A few months back we saw the new Girard-Perregaux Neo Constant Escapement, albeit a one-off version designed for this year’s Only Watch charity auction. Now GP has released the “standard” production (if you can call it that) version of their new and highly sophisticated constant-force escapement watch with dual-wheel escapement. Girard-Perregaux debuted the prototype for their first Constant Escapement watch back in 2008 with the production model coming several years later in 2013.
If you haven’t fallen deep into the horology-nerd rabbit hole, a constant-force escapement is essentially a mechanism designed to ensure consistent accuracy. This had typically been done with either a rementoir or chain and fusée mechanism, but Girard-Perregaux’s Constant Escapement simplified things by actually integrating a constant force mechanism within the escapement. Essentially, the system consists of a flexible blade spring that stores and releases consistent force to the balance wheel and a double escape wheel system that replenishes the blade spring’s tension. It’s almost ingenious in its simplicity, but this was no simple feat and there is a reason we haven’t seen imitators. While the double-wheel escapement of this new iteration is largely the same, there are some slight updates like a new arming rocker which has a locking mechanism via the central lever.
Where the Only Watch edition was done in all pink gold, the new generation of the Girard-Perregaux Neo Constant Escapement comes in a titanium case. I doubt there will be many who prefer the aesthetics of the older generation Constant Escapement as the Neo Constant Escapement improves on it in just about every way. First off, the case is downsized from 48mm to 45mm (water resistant to 30m) which is about as small as it can get while still fitting the escapement. Also, central hour and minutes hands replace the old sub-dial at 12 o’clock which makes for a more contemporary and aesthetically pleasing design. This also makes for a cleaner view of the two barrels on the upper part of the dial. These rhodium-finished dauphine-style hands are skeletonized and lumed, making for a very legible dial. The only tradeoff would be the .4mm in additional case thickness from the original to 14.8mm. Finally, the linear power reserve indicator carries over with a refreshed design that allows for easier and more precise reading.
The silicium blade undergoes a thermal treatment which creates an oxidation layer that not only improves resistance but gives it a unique color. The photos above give a good idea how a simple change in angle can reveal either a blue or purple hue depending on the light. The fact that it is surrounded by so much black serves to enhance this visual spectacle.
The COSC-certified manual-wind Calibre GP09200 has a massive 7-day power reserve that is made exponentially more impressive due to the fact that precision and isochronism is as steady for hour 1 as it is for hour 168. The movement is made up of 266 components (actually down from the 271 of the previous iteration) and operates at 3 Hz. Another architectural change is noticeable on the case back where the silver-toned gear train runs straight through the sea of mechanical blackness that surrounds it. This makes for a very dramatic and impressive display that stands out from its predecessor.
The Girard-Perregaux Neo Constant Escapement is a testament to the brand’s prowess in horological innovation which is something that is too frequently overlooked. The biggest changes from the first generation revolved around movement design, aesthetics, and wearability with the new 45mm case size in lightweight titanium. The new black rubber strap with fabric effect just adds to the contemporary vibe and feel of the whole piece. Is it the most practical way to spend $99,600? Of course not but this is a work of horology that reflects a sophisticated understanding and appreciation of watchmaking. The beautifully sleek new package just makes it all the more desirable.
To learn more, visit Girard-Perregaux, here.