Girard-Perregaux With The Free Bridge On The Roads Of WinteRace 202112 March 2021
Cars and watches, what a fantastic combination. Whether it’s Formula 1, classic cars, regularity rallies, these two worlds have always attracted each other, linked by shared and solid values. The strength of this relationship is confirmed by Girard-Perregaux, which in February announced an exclusive partnership with Aston Martin, and last weekend was involved as Platinum Sponsor in the WinteRace, a classic regularity race for classic cars – held from 4 to 6 March on the roads of the Dolomites.
Girard-Perregaux’s agreement with Aston Martin is the natural result of the history of the two companies, founded by far-sighted people with an innate passion: Aston Martin was born in 1913, founded by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, Girard-Perregaux’s roots go back to 1791, when Jean-François Bautte made his first watch at the age of 19.
Both brands also share the same inspiration towards innovation and performance, as Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of the watchmaking brand, recalled, underlining that, “2021 is an important year for both Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin. We celebrate the extraordinary milestone of 230 years of history in the world of watchmaking, while Aston Martin celebrates its return to Formula 1 as a ‘working team’ for the first time in over 60 years. We have a lot to celebrate, so the union of our two worlds to create something special is the perfect way to recognize and pay homage to these milestones.”
The Girard-Perregaux branding will appear on the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team’s cars from the beginning of the 2021 season in Bahrain, while the first watch to be born from the collaboration between the two brands will be revealed this year.
The 2021 edition of WinteRace was marked by anti-Covid restrictions, which however did not affect the show or the sports performance. The Super classic ACISPORT – run entirely in Italy along a 400km route divided into two stages of 200 km each – was raced by 50 cars built before 1976, seven of them built before the Second World War, between 1929 and 1939. These cars were counterbalanced by the modernity of the Vision 2030 electric “Hyper SUV” research prototype, designed and driven by Fabrizio Giugiaro, who was paired with tenor Vittorio Grigolo.
Twenty modern Porsches took part in the fifth Porsche WinteRace, open to a maximum of thirty cars of the Stuttgart brand, selected by the organization and built from 1977 to the present day – with their own ranking and dedicated prizes.
The route started and finished in Cortina d’Ampezzo, and on the first day of competition, Friday 5 March, following the curves and turns between the Livinallongo valley and Alta Badia, crossing the Pordoi, Sella and Gardena passes. From San Vigilio di Marebbe through the Furcia pass and Dobbiaco, the crews finally arrived in Cortina. On Saturday 6, the 50 crews competed between Falcade, San Martino di Castrozza, Fiera di Primiero, Agordo and Alleghe, to finally come back to Cortina via the Giau pass.
At the end of the two days of competition, Gianmario Fontanella and his wife Annamaria Covelli, of the Classic Team ASD, won the Super classic ACISPORT, behind the wheel of their 1939 Lancia Aprilia. For them, it was the third win at WinteRace. Second place went to the Sisti-Gualandi team driving a 1937 Lancia Aprilia, and the third place to the Piona-Battagliola team, racing with a 1935 Fiat 508 S.
The winning team has been awarded a Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph, sporting a special strap made for the race winners.
THE COMPETING CARS
The most historic among the seven pre-war cars was the 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 SS owned by the Gennaro-Giacomello crew; alongside with it, the Lancia Aprilias who won the first and second place, another 1938 Aprilia by Giuliano Canè, the 1935 Fiat 508 S as well on the podium, and a 1937 Fiat 508 C.
Collector Pierluigi Boglioli’s 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC cc 3967, running the WinteRace for the first time, and the 1964 Trabant 601 S cc 600, driven by owner Daniela Pongiluppi paired with Mario Orsolin, did not go unnoticed.
The star of the edition, however, was the 1958 Triumph TR3 cc 2000, driven by Marcello Mastroianni in the movie “La Dolce Vita” and, during the race, by the actual owner Filippo Berselli. Also from the movie world: the 1975 Fiat 130 Coupè cc 3200, driven by Simone Bertolero, organizer of the “Poltu Quatu Classic” Concours d’Elegance that will be held on the Costa Smeralda next July – and partner of WinteRace 2021.
THE GIRARD-PERREGAUX FREE BRIDGE, BEAUTIFUL INSIDE
Girard-Perregaux’s participation in WinteRace is now consolidated and, this year, it has been made even more solid by the recent partnership with Aston Martin. The La-Chaux-de-Fonds brand has always seized the opportunity offered by the competition and the presence of a high-level audience and racers to present its most intriguing novelty, often the top of the range. This year it was the Free Bridge collection.
With the Free Bridge, unveiled in August 2020 during the Geneva Watch Days, the Girard-Perregaux watchmakers revisit the company’s famous bridges, presented for the first time in the 1860s and now reshaped in a contemporary and future way. The watch is in fact equipped with the characteristic arrow-shaped bridge – the Neo Bridge – positioned at the base of the main plate.
The Free Bridge has also a satin-finished and hand-beveled hour bridge, which draws the eye to the barrel and oscillating balance wheel. Thanks to its straight lines, this bridge creates a dynamic contrast with the arched lines of the 44mm steel case.
In addition to the daring and unmistakable aesthetics, Girard-Perregaux’s Free Bridge stands out for the technical solutions used to create the movement. The watch is powered by the in-house self-winding caliber GP01800-1170, an evolution of the robust GP01800 enriched by an escapement and a large variable inertia balance wheel, both in silicon – a lightweight, corrosion-resistant material which is not influenced by temperature variations, and is not sensitive to magnetic fields. These features give the watch to run smoothly and in a constant way, reducing its energy consumption and components thanks to the low friction coefficient of the silicon itself.
… AND BEAUTIFUL OUTSIDE
All this technology would be quite useful if there were not also aesthetics to satisfy. And the Free Bridgecompletely satisfies it. Unlike the traditional sapphire crystal, the watch is equipped with a newly designed sapphire crystal box in a characteristic rounded shape that enhances the opening of the movement, between 6 and 12 o’clock, illuminating the visible components of the inverted caliber.
What does it mean? With this solution, various components that are usually hidden are visible on the dial side, including the balance wheel, the escapement and the spring barrel, placed in the upper part of the dial. The movement is decorated with Côtes de Genève motifs, beveled, sandblasted and with a spiral decoration. The Dauphine-style hands are skeletonized and the suspended indexes emphasize the three-dimensionality and the depth of the dial.
A LAUREATO FOR THE WINNERS
This year, as we have already seen, the Fontanella-Covelli crew driving the Lancia Aprilia won the race. As per tradition, Girard-Perregaux awarded a special Laureato Chronograph to the winners. The Laureato is the symbol of the La-Chaux-de-Fonds manufacture and in its chronograph version represents the quintessence of the brand’s sportiness. The watch awarded to the winners is no exception.
The watch, with its 42mm case, stands out for the chronograph counters in a beautiful light blue color, matching the hands and the light blue indexes ends. The color of the counters is recalled by the leather strap with contrasting orange stitching, made specifically for the WinteRace. The movement is the classic self-winding in-house caliber GP03300 with 46 hours of power reserve.
Classic cars enthusiasts are now waiting for the 2022 WinteRace with the same passion and few but solid certainties: the show, the strong support of Girard-Perregaux, the elegance and the desire to always aim for the top, whatever the circumstances.
By Davide Passoni