Shining the blue light – Meet the new Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure
Editor’s note: This is a Mind, Body & Soul review of the new Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure watch. In addition to our standard long form reviews, we sometimes preview watches in the form of short descriptions, technical specifications and a creative infographic. These short form reviews, or Mind (stats), Body (design features) & Soul (what’s special) reviews as we like to call them, are meant for those who are in a rush and wish to get their watch fix fast. For our standard reviews, please head to our review section here
What is it: The new Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure
Why: Because GP can produce mechanical and technological marvels that showcase the Three Gold Bridges concept, here employed on La Esmeralda, the world-famous pocket watch of 1889
When released: August for 274’000 CHF
Where: Via selected authorised Girard-Perregaux retailers/special order – exclusive 8 pieces only run
Who is it for: For the man who has everything but seeks light
How does it do: It delivers a 360° view of the movement. It is the epitome of wrist sculpture, an icon of the exclusive world of haute horlogerie. Best part, the execution of the tourbillon, framed by a scintillating azure blue case that is sculpted from a single sapphire disc.
Missing: Not much really; a slightly smaller case size — it’s a mammoth 46×15.25mm case — would be more standard wrist size friendly.
The new Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure — like the recently released GP Quasar Light — features a unique sapphire case (reference: 99295-43-002-UA2A) that frames the brand’s iconic ‘Three Golden Bridges’ — in Grade 5 titanium that are set against the NAC treated mainplate — in a familiar twist with a beast of a tourbillon movement.
The movement, calibre GP09400-1035 used is a self-winding mechanical movement and comprises of 260 components and 27 jewels, and beats at the low frequency of 3Hz (21’600 A/h) allowing for a good (minimum) 60-hour power reserve. The 36mm diameter and 9.54mm thick movement houses the impressive tourbillon cage that is composed of 80 components weighing only 0.250 grams.
The movement is encased inside a 46mm diameter and 15.25mm thick blue sapphire case. The dial shows the functions of hours, minutes, and small seconds tourbillon on a transparent dial. Girard-Perregaux’s Quasar Azure uses ‘Dauphine’ type white gold hands that have been skeletonized to further add to this look. In-fact, if they weren’t filled with luminescent material, it would be impossible to tell time on this piece. The case-back is what Girard-Perregaux calls sapphire crystal ‘box’, and is essentially a window to see the beauty of the movement.
Girard-Perregaux’s signature arrow shaped ‘Three Golden Bridges’ have been re-designed here in the form of Aerial Neo-bridges. The fascinating part is that these Aerial Neo-bridges of the movement are now finished in sapphire —unlike 2019’s matte black titanium — revealing the smallest details of the mechanism. In light, these amount to sheer poetry.
The look of the new Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure is completed by an anthracite fabric strap with a metallic effect and anthracite hand-stitching. It comes on a triple folding, titanium DLC buckle, and GP will also provide the select eight connoisseurs who get this watch with an additional blue alligator strap.
The tourbillon and the blue sapphire case are the stars here.
The former is housed inside a lyre-shaped tourbillon cage that is powered by a unidirectional automatic winding system. This winding system features a micro-rotor made of white gold. And this micro-rotor is intentionally positioned behind the barrel thereby allowing for a purer, unrestricted view of the skeletonised movement.
The latter presents a handblown floating glass sphere that houses the above tourbillon and the rest of the watch. Made entirely in blue sapphire, the azure blue case is impressively sculpted from a single sapphire disc and is formed, coloured, milled and polished by Girard-Perregaux artisans through a protracted process, that takes over 200 hours.
What I conclude for now — and I am open to suggestions here — is that the new Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure is an art price, and is meant to be treated as such. The only conflict I find is that ironically for a watch that the brand in its press release calls “Seduced by the Light”, it may only see actual wear and light very rarely. In my experience these are essentially safe queens, being taken out on rare occasions. Nothing wrong with that, I mean if I ever even dreamt of owing a 274’000 CHF watch, I wouldn’t take it out of a safe either.
A shiny, transparent watch may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for lovers of haute horlogerie, it’s practicality a gift that will keep on giving way after some connoisseur has acquired it.
For more information on the new Girard-Perregaux Quasar Azure and other GP watches, please head to their website here. All images unless stated otherwise are Courtesy ©Girard Perregaux 2020. ©SOWIND SA 2016. All rights reserved.