For 2018, Girard-Perregaux decided to bring together two important elements of the brand together in a watch. The first is the Tourbillon with Three Bridges, which has been a part of the company since its inception in 1884. The other is skeletonization, a technique which Girard-Perregaux has embarked on and invested heavily in since 1998. The two have come together in a new watch called the Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges Skeleton. We take a closer look at it here. But first, a little history lesson might be helpful.

The history of the tourbillon with three gold bridges goes back a long way. The first Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges was actually a pocket watch and it was born in, can you believe it, 1884. And if you think that’s long, let’s not forget that the origin of Girard-Perregaux can be traced all the way back to 1791, which easily makes it one of the oldest watch companies around. To give more perspective, the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges was only invented some 93 years after the company was founded.

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In 2014, Girard-Perregaux gave the design of the Tourbillon with Three Bridges a modern refresh with the Neo Tourbillon with Three Bridges. It takes the rather ornate design of the Tourbillon with Three Bridges and updates it for the 21st century. One of the major changes is in the design of the bridges, which are more modern-looking. This new watch has the same modern design as the 2014 watch, but now adds a skeletonized movement.

The case is 45mm wide and over 15mm thick, but because it is made of titanium it is relatively light. Much of the watch’s weight actually comes from the two pieces of expansive boxed sapphire crystal over the dial and caseback. There is no actual bezel to speak of, so the sapphire crystal sits extremely close to the edges of the case, creating an unparalleled sense of light and airy-ness while highlighting the incredible skeletonized movement within. Water resistance is rated at 30m.

Any Tourbillon with Three Bridges movement is visually impressive and this one is no different. The movement within is the caliber GP09400-001, which is actually a self-winding movement. It is not immediately apparent but if you look closely, you will see that the Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges Skeleton actually has a white gold micro-rotor that is mounted co-axially with the mainspring barrel. Power reserve is a very healthy 60 hours.

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The highlight of movement has to be the three bridges, which arch and look as if they are suspending the entire movement in space. They look the best when viewing the watch from near the case flanks. The bridges are made out of PVD-treated titanium and they have a matte sandblasted finish. Speaking of finish, the entire movement is decorated to a high level. Other decorations including graining on the wheels, polished screw heads, beveling on the secondary bridges, and more.

The tourbillon at 6 o’clock makes a revolution once every minute and therefore also functions as a subsidiary seconds. It consists of 80 components and has an all titanium construction to reduce weight and keep its energy consumption to a minimum – the heavier the tourbillon assembly, the more energy it saps from the mainspring. The entire tourbillon assembly is just 0.25 grams.

Legibility isn’t the watch’s strongest suit. The white gold hour and minute hands are brushed and partially skeletonized, which doesn’t offer much contrast against the titanium movement. Furthermore, because the movement is so highly skeletonized, there are lots of empty spaces, which isn’t a good backdrop for the partially skeletonized hands.

Nevertheless, there can be no denying that the Neo Tourbillon Three Bridges Skeleton is a visually arresting watch. The broad and wide boxed sapphire crystal, coupled with the prominent arching bridges and large tourbillon, demand your attention. All in all, it is a peculiar watch with its own distinctive style that you either hate or love. I’m not a fan of skeletonized watches in general, but I can respect Girard-Perregaux’s attempt at reinventing itself with this modern take on its iconic Tourbillon with Three Bridges watch. The Girard-Perregaux Three Bridges Skeleton watch is priced at $138,000.

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