes from Girard-Perregaux, a brand that avoid the publicity coups and focus on what is essential, namely the quality of their watches.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: