Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton Watch Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton Watch Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton Watch Hands-On Hands-On

2016 is a special year for Girard-Perregaux because it is the year the manufacture celebrates its 225th anniversary. This makes it one of the oldest watch brands in the world. To celebrate this momentous milestone, Girard-Perregaux has boldly deconstructed one of its most popular watches, the 1966 to come up with this cool new Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton.

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The "art of skeletonization" surely needs no introduction to most longtime watch fans. When done right – because there is no shortage of horrendously and cheaply executed specimens out there – it should provide a unique look into the construction of the movement, without sacrificing legibility, styling, or wearability. From design to execution, skeletonization is a very time consuming process indeed – for both aesthetic, as well as structural reasons.

The former is rather obvious: you wouldn't want to end up with a design monstrosity that tries too hard to impress; the latter on the other hand is another important factor to consider as it affects the movement's reliability and durability. Whatever is left from the skeletonized movement must remain strong enough to withstand the rigors of daily wear.

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton is, of course, based on the brand’s very popular 1966 collection. Watches in this collection are distinguishable by their genuinely classic, but uniquely rounded and slim designs, as well as their simple but impressive approach to watchmaking. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Chronograph (reviewed here), or the 1966 Ultra-Slim (reviewed here) do a great job at illustrating what the core collection is all about.

So, when it comes to this Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton version, things do look a bit inside out – but there is nothing wrong with that. Its 38mm-wide and just 9.27mm-thick case in 18k rose gold looks effortlessly elegant and wears equally so – as the shots by our James Stacey testify – while the heavily skeletonized movement further enforces that vibe with its beautifully curved bridges and cutouts.

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton Watch Hands-On Hands-On

That impressive thinness is also courtesy of this skeletonized version of Girard-Perregaux’s in-house caliber GP1800. Notably, this is used in lieu of the GP3300 that is also frequently used by GP. The simple reason for this choice of caliber is the fact that the GP1800 movement is a considerable 3.7mm wider, measuring roughly 30mm, so it fills up the case more fully. The GP3300 caliber, on the other hand, is a smaller movement that measures 26.2mm – imagine the amount of space the watch would have if this smaller caliber were used instead. Despite the movement’s thinness, it beats at 4Hz, and its single barrel provides more than 54 hours of power reserve.

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As you would expect from a skeletonized watch, the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton has a sapphire caseback to allow owners to marvel at the movement underneath. The skeletonized GP1800 within, which consists of 173 components, has been thoroughly finished with chamfered edges and a mixture of satin and brushed finishing. The skeletonized GP1800 movement also appears as a sheen of gray because it has been treated with anthracite gray ruthenium using a galvanic process. It’s a great look that juxtaposes superbly with the rose gold case.

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Upon closer inspection, one can also spot gold elements within the movement itself. The balance wheel, for instance, is gold and so is the oscillating weight. The oscillating weight has also been skeletonized to fit in with the overall aesthetics of the watch. Also in gold are the leaf-style hour, minute, and running seconds hands, as well as the hour markers. Skeletonized watches are often quite hard to read, but thanks to the use of gold in the hands and the anthracite gray ruthenium-treated movement, legibility isn’t too much of an issue.

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Available with a hand-stitched black alligator strap with matching rose gold pin buckle, the new Girard-Perregaux 1966 Skeleton is a handsome take on the brand's own classic 1966 dress watch. Though certainly pricey, the extensive amount and skeletonization and hand-applied decoration on the movement's plates and bridges helps justify the cost – while the 38mm size and overall classical styling will make help make this one a timeless piece that should last longer aesthetically than many others of its skeletonized counterparts. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 is priced at $55,400. girard-perregaux.com

  • Sure is a beauty. Wish they would produce a Constant Escapement watch with the same aesthetics. Sort of odd to have “1791” (debut) date on a “1966” line watch, oh well. Interesting placement of the seconds hand and nice asymmetrical skeletonization of the gold rotor. Very swoopy looking.

  • I_G

    I don’t want to see the hairs under my watch.

    • IanE

      Yes it is such a dilemma – invisibility seems to be the only satisfactory solution! At least in this case (sic) the price means I don’t have to wonder if I could bear the wrist views for the sake of the movement views.

  • JimBob

    What’s with all the lo-viz hands this week?

    • john coleman

      Agree. Can’t take those hands.

  • Roman

    The hands reflect light poorly. Facets would make them more visible.

    • IanE

      Heat-blued hands might work too and would, I think, work well with this colour scheme.

  • Marius

    I like this watch, but in my opinion, it best exemplifies the problem of this brand: GP has a quality level similar to JLC, yet charges prices similar to Audemars and Vacheron. Just look at the Laureato watches–they are nice, but way too overpriced, given the quality level and the brand prestige.

    Looking at this watch, especially at the macro-shots, doesn’t really give me the impression that this watch is worth over $55,000. Moreover, for around $44,000 (so, $12,000 LESS), you can buy the Audemars Royal Oak Double Balancier, which has a nicer skeletonized movement and features two balance wheels.

    • iamcalledryan

      Although you are comparing steel with rose gold I would be all over that steel AP if I had a 50k skeleton budget.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Am fed up with all the skeletonisation nonsense. This is the worst example of legibility i’ve seen in a long time. I just dont know what there thinking coming up with this.Its bad enough during the day, after dawn it’s completely useless………………..crazy.

  • iamcalledryan

    Looks really lovely, and I have no problem with legibility on skeletons, but it would be nice to see whether the aesthetic isn’t compromised by some more conspicuous hands.

    My main concern with this little beauty is that seconds hand. It just seems too close to the central pinion, i.e. not subsidiary enough.

    • Mark Baran

      Ditto on both points. Fire blued hands would have been nice.

  • SuperStrapper

    Are we etting close to Hallowe’en? There seem to be a lot of skeletons around lately…

  • Allan

    It is a beautiful watch but its ruined by the hands. Reading the time could be difficult in certain light. It needs a little more contrast which they should really have thought through before a release/

  • BNABOD

    all good but the hands just disappear in the dial. shame really would have been a decent looking skeleton.

  • wallydog2

    I wonder if the designers of skeletonized watches need to make the hands “outstanding”. All that visual diversion/distraction sometimes makes telling the time at a glance a little challenging.

  • GalaxyGuy

    Interesting watch. I like the modern twist on the skeletonization that GP has executed here. I’m on the fence about the hands.

    Not sure why all the fuss about legibility of the thing. No one is buying a skeleton watch because of the legibility, IMHO. One buys a skeletonized watch for the cool factor, and this watch certainly has that. For my money there are many, many other skeleton watches out there that are more interesting that this one, I don’t think GP has entirely missed the mark on this.

  • srs144

    When they decide on price, the execs at GP seem to misread their first letter in the firm’s initials and think it’s an A

  • Sevenmack

    Gorgeous skeleton. Would be better in stainless steel with blue or even red hands. But overall, a nice effort.

  • FrankD51

    Nice design and execution but, whoa, $55k? That’s crazy, there are much nicer units out there for less money, and we all know how G-P’s prices are on the secondary market…..horrendous. I prefer skeletonized movements to show a lot of hand cutting, engraving, polishing, to show the various arts necessary to produce such a watch. These CDC cut watches look soulless and sterile.

    • Marius

      You are right about the value of GP on the secondary market. As a famous watch guru argued, on the secondary market GP is soft as shit in the hot summer sun.

  • CoolBox

    GP’s designers really need a smack on their heads. They come up with a stunning watch, and then ruin the whole thing by placing a MASSIVE GP logo at 12 o’oclock. Seriously, wtf?

  • Ted E. Bear

    Take a classical piece, and then (bizarrely) try and ‘Hublot it up’ with a ridiculous GP sign up top!

  • Mike Burdine

    I would like it better in anything but rose gold. I realize many will disagree but stainless would be my first choice. That would also help tame the $55k price tag.

  • Boron

    Love many a GP, and the regular ’66 can be viewed as pretty good value compared to what you’ll pay for a similar looking Calatrava, but there’s two things fundamentally wrong with this model in particular.
    1. It’s utterly pointless skeletonising a sub-dial seconds based movement, without some reference points or a complete track.
    2. $55K? GTFO!

  • word-merchant

    Please I beg you: no more skeleton dials! Getting very bored of these, they all look identical now.

  • funNactive

    Nicely designed Skeleton watch & great size @ 38mm – it will last past the fad of the uber-sized giganto sized watches.