“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, according to Leonardo da Vinci. Viewed from a purely instinctive standpoint, the concept of a traditional watch might tend to evoke a certain immutability and austerity. The exact opposite is true of the 1966 Collection by Girard-Perregaux, which stemmed from one of the most dynamic periods enjoyed by the Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds and which saw it set up an R&D centre and launch the first ever high-frequency movement. In keeping with this perpetual quest for innovation, Girard-Perregaux is paying tribute to this era by presenting two new automatic timepieces, each fitted with a smoky dial and a particularly elegant ultra-thin steel case: the 1966 40mm and the 1966 36mm gem-set models.
The 1960s represent a particularly stellar period for the Manufacture marked by what can aptly be described as an ‘acceleration’ of its success. The fact of having its own R&D team was a rare phenomenon at the time and it was this department that handled the secret development of the Gyromatic HF calibre, the first movement in watchmaking history beating at the high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour. The series-produced watches equipped with this mechanism soon won chronometry competitions that had previously been the exclusive preserve of specially prepared models, regarded as ‘racing beasts’. In 1966, Neuchâtel Observatory awarded Girard-Perregaux the Centenary Prize for its work on enhancing precision. The following year, the Maison earned 662 certificates, accounting for 73% of all those issued by the chronometry authority in the traditional wristwatch category.
It was during this special time that the 1966 Collection was born. Paying tribute to the technical innovations made by Girard-Perregaux in the field of precision timekeeping, it now welcomes two new interpretations in steel: the first measuring 40 mm in diameter, and the second 36 mm. These reliable and accurate models are equipped with the self-winding Manufacture GP03300 calibre, providing a generous 46-hour power reserve. Its mainplate and bridges are meticulously straight-grained, bevelled and adorned with a Côtes de Genève motif. The 218-part movement of the large model powers the hours, minutes and seconds hands, along with a date display in a window at 3 o’clock; while the 36 mm version has no date but is instead graced by diamond hour-markers and a gem-set bezel. The two cases are water-resistant to 30 m and fitted with a transparent case-back.