*Provided by contributing editor Tom Mulraney*
It’s Monte-Carlo. The year is 1973.The atmosphere is electric, the scenery breathtaking and the people beautiful. All along the French Riviera expectant spectators, their breaths held in anticipation, crane their necks in the direction of the distant, glorious roar of innumerable high-powered vehicles thundering towards them at a tremendous pace. In front of their very eyes history is in the making.
This was the Monte-Carlo rally at its peak. An infinitely complex sporting competition held since 1911 between the French Alps and the French Riviera, attracting the greatest drivers from around the world.
This particular race, however, has a special significance in history’s pages for a number of reasons. 1973 marked the 42nd edition of the Monte-Carlo Rally and saw the launch of the new World Championship for car Brands. Perhaps fittingly the race itself was especially intense with no clear winner emerging until the final moments. After a grueling duel between Jean-Claude Andruet and Ove Andersson which lasted almost the entirety of the race, spectators witnessed a stunning finale.
Jean-Claude Andruet and Mademoiselle “Biche” won with their Alpine Renault A110 n°18. For the first time, a woman entered in the history of the rally as overall co-winner.
To pay tribute to this momentous occasion and in recognition of the brand’s association with the Monte-Carlo Historic Rally, Girard-Perregaux presents their new Fly-Back Chronograph. Designed with racing enthusiasts in mind it is a true sports watch and thanks to the fly-back function the traditional sequence of operations: stop-reset-start has been replaced by a single press of the push-piece. As is to be expected the Monte Carlo 1973 is equipped with a tachymeter scale engraved on the bezel which allows the user to calculate the speed of a body in motion. How often you will actually use this function is a different matter entirely, however, it is a foregone conclusion that this is a prerequisite for any serious sports watch.
The design, of itself, is not anything particularly striking and one could be forgiven for mistaking it for one of the numerous variations of the Omega Speedmaster. However, it is the little touches that make this piece an instant classic. Keeping true to its heritage the piece features a sapphire “Box” crystal and the style of the tachymeter scale engraved on the bezel is reticent of timepieces from the beginning of the 1970s. The dial also features subtle blue highlights which draw the eye without making the watch look gaudy and distinguish it from the countless other chronographs on the market.
The piece is finished off with a timeless black alligator strap with a folding buckle which in my eyes further heightens its appeal as so many chronographs these days are fitted with rubber straps, thus precluding them from more formal occasions.
As a final touch the dial has been personalized with the inscription “Monte-Carlo 1973” and the case-back is engraved with the winners’ number plate, the names of the car and its drivers.
Girard-Perregaux has a long and rich association with the racing industry and this piece is no exception. Designed for the discerning, upmarket buyer this is a classic timepiece that is just slightly different from the myriad of other chronographs on the market. And with a limited production of just 250 numbered edition pieces you can be fairly certain you won’t be seeing too many of these on the wrists of others.
The Girard-Perregaux Fly-Back Chronograph “Monte-Carlo 1973”: a fitting tribute to a most exceptional of races.
Stainless steel case
Diameter: 40.00 mm
Case-back secured by 7 screws
Water resistance: 30 meters
Girard-Perregaux movement GP0337A
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations/hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: minimum 46 hours
Alligator strap with folding buckle
Limited and numbered edition of 250 pieces
Presented in a case decorated with the “Automobile Club de Monaco” symbol