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Girard-Perregaux - Antonio Calce at Les Ambassadeurs

Girard-Perregaux Antonio Calce at Les Ambassadeurs

GP’s CEO has chosen Zurich and Les Ambassadeurs for the world premiere of the latest addition to the Laureato collection. He also takes stock of the company’s position.

Antonio Calce and his team were welcomed with open arms at Les Ambassadeurs in Zurich by CEO Joachim Ziegler, where they talked about the Laureato collection displayed in the Connoisseurs section of the famous Bahnhofstrasse boutique. It’s the only place in Zurich where the Laureato collection can currently be admired, although Girard-Perregaux is also stocked by Bucherer, a little further along the street. Joachim Ziegler revealed an interesting historical snippet: the typically 1970s building that houses his two-storey shop was finished in the same year that the Laureato collection was launched. With the introduction of the Laureato and its high-frequency quartz calibre 250, Girard-Perregaux set a new standard for quartz watches at the time. Less than three years after he took the brand, Antonio Calce relaunched the collection at the 2017 SIHH.

He chose to honour the brand’s more than twenty years’ collaboration with Les Ambassadeurs by choosing it as the venue for the world premiere of the latest major launch, kept under wraps during the SIHH, which you can read about on WorldTempus on 5 May. The latest light and sophisticated Laureato joins the 34 references in the contemporary line, which represents a successful new price segment for Girard-Perregaux. The Laureato was in fact designed by an architect from Milan, who was inspired by the shape of a Florentine chapel, and not by Gérald Genta as many people assume. The modern collection is available in four materials, four case sizes and with four manufacture movements, symbolising the fifth element of the product strategy put in place by Antonio Calce.


Antonio Calce chez Les Ambassadeurs

Five collections and three bridges for Girard-Perregaux

While the Laureato considerably fills out Girard-Perregaux’ current portfolio, the offer is complemented by the Cat’s Eye women’s collection, the 1966, Bridges, and the haute horlogerie constant force escapement watch. Antonio Calce is keen to clarify the company’s scope, and to invest further in a price segment where the company was notably absent in the past (between CHF 5,000 and 10,000). This desire to democratise its collections also extends to the iconic three bridges, and the Bridge collection, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. The signature three bridges model, available in three sizes, will naturally remain in its classic iteration with precious metals, including the top-of-the-range Esmeralda which was rewarded by the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2016. It is now available in titanium, which is both more contemporary and more accessible, as we saw at the SIHH 2017 in the form of the Neo Bridges This new approach, which steers clear of grand complications, looks set to enjoy increasing popularity. The collection is currently driven by a choice of twelve different calibres, and high-quality finishes remain an essential feature of the range, as Antonio Calce is keen to point out.

At the top of the horological pyramid, the anniversary piece in the Bridges collection unveiled last winter incorporates over a century of Girard-Perregaux’ artisanal craftsmanship, a vital aspect of the more recent and more affordable Planetarium Tri-Axial, whose minuscule planetary sphere alone requires 40 hours of hand-painting. Given the results published at the end of March by the Kering group (to which Girard-Perregaux belongs), recording 13% growth in its watchmaking division during the first quarter of 2017, the new strategy seems to have met with considerable success beyond the borders of Switzerland.

Antonio Calce chez Les Ambassadeurs

The brand

Ever since 1791, Girard-Perregaux has been pursuing its course in the best tradition of Fine Watchmaking. The Maison’s history has been characterised by legendary timepieces that combine cutting-edge design with innovative technology.

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