Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon 99275.52.000.BA6E
The Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon 99275.52.000.BA6E wristwatch pays homage to the similarly named pocket watch created in the 19th century that won an award at the Paris Universal Exposition.
This detailed review of the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon 99275.52.000.BA6E includes live images and specification details.
Many watch companies pay lip service to precision only to focus upon other attributes instead. However, for Girard-Perregaux, precision is an essential part of its DNA and it has been since Constant Girard researched escapements in the 19th century.
Constant was fascinated by the tourbillon, a device patented by Abraham Louis Breguet in 1801. Over the years he was awarded many prizes for the quality and aesthetic appeal of his timepieces. ‘In 1867, he presented a Tourbillon, which eventually went on to win a prize at the Universal Exposition in Paris.’
In 1883, Constant was keen to protect his design of the three gold bridges ‘in the form of arrows, harmoniously arranged in parallel with one another’. However, he was unable to patent the design in his native Switzerland, so ‘he registered his patent application at the United States Patent Office, which authorised it on March 25th, 1884’.
Later, in 1889, a tourbillon with three gold bridges, ‘La Esmeralda’, won an award at the Paris Universal Exposition. The production of this model continued after Constant’s death in 1903. During the quartz crisis of the 1970s, Girard-Perregaux decided to create 20 pocket watches identical to La Esmeralda.
Last year, Girard-Perregaux celebrated its 225th anniversary and unveiled the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon 99275.52.000.BA6E which captured all of the majesty of the original ‘La Esmeralda’.
Beneath the box glass sapphire crystal, ‘dauphine’ style hour and minute hands articulate the time. The golden hands evince a warm and sumptuous mien.
The dial area is dominated by three gold bridges. These bridges consist of a barrel bridge below noon, a gear train bridge spanning the centre of the dial and, lastly, a tourbillon bridge in the southern hemisphere of the dial.
Each bridge is crafted in solid gold with a double-headed arrow design and is realised using deft, time-served hands. ‘The surface of each arrow is mirror-polished, the edges are chamfered by hand and the flanks are drawn’. The arms of the bridges are rounded by hand using a burnisher.
At the centre of each bridge are diamond-polished settings which are retained with two screws. Each of these screws perfectly align with similarly presented screws on the neighbouring bridges. The skill necessary to realise this exactitude is incredible.
The tourbillon bridge holds the tourbillon carriage in position. The carriage is composed of 80 parts and is totally hand-finished, requiring much skill on the part of the watchmaker assembling it. The cage is formed in the maison’s ‘lyre’ style and makes one complete revolution every 60 seconds.
Crafted in 18-carat pink gold, La Esmeralda measures 44mm in diameter and has a case thickness of 14.55mm. Considering the scale of the three large bridges presented dialside, the case dimensions are quite modest.
As previously mentioned, the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon 99275.52.000.BA6E is fitted with a box glass sapphire crystal, allowing light to flood the dial surface and affording sideways glimpses of the dial epidermis. An exhibition case-back grants sight of the self-winding manufacture movement.
The Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon 99275.52.000.BA6E is steadfastly affixed to the wrist courtesy of a black, hand-stitched alligator leather strap, paired with an 18-carat pink gold triple folding clasp.
The self-winding Caliber GP09400 contains 310 parts and takes two months to realise. The movement measures 36.60mm in diameter and is 8.41mm thick, fully occupying the inner area of the case-band.
Measuring a significant 14.3mm in diameter, the tourbillon carriage dominates the lower portion of the dial. The balance wheel has a width of 10.5mm. Interestingly, the rotor sits under the barrel bridge rather than along the periphery of the movement. The barrel harnesses sufficient energy to deliver at least 60 hours of autonomy.
Girard-Perregaux has equipped La Esmeralda with a lyre shaped tourbillon carriage which first appeared on timepieces created by Constant Girard. The dorsal view of the movement reveals circular grained wheels. A central bridge emulates the golden bridge on the front of the dial, while a cock is styled in an arrow-like form.
A large bridge, spanning the movement, is adorned with a series of lines, similar to the customary Côtes de Genève motif, but with wider stripes and subtle lines between each stripe.
The Caliber GP09400 is exquisite and truly worthy of the description, ‘haute horlogerie’
While the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon 99275.52.000.BA6E is inspired by the famous 19th century pocket watch, its styling looks resolved and does not hint at any type of adaptation. Indeed, the Esmeralda Tourbillon is a mightily handsome watch.
A few years ago the brand dazzled the world with the Constant Escapement L.M. and now, with the advent of this 21st century La Esmeralda Tourbillon, the company’s reputation for crafting über-precise timepieces is once again, reinforced. Put simply, precision is at the heart of the Girard-Perregaux paradigm.
Despite clearly focussing on precision, Girard-Perregaux has not turned its back on finissage. The three bridges presented centre stage are beautifully executed and the product of hours of painstaking filing and polishing. Furthermore, the architecture of the movement when viewed via the case-back is delightfully festooned with reminders of the three bridges presented dial-side.
Ultimately Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon 99275.52.000.BA6E is a tasteful reminder of the watchmaking prowess of a brand which was founded in 1791, the name of which has become a byword for precision.
- Model: Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon 99275.52.000.BA6E
- Reference: 99275.52.000.BA6E
- Case: 18-carat pink gold; diameter 44mm; height 14.55mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds on tourbillon
- Movement: Calibre GP09400-0004, Self-winding movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz) power reserve minimum 60 hours.
- Strap: Black alligator leather strap presented with a 18-carat pink gold folding clasp