A watch with a slot machine? That, and another that keeps track of four major stock markets, were the highlights of the Girard-Perregaux 2007 collection, unveiled recently in Geneva.
THIS year, Girard-Perregaux created a stir when they introduced a very interesting watch – the Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon. This combines a Tourbillon and a slot machine, complete with a striking mechanism in perfect proportion with the Vintage 1945 case.
This watch was extremely popular at the recent Salon International Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) held in Geneva, and journalists clamoured to pull the lever to try to hit the jackpot!
Yes, you can really make the reels spin on this watch. It works by pulling a handle at the side of the case which is connected to a rack. By doing this, the rack slides up, and when it reaches its highest point, it starts the reels spinning and slowly slides back down. Stoppers then come into action to halt the reels one by one and this synchronically activates the striking mechanism. Out of the 125 combinations, only one represents the jackpot: three bells in a row.
Although this watch is a lot of fun to play with, only a select few will be able to afford it – it costs a whopping RM2.1mil.
According to Stefano Macaluso, vice president of Girard-Perregaux, the brand just wanted to create something different for a change.
“Girard-Perregaux is a very classic brand, so something very different for us would be to create something fun,’’ says the 32-year-old.
When it comes to brand direction, Macaluso says they are starting on a new advertising campaign (already running now) which is fashioned around the concept of “waiting”.
“The watchmaking field is very competitive, you see very aggressive campaigns. It’s important for us to be more personal.
“Our concept is a simple one. (There is) A classic luxury environment ... we decided to introduce many elements and items of quality which you need time and skill to develop. People need to be connoisseurs in order to recognise (valuable) items. For example, the red grape turning into Bordeaux wine, or the time it takes for a piece of coal to turn into a diamond. Time matters and this is the same for the GP watch – it takes time to make one.’’
And, according to him, that is why Girard-Perregaux prides itself on making watches only for the select few.
Of course it wasn’t all fun and games with the collection: Another watch that generated interest and required some explanation as to how it works was the ww.tc-Financial – the world’s first chronograph to indicate the different times around the world and when four major stock markets (New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo) open for business.
“It looks complicated, but it’s actually very simple,” assures Macaluso. “This watch is targeted for people working at the stock exchange.”
It works courtesy of two mobile disks around the dial. A 24-hour ring is synchronised with the hour hand. A second disc can be adjusted with the crown at 9 o’clock and it displays the name of 24 cities and the periods when the four bourses are open for business.
Another timepiece worth a mention is from the BMW Oracle Racing collection. The Laureato Regatta Tourbillon chronograph with countdown mechanism was designed specifically for yachting competitions. One hand is dedicated to the countdown of the ten minutes preceding the start of the race, enabling the remaining time to be read with precision in the zone situated between 9 and 12 o’clock. Then the counter at 1 o’clock takes over the calculation of the duration of the race. A single pusher is used to operate the various functions.
Other watches in this collection include the Laureato USA 98 (this series uses a whole range of materials such as titanium and vulcanised rubber) and there’s also the first feminine adaptation, the Laureato USA 98 Lady, which is set with diamonds. For a more classic style, there is the 1966 Full Calendar with a round case that houses a full calendar, enabling the display of the date, day of the week, month and phases of the moon.
Girard-Perregaux is a partner of the Monte-Carlo Historic Rally, the legendary car road race that takes place in Monaco biennially. The brand has dedicated a limited series watch collection to this event and the models for this year are the Richeville Chronograph “Monte-Carlo 1954” and the Fly-back Chronograph “Monte-Carlo 1970”.