In 1860, François Perregaux, the brother-in-law of Constant Girard, one of Girard-Perregaux’s founders, arrived in Japan with the clear objective of selling Swiss timepieces. He established an office in Yokohama making him the first Swiss watch merchant to be based in the country. However, he knew he had a considerable obstacle to overcome: until then, the country did not use the same time keeping system as Europe, and Swiss watches were initially viewed as curiosities. Nevertheless, he persisted and just four years after his arrival, a ‘Friendship and Trade Treaty’ was signed with Switzerland, paving the way for Swiss clocks and watches to be exported to the Asian nation.
The tables began to turn in 1873 as Japan commenced building a railway network and the nation adopted a Western time measurement system. This provided a great opportunity for François and led to a significant rise in Swiss watch exports. Over the years, François travelled extensively throughout Asia, however, we would always return to Japan, his adopted home.
To this day, Girard-Perregaux continues to enjoy close ties with Japan. Indeed, in 2020 the Manufacture was celebrating the 160th anniversary of its relationship with the country, releasing a new timepiece, the 1966 East to West. This watch is a collaboration between the long-established Maison and Dr Romanelli (DRx), a modern-day brand famed for its streetwear. The 1966 East to West repeatedly plays with the idea of duality. A pair of scissors, a trademark of DRx, features on the dial.