News April 2008

A spectacular watchmaking phenomenon, the Girard-Perregaux Bi-axial Tourbillon has driven devotees of rare mechanisms and sophisticated designs in a marvellous history, full of technical feats and aesthetic innovations.

Tourbillon Bi-axial

The quest for precision in time measurement

The Watch Quote™ - April 3rd, 2008



The origins of the Bi-axial Tourbillon stretch back in a centuries-old quest: the quest for precision in time measurement. At the start of the 19th century, chronometry was marked by a decisive invention: the Tourbillon. This device could compensate for rate irregularities due to the Earth's gravity in upright positions, by means of a mobile cage bearing the regulating part of the watch. The watchmaker Constant Girard, an emblematic figure of the Girard-Perregaux Manufacture, incorporated this device into his watches so remarkably that the Tourbillon he presented in 1867 at the Paris Universal Exhibition won a distinction. Pushing his technical and aesthetic investigations further, he then designed the famous Tourbillon with three gold Bridges, which was awarded with a gold medal. Thereafter, the excellence of the work meant that Girard-Perregaux was classed outside the competition!



Following directly on from this heritage, Girard-Perregaux has now presented another spectacular creation. The Bi-axial Tourbillon, combining two concentric cages, enables the regulating part to make multi-dimensional rotations. An internal cage bearing the balance, balance spring and escapement completes one complete turn on its axis in forty-five seconds. An external cage completes one revolution in one minute and fifteen seconds, enabling a rotation on its second axis. Hence a full revolution is completed in three minutes and forty-five seconds. This genuine aerial ballet offers an extraordinary spectacle, while the alternation of positions enables excellent rate precision. Visible both via the dial and the case-back, the complex mechanism has an astounding delicacy: the two cages weigh just 0.80 grams, yet comprise a total of over one hundred and ten components. A combination of gold, steel and titanium, the cage materials were chosen to provide the best balance and greatest performance. The use of two coaxial barrels, each equipped with two springs, provides a power reserve of seventy-two hours and a constant energy flow.



This fascinating construction is enhanced by an aesthetic that instantly evokes the Girard-Perregaux tradition. The architecture of the perfectly aligned bridges is in the image of Constant Girard's creations, of his succession of research and proposals which gave rise to the Tourbillon with three gold Bridges. This straight and finely hollowed bridge version was inspired in particular by a pocket watch created in the 1860s, which won a first class prize from the Neuchâtel Observatory. This astonishingly modern piece was a forerunner to a completely innovative outlook: the movement was no longer a technical and functional element, but had become a design element in its own right. The tribute to the master watchmaker can be found in every detail of the Bi-axial Tourbillon finishes: the elliptical decoration on the barrel reproduces the pattern on Constant Girard's pocket watch. The bridges are satin-finished, and their bevels are carefully hand polished, to achieve a flawless finish and a completely clean bevel on this tiny precious metal element. After lavish attentions, the majestic forty-five millimetre diameter pink gold case is ready to receive the Tourbillon mechanism.

The history of Girard-Perregaux brought to life in both the aesthetics and technology of the Bi-axial Tourbillon. Everything comes together to make this Haute Horlogerie creation an exceptional model. Even the number of pieces, with just thirty-three to be released.

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Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon Bi-axial

Technical specifications


Case:Pink gold
Diameter: 45 mm
Height: 18.50 mm
Sapphire crystal
Sapphire case-back secured by 6 screws
Water resistance: 30 metres
Movement:Girard-Perregaux GPE0201 mechanical with manual winding
Calibre: 15 1/3 ’’’
Fitting diameter: 34 mm
Frequency: 21,600 vibrations/hour (3 Hz)
Tourbillon: 113 components, 0.80 grams, one complete revolution in 3 minutes and 45 seconds
Variable inertia balance fitted with gold adjustment screws
Balance spring: Philipps curve; Geneva Stud
Jewels: 28
Nickel silver main plate
Pink gold barrel bridges and central bridge
Power reserve: min. 72 hours, two quick-turning coaxial barrels
Functions: Bi-axial Tourbillon, hour, minute
Strap:Alligator with pink gold folding buckle
Limited edition:33 pieces

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