Girard-Perregaux Traveller WW.TC Ref 49700-11-131-BB6C
Angus Davies discusses the skill required in designing a watch equipped with many complications without appearing cluttered or difficult to interpret. The Girard-Perregaux Traveller WW.TC Ref 49700-11-131-BB6C is a watch feating several functions yet still remains simple to read.
This detailed review of the Girard-Perregaux Traveller WW.TC Ref 49700-11-131-BB6C includes live pictures, specification details and pricing.
When creating a timepiece with several complications, the designer must walk a precarious tightrope. While the dial will display numerous functions, it must not appear cluttered or difficult to interpret. One slip and the resultant watch can overwhelm the eyes with a busy concoction.
Recently, I visited William & Son in Mayfair’s prestigious Mount Street and saw a watch which perfectly illustrated the prowess of a skilful design team which has successfully traversed the aforementioned tightrope.
The Girard-Perregaux Traveller WW.TC features a chronograph partnered with a world time complication. The world time was conceived by Swiss watchmaker, Louis Cottier back in the 1930s and has featured on various brand’s timepieces ever since. Indeed, this complication has become a particular staple of the Girard-Perregaux range for many years.
The Traveller WW.TC is available in a selection of different dial colours and case options. However, my personal favourite is the Ref 49700-11-131-BB6C with its crisp white dial and steel case. This version, launched in the latter half of 2012, appears to offer the greatest degree of dial contrast and, by default, proves the simplest to read.
The dial features 24 time zones around its perimeter, allowing the wearer to see the prevailing hour simultaneously in each locale. A 24-hour display, positioned inside the city ring, depicts the nocturnal hours on a black background and daylight hours on a white background.
The hour and minutes are imparted with silver coloured hands, lined with luminescent fill. A red central chronograph seconds hand shares the same axis and stands out against the white and black neighbouring details.
The date aperture features between 1 and 2 o’clock and is accentuated with a gleaming silver border. Circular hour markers, again lined with luminescent fill, enhance ease of read off.
At first glance the dial appears to be a bi-compax layout, with two bold black subdials dominating the central area of the dial. However, closer inspection reveals the timepiece is actually a tri-compax design with a discreet 12-hour chronograph register residing at 6 o’clock.
The subdial at 9 o’clock is a 30-minute chronograph register, whereas the subdial positioned at 3 o’clock displays small seconds.
The central area of the dial is adorned with lines of latitude and longitude reinforcing the sense that this is a watch for the intrepid traveller.
Even though the dial features much detail and many functions, it does not appear crowded or confusing to read.
The steel case is predominantly satin-brushed, save for the bezel, and appears almost deferential to the dial. It measures 44mm in diameter.
The case band is fascinating. It features various curves and angles which implore the hands and eyes to explore its form. It nearly engulfs the upper surface of the crown, however, turning the watch over reveals recessed areas on the underside that accord greater exposure of the push pieces. Although the case design is complex, its curvaceous profile makes the watch appear thinner than the 13.65mm case height suggests.
Six screws affix the case back and a large sapphire crystal reveals much of the self-winding movement within.
Girard-Perregaux is well known as a Manufacture, crafting its own movements to a high standard. The automatic GP03300-0084 proves to be no exception.
The centrally mounted bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif and their bevelled edges shine brilliantly. Surrounding the bridges is a sea of petit perlage, beautifully revealed for the delectation of the wearer. Blued screws also convey a sense of craftsmanship and worth.
The rotor features an unusual arrow-shaped oscillating mass delivering a distinct character to the movement.
I always enjoy watches which reveal some of the thought processes taking place. This movement indulges my horological predilection, displaying much of the balance at work, industriously oscillating to and fro.
I have worn many watches equipped with various complications and, at times, felt some of them to be a tad fussy with excessive dial detail.
In my opinion, a dial must first of all prove easy on the eye and facilitate quick interpretation of time. Thereafter, it must be attractive, carefully blending functionality and form to pleasing effect. The Girard-Perregaux Traveller WW.TC Ref 49700-11-131-BB6C expertly fulfils this brief. It conveys information eloquently by adeptly using a combination of colour, layout and texture.
When it comes to the layout of a complicated watch, the designers of this model at Girard-Perregaux have evidently shown they are masterful at walking along the design tightrope without the merest hint of a wobble.
- Model: Girard-Perregaux Traveller WW.TC Ref 49700-11-131-BB6C
- Reference: 49700-11-131-BB6C
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44.00 mm; height 13.65mm water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; world time; day / night indication; chronograph
- Movement: Girard-Perregaux Movement, GP03300-0084, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 63 jewels; power reserve 46 hours minimum.
- Strap: Black alligator leather strap supplied on a steel deployant.
- Price: £11,950 (RRP as at 3.11.2014)