Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Girard-Perregaux Goes Quartz

Girard-Perregaux, in a startling move, has unveiled a Quartz powered watch. The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Quartz Watch houses a GP13500 quartz movement. To avid watch collectors who treasure mechanical movements and balk at quartz movements, the unveiling of this watch by high end Swiss manufacturer Girard-Perregaux, must provide them with some mental turmoil and a little bit of betrayal. I mean one can't forget the enormous impact Seiko Quartz Watch had on the mechanical watch industry back in 1969. That period of time was coined, "The Quartz Scare" whereby the entire mechanical watch industry buckled to their knees while precise and cheap battery powered watches flooded the market. Companies went bankrupt and others like Blancpain went dormant for a time.

On the other hand, the introduction of quartz powered watches was a huge technological advancement in timekeeping, and soon a host of functions were added to the watches.
Girard-Perregaux has unveiled the high end Laureato Quartz as a tribute to its advancements in the 1970's and the accomplishment of Girard-Perregaux's electronics specialist, Georges Vuffrey. It was Girard-Perregaux who established the quartz crystal's frequency of 32.768 hertz, a specification standard to all quartz calibers until today, and this is the frequency used in Girard-Perregaux newest addition.

A grid pattern covers the blue dial enhanced by red accents provided by the center seconds hand and date wheel. The back of the stainless steel case is transparent sapphire crystal displaying the quartz movement; not often seen in quartz movements. Girard-Perregaux has applied its expert craftsmanship and finishing to this watch so much so that the entire movement is covered with Cotes de Geneve patterns, a gilt-finished battery cover emblazoned with GP and symbol as well as a large amount of perfectly finished blued screws. A stunning integrated stainless steel bracelet fits smoothly around the wrist.
Although the reference to Quartz may bring to mind inferior quality meant for the masses, this superbly crafted luxury timepiece will be released in a very limited edition of 40.

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