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.
The Manufacture began its activities in 1791, meaning that Girard-Perregaux as it now stands is grounded on an over two-century heritage.
Jean-François Bautte, born March 22nd 1772, initially trained as a case assembler before successively becoming a guillocheur, a watchmaker and a goldsmith. He signed his first watches in 1791, at the age of 19. This talented watchmaker became known for his ultra-thin models. In his native town of Geneva, he took the innovative step of founding a manufacturing company housing the full range of watchmaking skills. Jean-François Bautte welcomed a number of prestigious visitors, notably including Victoria, the future queen of England. An astute industrialist and savvy businessman, he established trading relations with European courts that enabled him to steadily build his reputation.
In 1837, Jacques Bautte and Jean-Samuel Rossel took over from Jean-François Bautte who bequeathed them a strong industrial legacy. Several years later, Jean-Samuel continued the adventure on his own, shortly afterwards backed by his son, Jacques Rossel. Their work in the field of chronometry was regularly rewarded at international exhibitions.
Constant Girard founded Girard & Cie in 1852. Two years later, he married Marie Perregaux (1831-1912). In 1856, the joining of their two names gave rise to the Manufacture Girard-Perregaux established in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Marie Perregaux’s three brothers – Henri (1828-1893), François (1834-1877) and Jules (1838-1903) – also played a role in the company, with Henri and Jules representing it in North and South America, and François in Asia.
In 1889, Constant Girard presented a Tourbillon that won a prize at the Paris Universal Exhibition: the famous “La Esmeralda” model subsequently gifted to Mexican president Porfirio Díaz. That was also the year when Gustave Eiffel presented his iconic tower.
Constant Girard-Gallet, son of Constant Girard and Marie Perregaux, took over the Bautte company in 1906 and merged it with Girard-Perregaux & Cie.
By the late 1950s, Girard-Perregaux had its own Research & Development department operating within the Manufacture. This in-house team enabled the brand to develop high-precision movements. In 1966, Girard-Perregaux enriched its Gyromatic line with the first high-frequency movement (36,000 vibrations per hour). In 1967, no less than 70% of the chronometer certificates issued by the Neuchâtel Observatory were awarded to Girard-Perregaux high-frequency chronometers. During this period, the Manufacture took an interest in quartz movements and initiated Switzerland’s first ever industrial-scale production of quartz watches in 1971. The frequency of 32,678 Hz set by Girard-Perregaux remains the universal standard for quartz watches.
To celebrate its bicentenary in 1991, the Manufacture presented a miniaturized wristwatch version of the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, a pocket watch that had earned a distinction at the time of its creation.
In 1992, the Italian entrepreneur, architect and former racing driver Luigi Macaluso took the helm of Girard-Perregaux. Under his leadership, the Manufacture developed a full-fledged Manufacture-style approach and in 1994 introduced a new line of ultra-thin calibers respectively named GP3000 and GP3100.
In 2008, Girard-Perregaux presented a Bi-Axial Tourbillon equipped with two concentric carriages enabling the regulating organ to perform multi-dimensional rotations. This construction compensates for the variations in rate due to gravity.
In 2011, the Kering group, one of the leading sports and lifestyle companies, acquired a majority shareholding in Girard-Perregaux. The Manufacture was celebrating its 220th anniversary and on this occasion, the Haute Horlogerie collection was enriched with a model inspired by its history: the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Tourbillon with Gold Bridge issued in an individually numbered 50-piece limited edition.
Girard-Perregaux unveiled in 2013 a noteworthy innovation in the field of Haute Horlogerie: a constant-force escapement, the Constant Escapement L.M. of which the initial prototypes had been first presented in 2008.
Ever since 1791, Girard-Perregaux has been pursuing its course in the best tradition of Haute Horlogerie. The Maison’s history has been characterised by legendary timepieces that combine cutting-edge design with innovative technology.
Entirely geared towards exceptional Haute Horlogerie creations, the Maison is one of the few to house under one roof all the skills required to develop and produce its movements. With more than 80 patents to its name, Girard-Perregaux devotes itself wholeheartedly to research and development so as to continue interpreting its unique heritage through modern watchmaking.
Loyal to its tradition of excellence, Girard-Perregaux is keen to perpetuate its legacy by playing an active part in passing on the watchmaking heritage to youthful talents.
1791: Jean-François Bautte presents his first watches in Geneva at the age of just 19. A renowned watchmaker and savvy businessman, he will notably earn recognition for his ultra-thin models.
1856: The union of Constant Girard and Marie Perregaux gives rise to the Manufacture Girard-Perregaux in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Marie Perregaux’s three brothers Henri, François and Jules also play a role in the company: Henri and Jules by representing it in North and South America, and François in Asia. The Manufacture thereby spreads its renown beyond the frontiers of the Old World.
1889: Constant Girard-Perregaux presents a Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges that wins an award at the Paris World’s Fair: the ultra-famous “La Esmeralda”, an iconic model in the history of the Manufacture. This pocket watch was gifted to Mexican president Porfirio Díaz in the late 19th century.
1966: Girard-Perregaux enriches its Gyromatic family with the first high-frequency movement (36,000 vibrations/hour).
2013: Girard-Perregaux unveils a noteworthy innovation in the world of Haute Horlogerie: a constant-force escapement, the Constant Escapement L.M. It represents a revolution on both technical and conceptual levels, as well as in the use of materials. Its operating principle is notably based on an escapement spring incorporating a silicon buckled blade thinner than a human hair, held by a frame also made of silicon which offers the advantage of indefinitely maintaining its suppleness and elasticity.
Bridges: In 2016 and for the first time, Girard-Perregaux launches a dedicated line around its iconic Bridges. The Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges is the flagship of the brand. However, it has never been interpreted in another way than with a Tourbillon. Therefore, Girard-Perregaux wants to capitalize on this icon by offering a larger variety of designs, functions and prices.
Heritage: The Heritage Collection is introduced for the first time in 2016. It gathers the timepieces recalling Girard-Perregaux’s history.
1966: In the 1960s, Girard-Perregaux was one of the very few watchmaking Manufactures to have its own Research & Development team. In 1966, it launched the first High Frequency movement, offering outstanding performance in terms of accuracy. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 collection pays tribute to this period – as well as incorporating the fruit of the Manufacture's ongoing commitment to innovation.
Cat's Eye: Cat's Eye is a women's collection that has won a number of awards. It features a graceful time display on the oval dial that has now become an icon for the firm.
Vintage 1945: Well before vintage became fashionable, Girard-Perregaux devised a collection inspired by the design of one of its 1945 Art Deco style watches. Since then, various versions have offered a contemporary take on the unique personality of the Vintage 1945 line.