Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Infinity: Black Onyx Dial, Steel Case, And Vintage Flair
by Martin Green
The first thing that popped into my head when I saw the new Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Infinity was: why don’t I ever see the Vintage 1945 on collectors’ wrists?
Part of Girard-Perregaux’s collection for years, the Vintage 1945 is still a wildly attractive watch. The case design is well thought through – exotic even by today’s standards, but not overly so. It has vintage flair but doesn’t look at all dated.
Has it become neither fish nor fowl because of this? I seriously doubt it as it doesn’t lack in overall character. As if that is not enough, it sits very well on the wrist thanks to the curved case back, through which we even see a famous movement: automatic Caliber GP 3300.
Too much of an understatement?
While I don’t have an answer to why we the Vintage 1945 isn’t seen “in the wild” more often, Girard-Perregaux is making a compelling case to get the Vintage 1945 on more wrists with this new Infinity Edition – or at least 88 wrists as that is how many the company is making.
The distinctive feature separating this Infinity limited edition from the rest of the Vintage 1945 collection is that the dial made of semiprecious onyx. To cut this stone so thin and in the right dimensions for a dial is extremely challenging. Even in Switzerland only a handful of people possess the knowledge and skill to pull it off.
Girard-Perregaux plays cleverly off the dial’s intense blackness by crafting the logo, hour indexes, and second hand in pink gold. The combination of the steel case, hour hand, and minute hand creates an interesting dynamic that works very well in combination with the Vintage 1945 Infinity’s art deco design.
The only foible I see is that the dial might be too perfect: the polished onyx looks so flawless that it might as well be lacquer or another material. While the onyx creates a sense of understatement, the uniqueness of having an onyx dial is a bit lost here. That said, the Vintage 1945 would not look even half as good if Girard-Perregaux had opted for a more extroverted stone for the dial like malachite or tiger’s eye.
The Vintage 1945 with moon phase and large date has always been a favorite of mine. The large date’s execution is superb as the patented device incorporates two separate disks spaced just 0.1 mm apart, effectively fooling the eye into thinking that they are one.
While the background of the date is black, it is here that you can see that the dial is made of another material, a very subtle detail that is likely to be noticed by nobody but the watch’s owner. Against the deep black of the onyx dial, the moon phase aperture is also less noticeable. Usually I enjoy it when the moon phase assumes a more prominent place, but with the Vintage 1945 Infinity it blends in seamlessly with the rest of the watch.
The price of being different
I don’t often talk about the price of watches because at this end of the market I find there is little rationale. Nobody needs a mechanical timekeeper in these price ranges, and even comparing a watch to its peers is usually influenced by personal perceptions and preferences.
However, 15,690 Swiss francs for the Vintage 1945 Infinity seems to me to be a fair deal. You get a Girard-Perregaux manufacture movement with a nice dose of pedigree that has also been adopted by a considerable amount of high-end brands, from Cartier to MB&F (in the HM8 Moonmachine, for example).
The shape of the Vintage 1945 case has proven staying power. While it is vintage inspired, it also looks fresh and contemporary with very few lookalikes in the market. An added bonus is that it is well proportioned and curved so that wearing comfort is considerably higher than one might expect at first sight.
The onyx dial might be very understated, but once you realize that you have such a rare dial that is complex to make it increases appreciation and enjoyment. The execution of the large date function is still a benchmark in the market for me, while the moon phase adds a sense of nostalgia to the Vintage 1945 Infinity.
Small details like pink gold hour markers and making the first two stitches of the strap with pink gold thread highlight that Girard-Perregaux has thought about every little detail. While that isn’t likely to propel the Vintage 1945 collection into the same sphere of popularity as the Patek Philippe Nautilus, as well as making its 88 owners very happy I hope that it will draw some more attention to this extraordinary, well-made watch.
For more information, please visit www.girard-perregaux.com/en/vintage-1945/vintage-1945-infinity-edition.
Quick Facts Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Infinity
Case: 36.1 x 35.25 x 11.74 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber GP03300-1405, 4.9 mm in height, 28,800 vph/4Hz frequency, 46-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds; large date, moon phase
Limitation: 88 pieces
Price: CHF 15,690