Girard-Perregaux continues its bold foray into new materials and haut-de-gamme complications with last week’s introduction of the Quasar Light, a follow-up to last year’s original Quasar timepiece that not only houses its skeltonized tourbillon movement in a transparent, sculpted sapphire case, but also uses sapphire for its iconic three bridges.
Limited to just 18 pieces, the Quasar Light — which based on its astronomically derived name appears to be continuing the Swiss manufacture’s “Earth to Sky” theme established in its 2019 collection — has its 46-mm case hewn from a single block of gleaming sapphire, a painstaking process that required more than 200 hours of work and hundreds of operations for each case. Box-shaped crystals in the front and back of the case offer a 360º view of the watch’s complex mechanism, whose sapphire-cut elements include the arrow-shaped Aerial Neo-Bridges that anchor the tourbillon (The original Quasar used blackened, sandblasted titanium for its bridges). The cage of the tourbillon, composed of 79 pieces, weighs only about 1/4 of a gram.
Among the non-sapphire components of the self-winding Caliber GP09400-1128 are the micro-rotor made of white gold, and the mainspring barrel for the movement’s 60-hour power reserve, displayed prominently in the front of the watch, which is made of ruthenium, a rare silvery-white metal from the platinum family. The micro-rotor features an engraving of eagle, a longtime emblem of the brand. The Dauphine hour and minute hands, another Girard-Perregaux specialty, are also made of white gold, skeletonized like the caliber, and treated with luminous material. Under these hands, the tourbillon appears to float freely in space, earning this watch its name “Quasar,” which refers to one of brightest, most highly luminous celestial objects.
The Quasar Light comes on a suitably shiny, lustrous strap made of metallic gray fabric and featuring tone-on-tone hand stitching; its triple-folding clasp is made of white gold. An additional black alligator strap is included with each watch. The extraordinarily limited timepiece carries an not-unexpectedly astronomical retail price of $294,000.