Watches: Girard-Perregaux 1966 Enamel Collection

By Thierry Ané on October 13, 2014

If you appreciate the artistic crafts as much as I do, you must be thrilled this month with the new releases from the watch industry. You probably read my recent article about Laurent Ferrier’s Galet Traveller Enamel US Limited EditionFlash News: Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller Enamel US Limited Edition. Chances are you also browsed through my presentations of Vacheron Constantin’s Eloge de la NatureWatches: Vacheron Constantin L'Eloge de la Nature (+live pics) and Richard Mille’s RM 057-01 Tourbillon Phoenix and Dragon Jackie ChanWatches: Richard Mille RM 057-01 Tourbillon Phoenix and Dragon Jackie Chan (+live pics) both featuring live pictures from our trip to Hong Kong for Watches & Wonders 2014.

You will soon discover our coverage and live shots of Cartier’s Pasha Skeleton Dragon models already included in the web site database and today, it is Girard-Perregaux’s turn to delight us with three exquisite 1966 models showcasing the decorative power of enamel!

With its slender lines and timeless elegance, the 1966 case is the perfect frame to create exceptional timepieces blending the very best of Fine Watchmaking with the unique craftsmanship necessary for any Métiers d’Art timepiece. With no less than three new limited editions using two different enamel techniques, Girard-Perregaux wonderfully prove their immense expertise in both fields and offer collectors extremely refined creations to consider.

For these enamel models, the brand opted for a pink gold version of the 1966 case with a classic 40.00 mm diameter mounted on black alligator strap secured by a pin buckle in the same hue of gold as the case. In order to leave the dials uncluttered for the enamellers to express their creativity, these understated models are powered by the time-only GP03300-0060 calibre. The outstanding finish of this self-winding movement with 46 hours of power reserve can be admired through the sapphire crystal that covers the back of the case.

However refined the decorations and finishes adorning the multiple components of this 25.60 mm movement beating at the frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, the eyes of all watch lovers will uncontrollably be drawn to the dial of these timepieces where the master enamellers proved the extent of their dexterity and know-how.

The first creation, named the 1966 Pur-Sang, is a tribute to the legendary Arabian thoroughbreds that have been a recurring painting theme throughout History. Here, the artist-enameller chose the miniature painting technique to painstakingly reproduce the untamed beauty of the thoroughbred’s distinctive head shape. Tiny brushstrokes of coloured enamel are applied to a white enamel base plate to create the motif starting with the most resilient colours and ending with the most delicate. After each colour application, the enamel is fired to fix it and at the end, a thin layer of translucent enamel is applied to provide a shiny finishing touch. Needless to say, the colours will never fade with time and the beauty of the horse will remain for eternity.

As their names imply, 1966 The World and 1966 The Map are a representation of the map of the world, a classic in Haute Horology, particularly on World Timers. To clearly demarcate the various continents, the cloisonné enamel technique has been retained for these beautiful models. Fine gold wires are put into shape to create the outline of Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australia and the tiny cavities thus formed are then filled with various liquid enamels using a brush. Once again, several steps of firing and cooling are necessary to apply all colours and give an extraordinary depth to the motif. Manual polishing with a diamond file is necessary to remove the excess enamel and let the fine gold wires perfectly clean before one last firing called “Dorure” (or gilding) adds shine and reveals the enamel’s full splendour.

Building the gold "cloison" which will mark the edge of the continents

To make these stunning creations even more precious, 12 brilliant-cut diamonds are used on each dial to indicate the hours. The 1966 Pur-Sang, the 1966 The World and the 1966 The Map are not parts of a set: each watch will be sold separately and will be produced in a limited run of just 50 pieces.

For more information please visit the Girard-Perregaux web site.