Girard-Perregaux: Tri-Axial Planetarium25 January 2017
The tourbillon, an ingenious device compensating for the effects of gravity on a mechanical watch, is a speciality of Girard-Perregaux, which developed an innovative and sophisticated version in 2014, the Tri-Axial Tourbillon. As its name implies, this high-speed tourbillon is equipped with a regulator operating on three rotation axes instead of just one. This featherweight 1.24-gram, 140-part movement comprises an inner lyre-shaped carriage performing one rotation per minute. It is fitted inside a structure spinning on a second axis in 30-second cycles. Both are in turn incorporated within a third structure revolving once ever two minutes on yet another axis. The result is a mesmerising choreography entirely dedicated to conquering precision.
Two astronomical complications join the dance. The globe with its 24-hour rotation provides an instant reading of the time around the world. Set to 12 o’clock (noon), the arrow indicator positioned at the base of the 13 mm aluminium sphere serves to show where it is daytime on the dial side, and where it is night-time, on the back. Hand-crafted using the miniature painting technique, its cartography depicts the world as it was in 1791, the year the brand was created. The equally micro-painted lunar disc picks up the 17th century selenography at the time the telescope was invented, beautifully matching the blue shades of the rotating globe and reproducing the moon as we see it. Equipped with a precision mechanism, the astronomical moon-phase indicator requires adjustment only once every 122 years, by means of a dedicated corrector at 2 o’clock.
The 48 mm pink gold case is endowed with all the attributes of Girard-Perregaux Fine Watchmaking: an imposing curved case middle, a bevelled bezel and cambered lugs. Water-resistant to 30 metres, it is topped by a three-part sapphire crystal, with two domes providing space for the rotation of the tri-axial tourbillon and the planetarium globe. The transparent case-back and the side opening in the case ensure a perfect view of this complex mechanism, literally flooding it with light. Equipped with hand-winding Manufacture GP09310-0001 calibre ensuring a 70-hour power reserve, the Planetarium with Tri-Axial tourbillon drives the hours, minutes, moon-phase and day/night functions. These indications are displayed on a guilloché silver-toned dial bearing a motif evoking Earth’s meridians and punctuated by pink gold numerals and hour-markers swept over by dauphine-type hands. This movement visible through the transparent screw-down back is adorned with meticulous hand-crafted finishing and the iconic signature characteristics of the Maison: arrow-shaped bridges, along with the engraved eagle symbol holding the brand insignia. The rear baseplate is sandblasted and black PVD-treated to accentuate the ‘night’ side of the day/night indicator, thus making a striking contrast with the silver-toned guilloché dial. The Planetarium Tri-Axial watch is fitted with a black alligator leather strap with a pink gold folding clasp. (Price €.301.000)