Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

There is something uniquely special about a nicely executed, simple chronograph. At a time, when everything has to be explained, scrutinized and analyzed, every once in a while, it just feels sweet to be able to lean back and enjoy the perks of a job done well. Once you cut the whole "'70s vintage-inspired" malarkey, that is what you end up having with the Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph watch. Let us now explain, scrutinize, and analyze.

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Girard Perregaux Club Italia – Source: xupes.com
'70s Vintage Malarkey

I do genuinely wonder, is there any serious watch lover out there, today, in mid-2016, who'd suddenly get uncomfortable in their trousers because an old brand re-released a vintage-inspired watch with a new case and size and movement? Sure, there are numerous highly desirable classics out there that would make a huge splash if they were faithfully re-done today with modern manufacturing technology... But the Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale, as far as I know, is not based on any specific one of them. And that's a good thing.

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Just look at the trends of recent years: first, starting at the very dawn of the new millennium, there was the big watch craze, when a solid 10-15-year period of watches becoming ever larger and larger began. Then, more recently, we have been seeing vintage watch prices skyrocket to mind-bending levels, and with them, the release of, by now, innumerable vintage re-releases and vintage-inspired new-old watches from most major brands.

However, because the Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale was not, to my understanding, designed as an accurate tribute to any one specific vintage chronograph by Girard-Perregaux, it could concentrate on being a nice, timeless-looking watch in the here and now, as opposed to trying to make very, ahem, anal-retentive fans of this or that particular vintage reference happy.

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

In The Here And Now – The Looks

So. Sized at a highly immoral 42 millimeters wide, the Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale was designed with those aforementioned big-watch trends in mind, keeping it on the wearable, but more up-to-date side of things. If you want a fantastic vintage-inspired (duh!) chronograph at 38 millimeters, you need not look further than the El Primero Original 1969 (reviewed here) anyway.

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale will be available as four different references, including white- or black-dialed versions, each available on either a stainless steel bracelet, as seen here, or on brown or black alligator straps, respectively. No gold-cased version has been released yet.

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The case of the Competizione has in fact been inspired by GP chronographs of old – particularly the Club Italia – but, since it is so much larger and not designed to be a close tribute to anything specific, we need not sweat little historical details but can instead focus on enjoying this nicely balanced, perfectly round case and its long, gracefully curved lugs.

Speaking of lugs, they really are rather long, which makes the 42-millimeter case have more presence on the wrist. Aesthetically, they do work brilliantly, though, as they make the dial appear to be smaller, inching it towards a more traditional look, saving it from being yet another large, bold, sports chronograph.

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Considering the design of the dial – more on that in a bit – the only thing that stands out a bit from the case design are the piston pushers of the chronograph, flanking the large, and in fact a bit sharp, GP-marked crown. I understand that it would have been a further diversion from original designs, but looking at the Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph I tend to imagine how some more massive-looking screw-down pushers would have complemented the design...

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Piston pushers are cool and all, but they are more of a safe bet as far as design choices go, often found on much more conservatively styled watches. It does not look out of place, and is very much down to personal preference, but I would have enjoyed seeing a more robust-looking set of screw-down pushers. It also arguably would have helped raise the rather shabby 30-meter water resistance rating to something more from the 21st century – even luxury chronographs, and especially on a bracelet, should sport a 100-meter rating, allowing one to not have to worry so much about water entering by the pushers or seals elsewhere.

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Despite the 42mm width and the chronograph movement, the Competizione Stradale's smooth case slides under shirt sleeves with ease.
Wearability

We already mentioned the long, curved lugs, which do make the Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph wear rather large when compared to some other 42-millimeter-sized watches – but 42 millimeters remains a relatively modest size, so everyone - even those with a wrist as small as mine at 6.75" - should have no problem getting a comfortable fit. As any quality-made steel watch on a steel bracelet, there is considerable heft to the Competizione Stradale, an authentic match to the more classical design.

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The bracelet is impressive in its simplicity: a three-link design with polished outer, and brushed inner links. When on the wrist, the outside of the links feels perfectly smooth to the touch, a most appreciated, sensible choice to go with the sportier case and dial design. While the larger surface on the outside and inside of the links are buttery smooth, the inner, shorter edges of the links (the sides which fall in between the links on the "underside" of the bracelet) are rather sharp. It is nothing irritating, let alone dangerous, but I wish every last angle and edge of the bracelet were as smooth as its larger surfaces.

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

What is irritating though is that when I took the bracelet off the Girard Perregaux Competizione Stradale, I had to find that for some hard-to-justify reason the holes in the lugs have been drilled to a spot so close to the case that it is literally impossible to fit a leather or NATO strap of any kind to it. The endlink's design may have necessitated this, but then it would have been more than thoughtful from GP to add an extra hole inside the lugs that would have allowed for the fitting of a strap. This also means that the strap and bracelet options of the Competizione Stradale are not interchangeable.

Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The double-folding clasp is thin and is beautifully integrated into the bracelet itself – no protruding element to annoy you, the links merge seamlessly in the center, with a subtle, engraved GP logo and the two small pushers marking the location of the bracelet's opening. No protruding clasp is a plus when desk diving, but is a minus for the lack of a micro adjust – you can operate with half-sized links to get the perfect fit and that's it.

The crown has a threaded, screw-down design – a weird choice for a watch with a mere 30-meter WR rating. Fortunately, the crown is easy to unscrew and tighten, even when the watch is on the wrist – in case you realize the time needs to be adjusted after you have already put it on. The large crown with its fluted edge adds both a sportier, as well as a somewhat flashier look to this timeless chronograph – I quite like how it works with the classical, round case, and it makes we want those screw-down pushers even more.

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (1)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Classy (0)
  • I love it! (0)
  • I want it! (0)
  • MEddie90

    It’s an attractive watch (especially those beautiful lugs) no doubt but at that 10k price point it’s got a lot of competition. The Zenith el Primero and Omega Speedmaster both significantly undercut this in terms of price as well as offering a more iconic story and distinctive aesthetic in both cases. Plus at only a little more you could be looking at a nice steel Daytona (or a little less if you’re willing to go second hand).

    Commendable effort by GP but I cant see this being top of my to buy list.

    • The Old Watcheroo

      Shiny Links = Deal Breaker

  • Chaz

    Sorry…interest was lost at “Girard Perregaux”.

    • Beefalope

      That’s you and the vast majority of the rest of the watch world. GP simply does nothing of particular distinction under the $20k level .

      • DanW94

        Their Vintage 1945 XXL line is attractive. This art deco styled Moonphase with the smoked sapphire dial reviewed here a while back is especially nice for under 20. Lots to like from that line….

        • David Bredan

          Good point! We’ve actually done a review of the same piece with a blue dial: https://www.ablogtowatch.com/girard-perregaux-vintage-1945-xxl-large-date-moon-phases-watch-review/

        • egznyc

          Yeah, that’s a stunner! I don’t really see myself dropping $16k on any watch – unless I fall into a windfall – but this is an attractive and different look.

          • DanW94

            I agree, it’s still a bit pricey at 16k, but you could probably pick it for much less at this point. I really like it, but regardless, still way out of my price range!

          • egznyc

            Right with you. For that kind of cash, you can also get a very nice dress Vacheron Constantine or even a gold JLC … not quite as daring but still very attractive (not that I’m about to get any one of these, but one can dream).

  • word-merchant

    Perhaps it’s just a difficult watch to photo, but this Girard-Perregaux just looks cheap. Really cheap. The strap looks like one of those 1970s pressed steel ones so loved by Seiko, and the case dimensions look somewhat Swatchy to my eyes. Oh and I don’t like the red hands. But apart from all of that, and the ludicrous price, count me a fan.

    • David Bredan

      Thanks for your comment! As I mention in the review, the bracelet genuinely is high quality, but the high polish make that more difficult to capture. It is incomparably better than anything stamped on lower priced watches. All solid links and nicely finished too – hope this clarifies:)

  • proudAmerican702

    Don’t sweat the “nerd alert” regarding the color of the hands, David. That flaw immediately caught my eye, even before I started reading the story. I totally agree with your assessment that the colors for timekeeping and chronograph functions should match.

    And regarding the hands, they all look very cheap to me, and the shapes are way too “casual” for a $10,000 luxury chrono.

  • Oh. My. God. Becky. Look at that bracelet!!!

    • Berndt Norten

      You like big bracelets and you cannot lie…

  • G Street

    Christ that was dull…
    The exciting story behind this watch is how GP’s chief designer died in ’92 but how someone covered it up and continued to draw his salary.

    • The Old Watcheroo

      Just wait for the All-black version 🙂

  • BNABOD

    I think it looks good. that gray brushed dial looks really nice w a splash of red for the hands.- conservative designer sporty. I am not a bracelet darling so I would much rather this one on a nice leather strap or w a bracelet w some sort of adjustment to it aside from removing links. At 10k though it is a really tough sell and there is very serious competition knowing u can get el primeros for around 5k and not to mention the Daytona. If one could get this one for around 4-5 the it would be a good offering but at 10k you are really asking for it and resale would be rather painful.

  • srs144

    Love the look of the watch and dial! Price point means it’s a no go

  • simon

    The latest GP watches just seem to look like they are put together by whatever is in the Parts Bin. David – perhaps you can photoshop the hands to match accordingly as well and resend to GP. It’s astonishing that a luxury watch brands designers cannot get that right.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Am starting to glaze over when i see pieces like this now , they are soooooooooo boring, knobbly and pointy, it’s driving me nuts. I could show you a 1000 watches that are better made, read clearer, and for 10k considerably cheaper and everyone knows what i feel about a chronograph. This offering is completely uninspired and boring. Not even a bit of Mars dust is gonna help this. ” timeless look ” ?. So what if it’s a Girard-Perregaux………. Lead, don’t follow.

  • Framlucasse

    The H& M hands are really ugly.
    And 10K$ for this, what a joke… for this money, one can buy a Speed + a El Primero.

    • You can probably buy some speed as well

  • laup nomis

    When I first saw the picture, I thought it looked like a 70-80’s Seiko. I love my mass produced Seiko’s, they’re great fun and great beaters. But using this ‘dad watch’ style on a $10000 watch, silly.

  • funkright

    This Girard-Perregaux chrono definitely doesn’t look like it should command the SRP they’re putting forth. Honestly, the only Girard-Perregaux’s worth owning would be the World Traveller or Worldtime watch (I cannot take credit for the picture attached). It’s complication and construction actually commands its price.

  • cluedog12

    A lot of watch people (read: me) won’t give this watch a fair shake.

    The people who will pay $10,000 for a classically styled chronograph care about movement architecture. Where is the integrated chronograph movement?

    The conglomerate brands have them. The El Primero, the FP 1185 (Blaincpain something something), the Omega 9300, the Glashutte Cal 37, etc.

    Life and business are sometimes unfair. GP has waited too long to invest in a proper movement.

    In a “good enough” compromise, GP already has a stunning hand-wound chronograph movement, the GP 3800. It’s probably a bit too fine to price at $9500. At $14,500 or even $17,500 it is still an appealing product for purists though.

    Movement:

    http://ablogtowatch.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Girard_Perregaux_1966_Integrated_Chrono-10.jpg

    • Chaz

      Interesting. Nice pic.

  • Dean Fox

    To my eyes, this watch resembles the department store brands like Michael Kors, that sell for a few hundred dollars, usually with a quartz movement. The folks at companies like GP need to get out in the real world and realize that next to no one outside of Switzerland knows or cares about their brand, or has even heard of it before. The result is that the prestige they assume would justify the prices they ask simply does not exist for the vast majority of the world’s population. This is why Rolex and Omega spend so much in brand marketing (F1, Olympics, etc.), and as a result of that investment, they will survive the current downturn while high-end brands like GP will shrivel and die. And on a personal note, that 30m rating is just no longer competitive and a deal killer – even my Omega Speedmaster 9300 has a 100m rating, a great brand history and a lower MSRP.

    • imageWIS

      Asia is GP’s only saving grace. I like the brand a lot, but wold NEVER buy one of their watches from an AD… it would make sense to take a pile of money and throw it in a fire.

      • Dean Fox

        Yes, and it is probably a slowdown of sales in Asia that has resulted in the dramatic drop in exports of Swiss luxury brands. As in the past, the weaker brands will be sold or closed.

        • imageWIS

          GP needs an entire corp revamp, from the products, to the marketing, to the management, to the distribution if they are going to survive… esp. since this month it was revealed that the US is again the number one importer of Swiss watches…!

          • Dean Fox

            They will get the revamp from the next owner of the brand, not from this crew.

          • imageWIS

            IDK if Kering is going to sell the brand any time soon… They are making enough money from the fashion brands that they can keep on throwing money into the black pit that is GP.

          • Chaz

            Maybe they can sell to Invicta

      • Chaz

        Asia??? Really? I must be missing something. For all my trips to Asia (usually twice a year) I have NEVER seen anyone wearing G-P. I usually ride the MTR frequently in Hong Kong and that’s always a cornucopia of “watches in the wild” sightings and NEVER have I seen G-P.

        In mainland China? Fuggedibout it.

        Japan? Nope.

        Must be somewhere truly exotic…Seriously…I’d like to know!

        • benjameshodges

          What do you see? For London commuting, I see Rolex Sub/GMT/Daytona, Omega Seamaster Pro/PO and Speedmaster Pro, Panerai Luminor, IWC Big Pilot and Breitling Navitimer. Mostly steel/titanium watches with bracelets and automatic movements.

          • Timestandsstill

            I would say that that is a very succinct and accurate list of watches seen in the wild almost anywhere (in my experience anyway which is North America).

    • egznyc

      … AND a coaxial escapement. And pretty swirly decoration 😉

  • Beefalope

    These are … fine …. I guess?

    There’s really just nothing inspiring here — not the design, not the finishing, not the movement, nothing. It’s a lot of money for what looks like a pretty basic watch, and at this kind of price point, there are a lot of better options out there. Why would anyone get one of these, for instance, when they could get an El Primero or a Speedy for less?

    And, by the way, these things will take an absolute beating on the secondary market. All watches depreciate, but GP watches plummet on a whole different level.

    • imageWIS

      That’s entirely GP’s fault for running the company into the ground for the last 20+ years.

    • egznyc

      Maybe I’m not immune to the marketing and hype, I’m only human, but I totally agree. The Zenith or Speedy are just iconic chronos and I’d be a whole lot happier with either one.

  • Larry Holmack

    Nice article David…and I agree with others about the bracelet not looking all that great in the photographs…but I understand that some things are more difficult to photograph than others….so I will take you at your word that the bracelet is really nice. Too bad the watch itself doesn’t do anything to distinguish itself as being a $10,000 watch.

  • Flávio Maia

    Expensive…

  • imageWIS

    Considering that Breilting now has the B01 in-house column-wheel with vertical clutch chrono movement for about the same price as this (the Breitling is also overpriced), speaks volumes at just how much GP is ripping clients off. The base movement on this watch is a good one, but it’s nothing compared to what AP and VC are offering and GP’s abysmal resale value demonstrates this.

  • Girard Perregaux is one of those brands that always shows up on eBay for like 70 percent off MSRP. Their vintage Seahawks are nifty, but I can’t see anyone dropping 10 large on this over a Breitling or Speedy.

    • Chaz

      In ADs brand new, 30-40% off is not unheard of…

      Even more when they’re blowing out unsold inventory. Which seems to be a G-P trait.

      • okulus

        I have seen 80% off MSRP on NOS GP. Their pricing structure undermines the confidence buyers have in the brand’s value. It would be a nightmare for ADs, both the skepticism of buyers and the inventory issues. It is a shame, given their haute pieces like the constant force escapement are genuinely on the cutting edge of watch invention, and the 1966 series are classical in their restraint and of excellent quality. At their best, they are at or above the level of JLC, but this particular watch really isn’t at the level of much lesser brands (thinking Speedmaster Mark II). The base movement is very good, though.

  • Lawrence

    Woooooow beautiful watch, I can say that I’d buy this 10 times before buying a Daytona. Excellent

  • otaking241

    The problem is, once GP drops a watch in the price bracket where they’d be competitive they immediately become a “cheap” brand, and won’t be able to shop their higher-end offerings, many of which are pretty fantastic, at the prices they need to. They also haven’t invested in the marketing to make themselves an aspirational brand for most people, even those who are into watches and might otherwise be interested in a watch like the one reviewed here. The customers they’re making these for just don’t exist.

    Nice case and dial, cheap ugly bracelet, absolute garbage handset. Swing-and-a-miss.

    • Beefalope

      I don’t understand why so many watch companies across price points have problems with handsets. Unless we’re talking about Grand Seiko or ALS, I can’t think of a single company that has been immune to producing lousy hands from time to time.

    • okulus

      Bracelet needs a re-do, or just put it on a strap. Seiko is the bracelet benchmark, FWIW.

  • Willy Chu

    “One thing that has occupied my mind a lot of the time while wearing the Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale Chronograph was how the all-black and all-white dial options highlight what I consider to be a missed opportunity: a nice panda dial version.”

    I totally agree. But Girard-Perregaux copying Breitling? This is my TransOcean Limited Edition which came out in 2010 for around $8,000. Quite a resemblance.

    “But the Girard-Perregaux Competizione Stradale, as far as I know, is not based on any specific one of them.” Hmmm…really?

    • Chaz

      Your Breitling is the better watch, IMO

      • benjameshodges

        And the Breitling has an in-house chronograph movement with 60 hour power reserve!

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I would like to meet one of the executives of the company that make this watch or drop a message to the blog. Find out what their thinking about it was, what their target audience was, where they got their inspiration and finally how they came to that price.

    • mtnsicl

      Have you not even a little sense of class?

      • Chaz

        And you are the arbiter of what’s “class”??

        • mtnsicl

          Don’t ask unless you know me!

          • Chaz

            I need to ask to recognize a D-B?

          • mtnsicl

            D-B?

          • Raymond Wilkie

            I would like to know too

          • Probably “douchebag”

    • okulus

      They sought a 1960s retro look and feel, mushroom pushers, round polished steel case, traditional tri-compax dial arrangement. The target audience was a buyer who wanted something other than a Speedmaster for less money or a Daytona for more but wanted a decorated movement, a display back. The same buyer might have shopped Longines in the day, but now might cross-shop Jaeger-Lecoultre. Considering the in-house movement and the level of finishing done, the price is high but not ridiculously high. With the common discounts in the market, it could likely be had very reasonably.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        If this watch had never seen the light of day, it wouldn’t be missed.

        • okulus

          OK, but I suppose you could say that about any watch, except perhaps the Reverso.

  • Boss Wang

    Very good looking time piece. Very good pictures accompanyimg the review.

  • mtnsicl

    White dial + Black sub-dials + custom leather = one sweet watch!

    • okulus

      GP has done that already with the Monte Carlo 1967, and they added a GMT dial.

      • arcadelt

        …and the Monte-Carlo 1973 which looks even more like the mockup, because it doesn’t have the GMT sub dial.

  • Sarthak Sharma

    In about a year, this will be available for pickup at your nearest unauthorized gray market website for around 5k, as per the rest of GP’s tremendously depreciating timepieces.

  • SuperStrapper

    Meh, pass. It doesn’t look anywhere near as exclusive as the price suggests. The finishing on the bracelet looks cheap, actually. Hopefully that is just the photos and not how it would appear irl. The movement looks nice, but the presentation is awful with that huge caseback. The dial and handset are boring, and no sport watch of any kind should have a mere 30m of water resistance unless it’s found on ebay for $20.

    • okulus

      Your comment on the bracelet finish is noted, it isn’t at the same level as a Rolex GMT Master, when for the price there should be no difference. (FWIW, Seiko does much better than either in their Grand Seiko line, for a third of the price) As for the polish and bushed combination, I have no objection, as it looks less utilitarian than an all-brushed bracelet and less flashy than an all-polished one. The movement looks small because it is used across the GP line, including in their 38mm dress watches and their earlier Tonneaus. If there is any consolation, it is a phenomenal performer.

  • Simon_Hell

    If you threw all the watches in the world at some MiT computer and asked it to create the absolute global average watch look, this would be it. It just doesn’t get any more generic than this. This is a perfect rendition of ‘a watch’ for a toddlers book. Was that the intent?

    • okulus

      Generic? That’s kind of harsh. Maybe there is something to the fact that among all the possible ways to create a chronograph design so many come back to a round face, three subdial, center sweep with two side pushers design. Others have been tried and just don’t have the same longevity. Maybe it seems ordinary, but the ergonomics are there and it works well.

  • okulus

    It is a nice looking watch and a good and fair review. The dark-matte dial color and finish are a better ergonomic choice with the polished and lumed stick hands, easier to read at a glance than earlier versions of the (nearly) same watch like the Monte Carlo 1967. As you note, consistency in the needle colors of the chronograph dials–central second, 30-minute and hours counter–would have given a little consistency and ergonomic order, something Omega does with its Speedmaster chronographs. The Dubois-Depraz module is noted, which adds to the thickness of the overall movement in a way an integrated column wheel might not, but GPs commitment to the 3300 series movement–which is commendable as it is such a reliable and accurate performer–makes the tradeoff worthwhile.

  • Alperen Sever

    I think it’s a nice looking watch. As David said, it’s design is timeless.Classic.
    GP is one of the brands which deserves more interest. So I’m happy with the price and the watch..
    With their bridge tourbillon watches they were a bit, ultra hi-end. It’s like, accessible to the public watch 🙂

  • The Old Watcheroo

    GP @ Baselworld 2017: Three Bridges………..quartz!!