News October 2012


Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier
La Chaux-de-Fonds

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier
Paris

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier
Marseille

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier

The Le Corbusier Trilogy

The Watch Quote™ - October 2nd, 2012

Le Corbusier - Architecture Vivante

“You employ stone, wood and concrete, and with these materials you build houses and palaces: That is construction. Ingenuity is at work. But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me good. I am happy and I say: ‘This is beautiful.’ That is architecture. Art enters in.” Vers une architecture, Le Corbusier, ed. G. Crès, 1923.

High in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland, a few kilometers east of France, is perched the small town of La Chaux-de-Fonds — for centuries the wellspring of an almost divine congruence of genius.

Among those born here: Le Corbusier (born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret), one of the greatest names in modern architecture and design; pioneering automaker Louis Chevrolet; and poet/novelist Blaise Cendrars.
The aesthetic movement L’Art nouveau was refined in La Chaux-de-Fonds – as the old village gave way to a modern city beginning of the 20th century, a regional Art nouveau variant, the “Style Sapin”, emerged here, exclusive to the burgeoning industrial watchmaking centre. And the grace of its architecture and ingenuity of its urban plan have led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Le Corbusier - Le Modulor

The genius inherent to La Chaux-de-Fonds is today best exemplified by the watchmakers of Girard-Perregaux, who - in cooperation with Foundation Le Corbusier - are employing gold, sapphire crystal, steel and even concrete to reinterpret the work of the great Modernist in a series of exceptional new timepieces.

Le Corbusier - Le Modulor

This sublime project is the apotheosis of more than a century of communal history between the Jeanneret and Girard-Perregaux families. Mere happenstance? Hardly. It is, rather, serendipity at its most poignant — the seemingly inevitable result when genius takes up residence in close proximity to genius. The very essence, in other words, of La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Le Corbusier - Le Modulor

Le Corbusier’s life took him well beyond the shadow of the Jura, of course; he traveled the world designing buildings — and, in some cases, entire cities. Fittingly, he was part of the multinational team of architects that designed the headquarters of the United Nations Secretariat Building in Manhattan — a metaphor, in glass, reinforced concrete and steel, for his own global citizenship.

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret dit Le Corbusier

The Girard-Perregaux Le Corbusier Trilogy, however, reflects the three places that most embodied the concept of home to the man himself, who once observed that “the home should be the treasure chest of living”: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Paris and Marseille.



The model selected by Girard-Perregaux for the basis of the Le Corbusier Trilogy is the Vintage 1945, the year Le Corbusier published one of his most famous works, Les Trois Etablissements Humains (The Three Human Establishments) and devised his anthropometric scale of proportions the Modulor.

Le Corbusier - Marseille

The rights for the reproduction of works by Le Corbusier are granted to Girard-Perregaux in exchange for a charitable donation to the Fondation Le Corbusier, to help restore Villa “Le Lac” in Corseaux, Switzerland; and to the Association Maison Blanche, for the ongoing preservation and maintenance of the Maison Jeanneret-Perret in La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

Le Corbusier - Marseille


About Girard-Perregaud

Girard-Perregaux is a Swiss high-end watch manufacturer tracing its origins back to 1791. The history of the brand is marked by legendary watches that combine sharp design with innovative technology, such as the renowned Tourbillon with three gold Bridges.

LC4 - Chaise longue à bascule - Le Corbusier - 1928

Devoted to the creation of state-of-the-art Haute Horlogerie, Girard-Perregaux is one of the very few watchmakers to unite all the skills of design and manufacture under the same roof including the forging of the “heart” of the watch – the movement. Girard-Perregaux is majority owned by PPR, a worldwide leading Luxury and Sport & Lifestyle group.

LC1 - Fauteuil à dossier basculant - Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand, 1928


About Le Corbusier Foundation

The Le Corbusier Foundation, in accordance with its statutes and its missions, has devoted all of its resources to the conservation, knowledge and dissemination of Le Corbusier’s work. It is based in Paris.

LC2 - Fauteuil Grand confort - Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand, 1928


About the Maison Blanche Association

TheMaison Blanche Association wns the house which Charles-Edouard Jeanneret Le Corbusier built for his parents in 1912 and works to guarantee its structural integrity and conservation, to ensure it fulfils a cultural role in the general public interest and to highlight Le Corbusier’s legacy in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

LC4 - Chaise longue à bascule peau de vache - Le Corbusier - 1928

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier - La Chaux-de-Fonds

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret’s hometown,
and the world capital of watchmaking


In a marvelous coincidence, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret’s hometown, La Chaux-de-Fonds, happens to be the world capital of watchmaking. Before the world knew him by his pseudonym, Le Corbusier, the young Charles- Edouard spent his formative years in the town’s School of Art, training as a sculptor and engraver.

Boîtier de montre dessiné et gravé par Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) à l'école d'art

Inlaid mother-of-pearl dial

Girard-Perregaux’s craftsmen pay tribute to an early Le Corbusier work by faithfully reproducing it in a bas-relief of mother-of-pearl – a nod to both the piece itself and to Le Corbusier’s beginnings as a sculptor and engraver.



Seven exacting days are required to produce each dial, requiring mastery of multiple skills: design, sculpture, polishing and varnishing. The foremost challenge was to preserve the integrity of the original work’s five colors – necessitating considerable patience and meticulous attention to detail.

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Girard-Perregaud Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier - La Chaux-de-Fonds

Technical description


Case:Pink gold
Dimensions:36.20 x 35.25 mm
Crystal:Anti-reflective sapphire
Case-back:Sapphire crystal, secured by four screws
Water resistance:30 meters
Movement :Girard-Perregaux GP3300-0078, automatic
Calibre:11½ ‘‘‘
Frequency:28,800 vibrations/hour (4 hz)
Jewels:26
Power reserve:min. 46 hours
Functions:Hour and minute
Référence:25880-52-103-BB6A
Limited edition :of five pieces

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier - Paris

The global center of the cultural movement known as ‘Modernism’


Charles-Edouard Jeanneret arrived in Paris in 1917. Three years later, he assumed the nom d’artiste “Le Corbusier.” His timing was propitious; Paris was becoming the global center of the cultural movement known as ‘Modernism’, and Le Corbusier’s painting and architecture alike embraced it, emphasizing elemental geometric forms – “space and light and order,” as he put it.



Although he’s now celebrated along with Mies Van der Rohe or Walter Gropius as a pioneer of modern architecture, Le Corbusier applied his theories about shape to the decorative arts as well. In 1929, along with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier debuted Le Grand Confort at Paris’s Salon d’Automne. Among the pieces shown was his iconic furniture, constructed from a then-unique combination of steel, tanned leather and rawhide.

In 1929, along with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier debuted Le Grand Confort at Paris’s Salon d’Automne. Among the pieces shown was his iconic furniture, constructed from a then-unique combination of steel, tanned leather and rawhide



Cadran en méral

The second limited edition Girard-Perregaux timepiece in this series commemorates Le Corbusier’s contributions to the decorative arts by focusing on materials – pairing a steel case with a cowhide strap to evoke the Le Corbusier chaise longue. The hand-engraved dial reflects his Modulor system of architectural proportion, based on the male figure (human scale) and the “Golden Ratio,” as well as his applied perception of light.

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Girard-Perregaud Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier - Paris

Technical description


Case:Steel
Dimensions:36.20 x 35.25 mm
Crystal:Anti-reflective sapphire
Case-back:Sapphire crystal, secured by four screws
Water resistance:30 meters
Movement :Girard-Perregaux GP3300-0078, automatic
Calibre:11½ ‘‘‘
Frequency:28,800 vibrations/hour (4 hz)
Jewels:26
Power reserve:min. 46 hours
Functions:Hour and minute
Référence:25880-11-102-HKBA
Limited edition :of five pieces

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier - Marseille

The first significant postwar structure is the Cité Radieuse
(“Radiant City”)


Arguably Le Corbusier’s most important late work – and certainly his first significant postwar structure is the Cité Radieuse (“Radiant City”), an unité d’habitation (“Housing Unit”) in Marseille, France. Although it was conceptualized earlier, the Marseille building was built from rough-cast reinforced concrete (steel and concrete) – a signature Le Corbusier material – between 1947 and 1952 to help alleviate a severe housing shortage at that time. The colossal 12-story complex accommodates some 1,600 residents and was the inspiration for several similar unités d’habitation throughout France, as well as in Berlin – all designed by Le Corbusier and given the same utilitarian name. The unité d’habitation was a prime example of the Modulor philosophy – and the design and proportions of the Marseille watch dial are an homage to the Modulor anthropometric scale.



Concrete dial

We end, appropriately, where we began: with careful attention to raw materials – in this instance, concrete – that become stirring works of art. For this last component of the Le Corbusier Trilogy, Girard-Perregaux developed a concrete dial requiring three days to pour, dry and meticulously hand-finish. Concrete is an exceptionally uncommon material in watchmaking now, as it was in construction when Le Corbusier used it to build Cité Radieuse. The result is an unparalleled interpretation of Le Corbusier: a seamless blend of watchmaking and architecture.

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Girard-Perregaud Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier - Marseille

Technical description


Case:Steel
Dimensions:36.20 x 35.25 mm
Crystal:Anti-reflective sapphire
Case-back:Sapphire crystal, secured by four screws
Water resistance:30 meters
Movement :Girard-Perregaux GP3300-0078, automatic
Calibre:11½ ‘‘‘
Frequency:28,800 vibrations/hour (4 hz)
Jewels:26
Power reserve:min. 46 hours
Functions:Hour and minute
Référence:5880-11-101-BB6A
Limited edition :of five pieces

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