Girard-Perregaux’s clever redesign to the WW.TC is proof of the brand’s return to form
By James Gurney
Girard-Perregaux returns, in January, to Geneva’s SIHH (the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) after a number of years lost in the back of Baselworld’s main hall. Outside the industry, such trade fair musical chairs are, of course, trivial, but in this case, the move marks the completion of Girard-Perregaux’s return to form after some troubled years.
This year has seen a smartening-up of Girard-Perregaux’s act with new collections that are both truer to the brand’s essential character and more relevant to the market the brand needs to capture. Notably, the refreshed Laureato (my watch of the year) put G-P back into the same space as Audemars Piguet, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin, territory that it should never have vacated in the first place.
That process continues with a much-needed revisit to the WW.TC, a watch that symbolised much of Girard-Perregaux’s woes in recent years, as it appeared in ever more ponderous designs. In place of an overly complicated world-timer chronograph combination, the 2017 WW.TC offers simplicity and space within the straightforward lines of the 1966 case. The distinguishing quirk of the watch, the second crown at 9 o’clock (used to set the city ring on the outer dial), remains however, otherwise everything unnecessary has gone, including the chronograph. That brings both height and diameter down to more comfortable dimensions (12mm and 40mm respectively).
The simpler dial means better legibility, but also more room for the contrast of finishes and colours to play out – the opaline dial is refreshingly open and only complicated by a running seconds dial at 6 o’clock, while the case is nicely understated. Inside is a variant on GP’s well-respected 3300 calibre, while the watch will be available in pink gold and steel – Girard-Perregaux having made the sensible policy decision to offer more steel case options. Put together with the Place Girardet (below), additions to the 1966 and the Laureato, there’s every reason to think that GP will be well placed to catch up with its peers in the next few years.