Girard-Perregaux have recently released two new models, a new Sea Hawk which I will feature in the coming weeks and this - the totally handsome Chrono Hawk - perhaps the most important new watch released by Girard-Perregaux in recent times.
Changes are a-foot at Girard-Perregaux. In July 2011 PPR (you will perhaps know them as the "Gucci Group") took a majority holding in Sowind (GP and JeanRichard). For PPR this naturally means a foothold into the world of in-house Haute Horlogerie and for Sowind the personnel changes made are now filtering down into what the public see - their portfolios.
A few years ago Zenith appointed a new boss, Jean-Frédéric Dufour. He inherited the mammoth task of slimming down the collection of models which the brand had amassed in previous years. His trimming down of Zenith's portfolio helped the company re-discover the classical styling and traditional values which had made the brand so special in the first place. Recent models, in particular the trio of superb Pilot's watches of 2012 bear witness to his successful new vision for Zenith.
Similarly Michele Sofisti, the new director of operations of Sowind has made a number of key changes, notably the rejuvenation of JeanRichard. But what of Girard-Perregaux? Such a company, with its heritage of historic watchmaking would surely require careful handling. Last year's appointment of Dominique Loiseau should bear some very technical horological fruit in the near future, but already the portfolio is being tweaked with some slimming down of its collections. In the pipeline will be a new collection for women (bravo!) and it will be Baselworld this year, not SIHH which will provide the showcase for new models. But for now an identified shortfall in that most lucrative and crowd-pleasing of genres gets his team's attention - that of men's sports watches, and in double-quick time a new and very important addition has been created, the Chrono Hawk - a piece representative of the new administration and its new vision for Girard-Perregaux.
The Chrono Hawk conforms to all the requirements of a modern sports timer - slightly sculpted case, spot-on sizing at 44mm, interesting but readable dial, superbly integrating strap. Steel construction ensures mid-pricing with the option to add techy and pricey materials later.
There are many subtleties to enjoy on this cleverly designed piece - the dial recesses deeply, falling away from the brushed bezel, there is more recessing on the counters which are snailed in the centre and on the sculpted caseside the pushers incline gently. There is symmetry too - in the bi-compax dial layout and in its repeating honeycomb background which replicates the company's arrow-head bridge.
Inside is the in-house GP 3300 calibre with chronograph module, viewable through caseback sapphire. The Chrono Hawk will be available with a choice of black or white dial - same watch, completely dissimilar in appearance but both with comparative degrees of desirability especially if you are partial to a chronograph dial of such equipoise. Which I am.
More information and specs at the Girard-Perregaux website.
My other Girard-Perregaux Articles here.