Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

At SIHH 2017, I enjoyed seeing the interesting new Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Automatic Titanium watch - that takes an aesthetic concept the brand began a few years ago and makes it just that much more accessibly priced (but still pretty high-end). Luxury watch brands have been pushing to release more models with appealing and distinctive "high-tech" designs that don't cost over $50,000 (or $100,000). Again, that doesn't make them what you might consider affordable, but compare the $150,000-plus Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon from 2014 (hands-on here) with this 2017 Neo Bridges that comes in just under $25,000. Two peas from arguably the same pod, but one is just a lot more practical.

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

When Girard-Perregaux released the Neo Tourbillon, the idea was to create a more contemporary take on the brand's iconic Three Bridges Tourbillon which has been a mainstay of its modern upper-high-end collection. The impetus was a lovely pocket watch the brand debuted at a fair in Paris in the late 19th century.

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Three Bridges Tourbillon is a rather classic look, but one that shows off the movement in a way fitting for today's tastes. The Neo Tourbillon was all about adapting the lines and movement finishing (as well as the hands, case, and overall design) with a more modern look. In Girard-Perregaux's own words, the Neo Tourbillon and now the Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges are "retro-futuristic."

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

What's new for 2017 is the removal of the tourbillon - making the overall watch a lot more affordable. What you get now is a more practical movement, but one that in many ways retains the visual pop that collectors came to enjoy in the Three Bridges and now the Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges collection. In truth, this is very much a "lifestyle watch." It attempts to capture the lifestyle of loving mechanical watches, with being firmly committed to enjoying contemporary design, and also liking to show both of those things off. There is no particular technical feature or material that Girard-Perregaux is trying to show off here. This is just a "cool" watch that looks "neat" and represents a nice alternative from the norm. If anything, Girard-Perregaux is seeking those who want to wear something "different" yet high-end, and have the means to afford it.

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

If the 2017 reference 84000-21-001-BB6A Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Automatic Titanium watch is successful, then you can be sure Girard-Perregaux will release more styles. With the debut model, they go a bit trendy with an all-dark and gray model in a brushed titanium case with a mostly matte and brushed surface dial. Gray certainly goes with everything, and here Girard-Perregaux is sticking with more subtle finishing in the hopes that onlookers will give the dial close attention.

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

There are times that people complain that they see a face on a watch dial. I reject this as an objection because the most recognizable things on the planet are faces, and it's just how our minds work (the word for the psychological phenomenon being Pareidolia). If you want to give a mechanical watch more character then it can make a lot of sense to put eyes and a mouth on the dial. Girard-Perregaux seemingly intentionally designed the Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges with a mainspring barrel and automatic rotor that look like eyes, bridges that look like cheeks, a regulation system that looks like a mouth, and even a sort of mustache. The dial is really quite expressive if you imagine it as being the visage of some sort of mechanical man (which it kind of is). The hands aren't the paragon of legibility, but they are prominent enough and not too difficult to spot when looking to read the time - and the dial (thankfully) has hour and minute markers to improve its function as an actual timepiece.

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Given that this is a watch meant to be shown off, the case is 45mm wide but not too thick at 12.18mm. The industrial finishing on the case helps make it look a bit more modern, and the rounded shape is where the more classic part comes in. It's comfy on the wrist and doesn't necessarily wear all that large given the design of the lugs. Over the dial is a typically well-done AR-coated sapphire crystal and the case is water-resistant to 30 meters. Attached to the case is a matte-finished dark gray alligator strap with a matching titanium buckle.

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Inside the Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges watch is the Girard-Perregaux in-house-made caliber GP08400 (GP08400-0001) automatic movement. It's meant to be shown off, though it doesn't have any particular standout technical feature. The movement uses a micro-rotor, the position of which is perhaps the most interesting technical part of the movement. The movement appears to have two mainspring barrels (overall power reserve is 50 hours) but it actually has one mainspring barrel with the micro-rotor adjacent to it on the dial side. Looking at the rear of the watch, you could easily mistake it as being manually wound and not an automatic. The visible balance wheel operates with a frequency of 3Hz (21,600bph) - which makes it nicer to watch. Since 4Hz movements have a higher frequency it is not as easy to watch them move.

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The 208-piece movement is attractive with its carefully architected look. PVD and NAC coatings make for the various color finishings, and overall it's a neat movement to look at under the hour and minute hands. The balance wheel is held with a signature Girard-Perregaux "arrow bridge" done in black. The balance wheel is relatively large (for visibility purposes) being a bit over 10mm wide. Turning the watch over, at 6 o'clock on the dial is printed "1791" which Girard-Perregaux says is the year the brand got started... though I don't think they were making anything like this back then.

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Fun to look at and ideally fun to wear, the Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges Automatic Titanium reference 84000-21-001-BB6A is a decently cool watch with a lot of personality produced with high-quality typical of the Swiss Girard-Perregaux brand. Their job will be to imbue the watch with enough personality and marketing that the right people will find out about it - and not just us hardcore watch nerd media members who make it to tradeshows like SIHH and traditional watch stores. Price for the Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges is $24,000. girard-perregaux.com

What do you think?
  • I love it! (26)
  • Interesting (10)
  • Thumbs up (5)
  • I want it! (3)
  • Classy (2)
  • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    Technically nice; but a bit complicated for actual everyday wear I’ll say.
    Good review and explanation – still not sure where the rotor feature for auto-winding is though.

    • ProJ

      See the 2 circles, on the dial side, at 10 and 2 o’clock?

      The rotor is the one on the left.

      • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

        Ah yes, I see it hiding there. Thank You.

  • CognacSocialist

    This is actually a really cool watch. (I do not ordinarily like GP’s designs.) The finishing is modern and interesting, even if the hands are somewhat illegible. The pricing is also attractive. That said, prospective buyers would be well advised to snap this up on the grey market for 2/3 of face value. Sadly, the grey market is the inevitable destination of all GP models.

    • cluedog12

      Or wait patiently ten years and you may be able to pick one up at auction for the price of a Rolex Sub.

      This is the very type of watch I’d like to see succeed at the retail counter. It’s a bonafide halo watch that is accessible to the tip of the bourgeois.

  • Nice, but then I always like Arnold & Son watches. Wait…oh…I see…this is a GP. Well still nice.

  • Yanko

    Fascinating review but maybe the time to close down the GP factory has come.

  • MEddie90

    While a majority of GP’s don’t really appeal to me I have always loved the three golden bridges, in-fact if I could have any pocketwatch I’d be stuck between and golden bridges and the Breguet no.2175 or 2567. It’s nice to see that they are continuing on with a more modern interpretation.

    Though i’d prefer a regular, simple dial with the bridges on the back i think the overall aesthetic is nice, the new bridges are attractive and the micro rotor is really nicely integrated into the concept as a whole (thought it was a second barrel at first). The price is pretty darn reasonable too, for the money I think you’d struggle to find another watch with this level of individuality, and finish (aside from some offerings by Arnold and son of course).

    Edit, The hand design is not my favorite and I just noticed they seem a little rough around the edges, seems a shame given the effort put into the movement.

  • IanE

    I wish the minute hand reached the minute markers – and if it were pvd coated it might be more legible without spoiling the colour scheme?

  • IG

    Look ma no bridges! Actually one of the few skeletons not overdone with engraving the remaining surfaces. Good job.

  • A really lovely watch, the only similarly-styled skeleton that would divert attention is the A&S Nebula.

    • Lincolnshire Poacher

      Yup, me likely too. And agree about the A&S, another friendly faced skelly.

  • Marius

    According to this article: “Luxury watch brands have been pushing to release more models with appealing and distinctive “high-tech” designs.”

    I’m very sorry, but the Girard-Perregaux three-bridge design is not exactly new or high-tech. In fact, it’s quite old. In fact, the three-bridge layout was first used in a GP pocket watch produced around 1890. For more information, Hodinkee published an interesting article https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/two-incredible-pocket-watches-from-girard-perregaux-including-a-tourbillon-with-three-bridges-over-150-y
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f8c9f56168ae4e8fdb5265d50ccd502789ea860dc86f09f7a8c7200893122551.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5681b8df8464322d9e80e49ed9536ede7b936c2d4dc631d509fe3fce02791674.jpg

    • Using bridges on a movement is a fundamental concept. The image above actually supports the statement that GP have been recently making the appeal and aesthetic of the three bridge format more “high tech”. I do not think GP needed to transcend the requirement to fix their wheels to the movement in order to make a more contemporary effect. The name Neo Bridges gives you enough information to know that they are making the bridges new, not removing them.

  • SuperStrapper

    I enjoy the finishing techniques here, those blasted finishes actually go a long way to NOT throw the open worked aesthetic in your face, as so many of these watches do with flashy/glossy finishing. Maybe my biggest gripe is the handset, specifically their dimensions. I don’t mind the exaggerated widths, but they only serve to really pronounce the miss they have on length. Both minute and hour hands are too short.

    Also, the surprised robot needs some sleep, he has awful bags under his eyes.

    • It looks to my like his cheeks have raised due to the shape he is making with his mouth 😮

      • Lincolnshire Poacher

        It looks like he’s had a particularly arduous, and very ‘indepth’ session with the proctologist.

  • Mischa Vladivostok

    It’s cool, and surprisingly not too expensive (I didn’t say “affordable”). But it really must be a pain to tell the time. The more I look at these photos, the more I just see the text on the barrel and the rotor, particularly the letters that seem selected by the skeleton hands. That would drive me insane (and there are far cheaper ways to do that).

  • BrJean

    I really like the symmetry of rotor and barrel. If only they could move balance wheel closer to the center of the dial and make all these elements having the same diameter… Then we would see a perfect triangle!

  • Berndt Norten

    Extra Extra read all about it!

    Billy Bob is back in black

    Been gone too long

    Been walkin all over

    Jian Ghomeshi’s

    Back

    • SuperStrapper

      Are you Canadian? I didn’t know how much international coverage that Ghomeshi abortion got.

      • Berndt Norten

        I am Danish but I have lived in Canada

        • You must be some next-level bacon connoisseur..

          • Berndt Norten

            Canadian Bacon. Great film

          • SuperStrapper

            That whole ‘Canadian beer sucks’ scene is so classic, I haven’t seen that flick in donks, but I can vividly recall that cop start punching people. Hilarious.

          • Berndt Norten

            ‘Donks’: donkeys years? Love that expression. So British

          • SuperStrapper

            No idea the origin. But I’m just a simple Canadian lad that grew up in a Scottish family, and my auld wee Gran used to say it. Then, later in life my favourite novelist uses it a bit as well, dragging me down memory lane.

          • Berndt Norten

            Every day 20,000 pigs enter the Danish Crown Co.’s main slaughterhouse in Horsens. Mmmmm

          • Steve Bowden

            a place nearby my home has several different kinds of poutine, including ‘bacon poutine’

  • thecouchguy

    Very nice. If this was play money for me I’d snap one up!

  • BNABOD

    looks good to me something robotic about it. just looks cool.
    GP usually gets a lot of flack especially due to getting hammered at resale but if you can snag one barely used it sure would make for a good purchase. GP makes a great watch.

  • cluedog12

    It’s easy to be optimistic about the future of mechanical watchmaking when I see new releases like this Neo Bridges. Compare this watch to the typical pea-cocking we saw ten years ago and it is night and day.

  • Asad Abbas Awan

    beautiful modern take on a classic…very well done..the symmetry and design and attention to detail are stunning..couldnt have thought the ‘classic’ bridges concept could be modernized so well.

  • Sevenmack

    The hands, the case, and the movement are all handsome. A great skeletonization. Well done, GP!

  • Jérémy Colle

    classy, congrats!!!!

  • Shawn Lavigne

    a beautiful object.