The Bridges origin
The origins of the Tourbillon with Three Bridges dates back from the 1860s. Constant Girard-Perregaux turned watchmaking on its head, transforming the Bridge from a hidden technical element into a highly visible, integral part of the watch design. He redesigned the Bridges in an arrow shape and arranged them in parallel. More than 150 years later, this unique movement architecture keeps beating inside our current Tourbillon with Three Bridges, making it the oldest movement in the watch industry still produced today.
400 to 600
Our Haute Horlogerie timepieces feature many of the most intricate watchmaking complications in existence, such as tri-axial tourbillons, planetariums and minute repeaters. Such complexity calls for an increased number of components; for instance, the Minute Repeater Tri-Axial Tourbillon typically comprises 518 components, of which 145 are needed for the tourbillon cage alone. This spectacular complication spins on three different axes over a two minute period while its minute repeater offers a crisp sound emanating from its titanium case.
Tourbillon cages components
A Girard-Perregaux single axis tourbillon cage comprises 80 components, measuring no more than 13mm in diameter and weighing in at a mere 0.3 gram. This allows one to appreciate the scale and level of care our master watchmakers must operate with. Instantly recognisable from their lyre shape, the design signature for GP tourbillons was introduced with the first pocket watches designed by Bautte in the 1800.
Hours of work
A set of Three Gold Bridges requires 40 hours of finishing work in our Atelier, corresponding to a full week of work for only 3 of the 310 components that go into one La Esmeralda. The Bridges are bevelled, polished, satin-finished and rounded-off, all executed by hand with traditional tools like wood sticks, abrasive paper, stone files and diamond-based polishing pastes.
A single screw of our Haute Horlogerie movements requires 10 minutes to be polished. Performed by hand in our ateliers, the process consists of holding the screw on its head on a zinc plate, coated with diamantine paste beforehand. The watchmaker then rubs the screw on this slightly abrasive paste until a mirror-like effect is achieved. True to our pursuit of beauty (even for that which is invisible), every screw is polished, including those hidden inside the movement.
Master in watchmaking
One watchmaker performs the assembly and settings of a Haute Horlogerie timepiece from start to finish, which is a Girard-Perregaux speciality. Our watchmakers master every single step, from mounting the bracelet to setting the hammer and gongs of a minute repeater or assembling a triple-axis tourbillon cage. On top of ensuring continuity in manufacturing, the watchmaker brings their personal touch to the timepiece and, in a way, shares a part of their soul.