Girard-Perregaux Goes Full Throttle with Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition
by Martin Green
Heritage: for a watch brand, it is both a blessing and a curse. On one side, it gives your watch pedigree, yet there is also the risk that you become a greatest hits album on repeat.
The problem with a great heritage is that today’s clients usually want to have the original pieces on which this heritage was built. Hence, a wide variety of re-editions from nearly all brands, with watches closely replicating the coveted one that was the first.
However, there is an ending to that, as too many re-editions can become damaging by itself, and be seen as a lack of creativity.
Taking a historically significant timepiece and redesigning it in a contemporary way could be a viable solution. The challenge is that the design needs to be spot on. Will the market accept it, while you don’t really know what spot-on is when you start the development process?
As the historic timepiece will always benefit from being the people’s favorite, the whole concept of the new watch needs to be on point.
Girard-Perregaux’s Gold bridges
Such a historic important watch for Girard-Perregaux was its Tourbillon with three gold bridges. They had the good fortune that the original piece was a pocket watch, which allowed them to turn this concept into a wristwatch when the renaissance of mechanical watchmaking came into full swing after the quartz crisis.
Girard-Perregaux made a few versions of these watches, which I still consider one of the most beautiful wristwatches with a tourbillon ever made, before Girard-Perregaux themselves realized that they needed a more contemporary version as well.
I applaud Girard-Perregaux for this, as not many brands have such an insight, particularly when their ‘greatest hits’ still sell well. For Girard-Perregaux, the new approach was to create a high-tech version.
They did so by taking the distinct bridge design of the Tourbillon with three gold bridges, which is also part of the brand’s logo, and redesigning an architect’s eye. It became three-dimensional and partially skeletonized, and where the original timepiece is as classic as a watch can ever be, this version channels the future.
Color me green
Girard-Perregaux kept the design of this new generation, named Neo Bridges, mainly in the monochrome color spectrum. This gave them a sportive, understated touch, making them a welcome addition to the brand’s collection.
In 2021, Girard-Perregaux forged a partnership with Aston Martin. It wasn’t the first time the car brand dipped its toe in the world of watches, as it did before with Jaeger-LeCoultre.
In general, I am skeptical when it comes to such a partnership, as they don’t always work and regularly get abandoned. Girard-Perregaux was once the official supplier for Ferrari watches, and made some beautiful pieces in this collection.
Now perhaps Ferrari was not the most loyal companion as the car brand traded Girard-Perregaux in for Panerai, then went to Hublot, and now they have joined forces with Richard Mille.
Will a partnership with Aston Martin, which has quite a different style and temperament than Ferrari, work any better?
While Girard-Perregaux made some excellent watches back in the day dedicated to the then new Ferraris, their style was more aimed towards the vintage cars of the brand. Ferrari is quite radical at that, always aiming its cars to be the most modern creations they can be.
Aston Martin is a different animal altogether. While they don’t shy away from modern technology, their design stays profoundly British and is more a logical evolution than a revolution.
This also becomes clear when we look at the many models that the two brands have launched in a relatively short period, and that seems to be the case.
Granted, in most cases, they are existing models that get an Aston Martin overhaul with lots of British Racing Green. While you may desire a more specifically designed watch for the partnership, as Hublot and Ferrari used to do, it works quite well.
The green ceramic Laureato with Aston Martin branding and the Laureato Absolute Chronograph Aston Martin F1 edition, rank among my favorite releases from the brand in recent years. They are fun, very Girard-Perregaux, but at the same time not an overly branded partnership product.
Building a bridge to your heart
The Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition, which I had the pleasure of enjoying in combination with a Vanquish, the last Aston Martin with a hand-built V12 engine, is a watch that quickly captures your heart.
A dash of green, a logo on the caseback, and a few mentions of Aston Martin’s name might sound like Girard-Perregaux wasn’t really trying to make this watch special.
In reality, it turns out to be the perfect balance. The bridges are now green, making them prominently stand out against the blackened backdrop of the main plate and supporting bridges. The green dashes as minute markers add a sportive touch, with the rubber strap with green stitching being the cherry on top.
It might not be that different from the previous Neo Bridges watches, but it is, as this version more prominently presents what makes this watch so special.
The neo bridges, of which there are two, are on caliber GP08400-2164, which is powered by a micro-rotor. This one is visible at the eleven o’clock position and is opposite the mainspring barrel.
The main attraction remains the balance wheel, which is secured by a ‘neo bridge’ at six o’clock.
As the bridge is three-dimensional, you get quite a bit of a side view, which makes the Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition a pleasant watch to spend time with.
With a diameter of 45 mm, it seems to be from another era at first, when bigger was better. As the diameter of the movement is 32mm, Girard-Perregaux could have shaved off a few millimeters. While I feel that 42mm would be the sweet spot for this watch, its current size wouldn’t actually be a deal breaker for me.
The Girard-Perregaux sat very nicely on my modestly sized wrist, and granted, its larger size did give it quite a bit of wrist presence.
As you also don’t buy an Aston Martin to drive anonymously from place A to B, neither do you buy a Girard-Perregaux to tell the time discretely.
It helps that Girard-Perregaux opted for titanium to craft the case, which they finished with a black DLC coating. I think that this works much better than the regular Neo Bridges, which combines a regular titanium case with black neo bridges. However, that watch costs $31,100 and comes with an alligator strap.
The same goes for the Neo Bridges Earth To Sky Edition, which also has a DLC-coated titanium case and retails for $33,200. This makes the premium tone pays for the Aston Martin connection quite steep, as that edition retails at $37,700. That is more than 20% compared to the regular edition and over 13% more than the Earth To Sky edition.
If this is worth it is up to the buyer, of which there will only be 250, as Girard-Perregaux doesn’t make more. The fact is that the Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition crosses every t and dots every i, making it a very desirable watch. Especially when you have an Aston to match, I can see that the premium is not much of an issue (for those with deep pockets anyway).
Leaving the price aside, it is both a mighty fine watch and, in my humble opinion, the best time-only Neo Bridges that Girard-Perregaux has made to date.
For more information, please visit www.girard-perregaux.com/row_en/84000-21-3236-5cx.html
Quick Facts Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition
Case: 45 x 12.18 mm, titanium with black DLC coating
Movement: automatic Caliber GP08400-2164 with micro-rotor and two ‘Aston Martin green’ Neo Bridges; 48hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 250 pieces
Price: $37,700 (excluding taxes)
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