Earlier this year, Girard-Perregaux joined the ranks of Swiss watchmakers partnering with luxury automobile marques, launching a new collaboration with Britain’s Aston Martin. This week, we discovered the first timepiece to emerge from the partnership, the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition, which merges a classical haute horlogerie innovation with avant-garde automotive technologies and materials.
The watch reinterprets the design of the historical Girard-Perregaux Three Bridges pocketwatch, a pioneering tourbillon timepiece from the 19th century, in a distinctly contemporary manner, and takes some cues from the Neo-Bridges model introduced in 2017. Its 44-mm case is made of black DLC-coated grade 5 titanium, a robust yet lightweight alloy used by Aston Martin in its vehicles. (In an interesting side note, titanium ore was discovered in Aston Martin’s home country of Great Britain in 1971 — the same year Girard-Perregaux marks as its founding.)
Box-shaped sapphire crystals in the front and back of the case provide a view into the movement, highlighting the fact that the watch has no traditional dial, or bezel, or even a mainplate to anchor the movement. Instead, the movement’s components are positioned between panes of sapphire and appear to float in mid-air. Echoing the airflow-optimizing look of an Aston Martin’s front grille, scoops, and side strakes are the three titanium bridges that span the dial, which are black DLC-coated and polished on their angles. They’re called “Flying” bridges because of the pared down structure of the movement, in which they seemingly levitate while still providing contact points for elements like the lyre-shaped tourbillon cage in the lower portion of the dial. Made up of 79 parts and incorporating a blued hand to track the running seconds, the cage aids in minimizing energy consumption with its extremely light weight of only .25 grams.
The other movement component notable for both its technical and aesthetic innovations is the barrel, positioned opposite the tourbillon cage at 12 o’clock. It is openworked to provide a view of the mainspring as well as of the 22k gold micro-rotor that helps the watch amass its power reserve of 60 hours. The Aston Martin name is engraved on the rotor’s vertical flank and filled with white Super-LumiNova, which also treats the dauphine hands and the hour indices. In low light, all of these elements glow a bright blue.
Finally, the watch also boasts a world material premiere in one of its two provided straps. In addition to the rubber-effect alligator leather strap on which it is delivered, Girard-Perregaux also includes its new Rubber Alloy strap, which is injected with white gold and whose racing-stripe design is meant to evoke Aston Martin race cars of yesteryear. The Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition is a limited edition of only 18 pieces, priced at $146,000 and available now at authorized retailers. According to both Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin, it is the first of many co-branded timepieces to come.