It’s not just Laureato. Girard Pergot’s “Hidden Masterpiece”, “Vintage 1945 Japan Limited Edition” | Luxury watch magazine Kronos Japan edition[webChronos]

Based on the Girard-Perregaux rectangular watch of the 1940s, the Vintage 1945 was born. The charm of the collection, which gives a glimpse of the company’s history, will be unraveled with the rare model “Vintage 1945 Gray Japan Limited Edition”, which is limited to 200 pieces in Japan.

Vintage 1945 Grey Japan Limited Edition

Girard-Perregaux “Vintage 1945 Gray Japan Limited Edition”
A limited edition model with 200 pieces available only in Japan. Inspired by the British proverb “Every cloud has a silver lining,” this one has a gray index with blue hands. Automatic (Cal.GP03300). 28,800 vibrations per hour. Power reserve about 46 hours. SS case (length 33.3× width 32.46mm, thickness 9.66mm). Water resistant to 30m. Limited edition of 200 Japan. 1,727,000 yen (tax included).

Masanori Yoshie: Photographs by Masanori Yoshie
Tsubasa Nojima: Text by Tsubasa Nojima
Article published on June 15, 2023

The birth of the Vintage 1945 collection

Girard Pergot began with a watchmaker Jean=François Botte founded in Geneva in 1791. As a manufacture that can produce watches in-house, it is still one of the brands that many watch lovers admire. Today, it has five major collections, each with a story that symbolizes the rich history of the company.

Perhaps the most recognizable collection is the Laureato, which attracted even more attention with the popularity of luxury sports watches. Based on the design of the first model born in 1975, the Laureato, which has evolved with many updates, has been well received for its excellent exterior and practicality, and has grown into a representative collection of the company.

However, it is undeniable that there are collections that have been overshadowed by their popularity. This time, we will focus on Girard Pergot’s “hidden masterpiece”, “Vintage 1945”.

Rectangular Watches

The vintage 1945 was based on a rectangular watch from the 1940s. It is a model that incorporates elements that were popular in the United States at the time. Former CEO Luigi Macaluso transformed the half-century-old design into an icon of Girard-Perregaux.

Vintage 1945 was born in ’95. It was designed by Luigi Macaluso, who became CEO of the company in ’92. A brilliant executive and a product manager, he had produced a number of watches inspired by the company’s archival pieces even before he became CEO.

The Vintage 1945 also had a base model. It is a rectangular watch released by the company in the 40s. Girard-Pergot established an assembly plant in the United States in the early 30s and has since expanded into the country’s market in earnest. At the time, the mainstream was gold-plated rectangular watches in the Art Deco style. The company followed the trend, and one of them would eventually be revived after 50 years.

The first model in ’95 was equipped with the 7001 calibre, a thin manual movement made by Pouzot, but the following year it adopted its own GP3000 calibre automatic movement. Since then, the lineage of the vintage 1945 and the GP3000/GP3100 caliber has matured with each other and become a standard as one of the masterpieces that experts like.

The beauty of the Japan limited edition model wearing curves

The Vintage 1945 was available in many variants, from simple models with small seconds to models with complications and additive mechanisms such as tourbillons, chronographs and moon phase displays.

This is due to the company’s outstanding development capabilities as a manufacture, but this time we would like to focus on the latest model with small seconds that retains the original design. It is also a rare item limited to 200 pieces Japan, “Vintage 1945 Gray Japan Limited Edition”.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Vintage 1945 is the heavily curved case line. The ergonomic case along the wrist not only contributes to improved wearing comfort, but also serves as an icon that characterizes the collection.

The original 1945 model had a curved case, but a flat caseback. Macaruso’s skill shines through in evolving into a modern, easy-to-use product while making the most of the original characteristics.

This can be clearly seen from the case side. One lug to the other is arched, and even the bezel and sapphire crystal are curved.

Vintage 1945 Grey Japan Limited Edition

One of the features of the Vintage 1945 is the heavily curved case, from the caseback to the windshield. This improves wearing comfort. In the original model of the 1940s, the windshield protruded from the bezel, but this work has been changed to a unified design with a beautiful arc from the windshield to the bezel and strap.

What is surprising is that even the dial is curved. The case thickness of this work is 9.66mm. In order to make the case so thin while being so thoroughly curved, it is necessary to pay attention to the total packaging, including the movement. It was possible to achieve this because of the knowledge unique to a long-established brand that has developed many watches.

I would also like to pay attention to the Art Deco design. The rectangular case and bezel seen from the front are composed of geometric forms. What is particularly reminiscent of the original model is the raised detail given at the base of the lug. This emphasizes the linear case line and clearly differentiates it from other rectangular watches.

Vintage 1945 Grey Japan Limited Edition

The hour and minute hands are slightly bent along the curve of the dial. This closes the distance between the hands and the dial, improving legibility. The combination of the silver dial and blue hands provides high contrast and excellent visibility.

The theme of the film is the British proverb “Every cloud has a silver lining.” The dial best embodies this. The smooth Roman index is a gray color that represents clouds. The blue hands represent the blue sky peeking through the gaps. At first glance, it looks like an orthodox design, but the message contained in it is sure to secretly inspire the owner.

The dial itself is also given elaborate detail. The minute marker is placed closer to the center of the dial, and the inside is decorated with guillochés. The outside has a slightly rough texture and is crisp.

Vintage 1945 Grey Japan Limited Edition

Small seconds with delicate guilloché decoration. In contrast to the curved dial, it is arranged horizontally, so there is a height difference at the edge between the center and the outer end. It is one of the details that brings a three-dimensional effect to this work.

The small seconds at 9 o’clock are decorated with guillochés, as is the centre of the dial. The delicate finish is captivating, but I would also like to pay attention to the outer circumference of the circle. The dial is curved as mentioned above, but the small seconds are designed horizontally. Therefore, the edges are thicker near the center and thinner near the outer edge. The shadows created by this emphasize the three-dimensional effect of the dial.

A similar effect is produced by date windows. Since the edges are processed at an angle, it is easier to feel the height difference here. The date window of this work is located at half past one, which is not often seen on other clocks. The date display is popular at 3 or 6 o’clock, but in that case it is often indexed. As a result of this dislike, it is not uncommon to have it placed at half past four, but why did this work choose the half-past one?

Vintage 1945 Grey Japan Limited Edition

Date window at half past one. The curved dial inevitably causes the calendar disc to recess, but in this work, the chamfer is given around the window to allow light to reach firmly. Like small seconds, the difference in edge thickness allows you to feel a three-dimensional effect.

This is just my imagination, but when you wear a watch on your left wrist and check the date, it is easier to read at half past one rather naturally than at half past four. Some argue that the date display on a dressy watch is a bit of a stretch, but this work, which gives the dial a three-dimensional look and enhances practicality without impairing the balance of the indexes, is a rather welcome point.

Accentuated by the relatively low-contrast coloring of the silver dial and gray indexes are the blue hands. The Dauphin-shaped hour and minute hands are firm in thickness, but the tip is bent to match the dial, improving legibility and legibility. The small seconds hand is leaf-shaped with a slightly inflated mid-belly, and together with the round counterweight, it has a small but solid presence.

Vintage 1945 Grey Japan Limited Edition

With the minute marker as a border, the inside is decorated with guilloché. The logo of the print is firmly thickened, and you can enjoy a rich expression. The letters “1791” tell the story of the company’s long history.

From the see-through case back, you can admire the GP03300 calibre, a thin automatic movement made in-house. Côte de Genève and chamfer on the receptionThe Perlage decoration of the baseplate pleases the viewer’s eye. The thickness of the movement is only 3.2 mm. This thinness is the key to achieving the large, curved case of this work.

Vintage 1945 Grey Japan Limited Edition

From the caseback, you can admire the GP03300 calibre, a low-profile automatic movement made in-house that is famous as a maturation machine. Although the case has a unique shape, it is waterproof by fixing the four corners with screws. By embedding a thin crown in the middle of the case side, a straight case line is maintained.

The alligator strap that fits tightly into the case also gives a sense of unity to the characteristic case line. It uses the same grey as the Index, and the soft atmosphere it creates gives the dressy vintage 1945 just the right amount of casualness.

With a background in the history of the prestigious Girard-Perregaux, the vintage 1945 has been steadily evolving since its inception in 1995 while preserving its iconic design. In addition to its deliciousness, this work, which has a special feeling as a rare limited edition model and the message hidden therein encourages the owner, is a suitable one for those who respect tradition and always take on challenges.

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