Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL Chronograph Watch Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL Chronograph Watch Hands-On

Hey watch makers, can you do me a little favor if it isn't too much to ask? Well you sometimes put the term "Vintage" in the name of a new watch. While it is possible that you - and probably I - know what you mean, a lot of people are going to be confused. This is especially true when the watch is meant to look a bit older in style. I don't think you are intentionally trying to confuse anyone, but a lot of consumers are going to look at your new watch with a "Vintage" name and think that it is merely a descriptive term indicating that the watches are in fact, "vintage." Which they aren't. Imagine for example that I put the term "Used" in the name of a new watch. People would be pretty reasonable in believing that I was selling something that was owned by someone else before. Thanks...

Anyhow, this is the great looking Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL Chronograph - and you already know how I feel about the name. Therefore, I am going to remove the "Vintage" part of the name for the rest of this article. It isn't actually "XXL" in size either either, but I don't feel like going on another rant. I am however OK with the "Chronograph" part of that name. That totally does makes sense. You know what is interesting? This watch actually comes with a steel bracelet option. I had no idea one was even available for this style of watch. I think that is pretty cool. It is a $1,500 option over the alligator leather strap, and I'd sure like to see it someday.

What I did get to play with was the steel on leather strap version of this curved-case timepiece. The square case is dramatically curved to fit nicely on your wrist. So much so that it is hard to imagine how they put a round mechanical chronograph movement in there - but they do. Inside the 1945 XXL Chronograph is an in-house made caliber GP03300 automatic chronograph movement with a power reserve of 46 hours. Sorry I missed getting shots of the caseback, but it does have a sapphire crystal exhibition window.

If you are wondering what Girard-Perregaux considers XXL to be, well then it is 36mm wide by 37mm tall. HUGE right? It does look good on the wrist and not too small given the squarish dimensions of the case... but those figures are not what most people would call "XXL" for a men's watch. I am trying to figure out why that part of the name is in there to be honest. The watch isn't large or small, but rather acceptably "normal." XL would be a bit of a stretch, but XXL?! Anyways.

For 2012 one of the new 1945 XXL models is this Chronograph, and it comes in steel or 18k pink gold. The symmetrical dial is beautiful, and I love the applied Breguet-style hour markers. In addition to a curved case, the dial and hands are also curved. It makes for a very interesting look when viewing the dial at angles. It also makes side legibility very good. The brushed face is very pretty, and the blued chronograph hands and little touch of red on the dial make the overall design appear very polished and refined. The final "nice touch" are the double recessed subdials. The design is beautifully classic, but the curved dial and square case are avant garde enough to prevent the 1945 XXL Chronograph from looking stale or boring.

There is another really nice, new for 2012, Girard-Perregaux 1945 XXL watch that I will hope to discuss soon. I was considering covering them both in this same article, but they are different enough to merit individual discussions. The Chronograph however is really a great piece and the bi-compax chronograph makes for a more attractive dial than some of the older triple register chronograph 1945 models. Certainly a winner and it is hard to argue that this is a great looker. Price for the steel version of the Vintage 1945 XXL Chronograph is $13,300 on the alligator strap, $14,800 on the steel bracelet, and $32,500 in 18k pink gold.

  • Zeitblom

    “it is hard to argue that this is a great looker”
    Agreed! It’s horrible.
    Sorry Mr Adams, can’t resist.

  • Kris C

    I don’t see how this could be found as ‘horrible’. There is nothing remarkable or polarizing here, nothing to take offence to. I like the bi-compax arrangement, but it would have been nice to see a 12-hour chronograph by using 2 hands in the minute register to count minutes and hours in the same dial, as seems to be catching on in nice movements (which I’m a fan of).
    Again, fairly vanilla here – if I have to complain, it will be with that awful marketing image, with the flat paper-white dial and MS-paint blue hands. Hope no one got paid more than $1 to put that together – what a sad way to try and sell a watch.

    • nateb123

      Kris C I love that the marketing image doesn’t even have the right subdial layout.  Check it out, the 30 minute and running second dials are switched.  Also the running seconds hand isn’t blue like in the picture since it’s not part of the chronograph.  In case anyone was wondering, I think it’s pretty clear that GP has some marketing issues.

  • dreamchrono

    I actually have a vintage 1945 gp with black dial and its beautiful really

  • Ulysses31

    I don’t like those curved elements on each lug.  It looks like a watch that has melted O_O.  If this watch were a person it’d be holding a cane and telling kids to get of its lawn.

  • nateb123

    Very nice.  I always appreciate a really curved shape like this.  They always come alive on the wrist like few other watches.  That said, I would still take a basic Franck Muller Cintree Curvex or Master Square watch over this.  Some may prefer that this is in between those two shapes though.

  • DG Cayse

    Classically elegant time piece representing a bye-gone era. Formal attire. Hat and gloves. French cuffs and gold links.  Silver cigarette case. Black tie, of course.
    Fred? Ginger? ….meet me at the Ritz!
    I love this watch. These rectangular curved watches are just beautiful!