Introducing Girard-Perregaux Makes Three Bridges Fly

to commemorate its 230th anniversary Girard-Perregaux is announcing a new take on its well-regarded "Three Bridges" movement architecture. This week, during Geneva Watch Days, the brand released the new 18k rose gold 44mm Tourbillon With Three Flying Bridges – a futuristic take on a Victorian-era invention.

The three bridges have been a mainstay for the brand since the mid to late 19th century. GP was effectively the first brand to pluck the bridges from obscurity (they are generally a hidden component of the overall movement) and make them a spotlight design feature. Late 1800's iterations of the three-bridges had them made from platinum. The brand has used all manner of precious metals in the past, but for the first time, all three bridges on the front are fashioned from pink gold – with the upper and lower surfaces coated in black PVD (the three bridges on the back are PVD coated titanium).

Aside from the the literal function the bridges provide in supporting the gear train, barrel, and tourbillon, they also act as the mainplate which is where the touches of futurism come into play. Each of the bridges achieve a level of optical illusion as they appear to be floating freely. Adding to the space-age aesthetic are the markers, which are attached to the flange (outer dial) which, in turn, is affixed to the case.

The tourbillon is positioned toward the bottom of the dial in a lyre-shaped cage featuring a blued hand that moves in a 360 degree rotation, thereby acting as a small seconds indicator.

What We Think
This watch is a masterclass in balancing luxury with purposeful design. So much of the haute-ness of this timepiece is done discreetly. Take the three bridges, for example. GP could have easily kept them entirely pink gold, showing off the lustrous look of the metal. Instead, it saved the shine for the edges only, opting to PVD-coat the bulk of the surface. Why? To make a little secret between watch and wearer. The brand is referring to this choice as "super discreet luxury" whereby only those in the know … will know.

The overall architecture of this watch is impressive, though it obviously will not appeal to everyone. I don't particularly see myself ever springing for this piece, but it represents the sort of watchmaking that demands to be appreciated – and I do appreciate it. Where most brands use heritage as a way to recycle old designs, here GP has re-thought its own design language and conceived of a way to make it future-ready. The overall look of this piece, from the case-connected dial markers to the blued small seconds on the tourbillon cage feels very much of a time yet to pass. In a world full of faux-patina it's a breath of fresh air to see a brand do this.

Even the crystal is over-engineered. It has sloping sides that curve downward to the outer edges of the case to the middle, resulting in the watch not having a conventional bezel. This effect, in turn, takes four to five times more material to effectuate. Conversely, the tourbillon is surprisingly minimal in construction (comprised of 79 parts) and therefore quite light, weighing in at .25 grams. This contributes to the movement – the GP09400-1273 – offering 60 hours of power reserve.
You can look back at old GP pocket watches from the late 1800s and find a similar three-bridge design in the movement. There's a clear lineage between that classical styling and the ultra-modern take seen here. Maybe one day, they actually will fly. Maybe for the 300th anniversary.