February 22, 2022
by David Bredan
Introduced in its original form in 1976, the Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 of 2022 marks the return of the watch with a “soft cap with a visor” design, which is what Casquette — first merely a nickname of the original — stands for. Although to be fair, the overall vibe of this new watch in black ceramic and grade 5 titanium is more of Darth Vader’s helmet than anything else.
The first impression when taking the Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 watch in hand is somewhere along the lines of WOW – at least it was for me — and no, not simply because it features a case design that, in truth, has been replicated by many over the past decades, more recently including MB&F and Romain Jerome. The Casquette 2.0 introduces a battery of the senses, as one struggles to interpret its size — surprisingly compact and good-looking even on my 6.75″ wrist — its texture (more on that in a moment), and its dark modernism.
Let’s start with that last thing. On the wrist, the Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 looks epic, frankly, like a device used to control the TV set in the movie theater of the Death Star. It’s an odd blend of seriousness and entertainment, which is interesting because such a wilfully weird design could easily come across as something that’s about 100% entertainment and goof — a celebration of lighthearted ’70s design. But there is more to it than that.
With a maximum case thickness of 14.64mm, the Casquette 2.0 actually wears as a much more slender watch than that figure would suggest, at least 2-3mm less than that mid-14mm measurement. This is, in no small part, thanks to the curved caseback and slanted case top that results in a thicker section near the display – again, a feat mitigated by the strong curvature of the caseback that allows the watch to wrap around the wrist, as opposed to sitting on top of it.
And there is something menacing to a device with purposeful-looking, compact proportions – it’s less “look at me!” and more “look at what I can do!”
But what it can do isn’t much, really. The main disappointment for me with the Casquette 2.0 watch is something that could, I reckon, be easily remedied through programming: the much too short time that the display is on. Press a button, and the devilish red display comes to life in the black cosmos that is its residence, framed with a long visor of black ceramic. But it only remains on for 2-3 seconds, which really isn’t long enough at all to comfortably grab a wrist shot or to show off to friends. Girard-Perregaux says it’s designed this way to preserve battery life, saying, “Assuming the pushers are pressed on average 20 times per day, the battery should last for two years.”
I believe 20 is an overestimation, and I don’t see this watch being anyone’s daily wear for two years straight. It’s destined to be more of a 2-3 days per week kinda watch, something to lift your spirits and entertain you on long and weary days – and, frankly, it’s sort of a let-down that one of its main features you are deprived from enjoying. Or why not just make it adjustable at 3, 5 and 10 seconds – a G-Shock can do that, although, it is true, not up to 10 seconds. And what if a new battery is needed once a year? It’s certainly ain’t the end of the world.
Rant over, and back to the good stuff. The Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 watch feels absolutely incredible to the touch. Its ceramic links and case have a sort of a rubbery feel that I haven’t experienced anywhere else with ceramic – almost exclusively, it’s a glossy, glassy affair, and never the one exhibited by this novelty. It’s soft, without pulling on the skin or hair, and it’s beautifully made with tall and long strips of high-polished edges along every link. The links are rather tall themselves, and yet the bracelet follows the curvature of even a narrow wrist like mine with outstanding ease and comfort. That, combined with the curved caseback and the actually slender case, means that you could, in fact, wear the Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 watch every day – it’s more tiring on the senses, a sensory overload, than it is on the wrist.
The interior of the bracelet is, in fact, lined with rubber, but the exterior, too, feels reminiscent of that, in the most positive way. The caseback is in titanium – probably the best choice, as in my experience it feels more comfortable against the skin due to its thermal conductivity, and it is naturally darker in color, making for an ideal match to the black exterior overall while also lifting it a bit. The folding buckle is also in titanium and is decently made.
Other small details to be appreciated include the polished frame around the display – the angles and curves, combined with the reflective surface, make for a fascinating frame, not-so-subtly hinting at the underlying function which, due to the long “visor” around it, appears to be hidden inside a bottomless black void. Very cool. The pushers are in the case side and are also in titanium, along with a titanium GP logo on top, set off to the side. It’s all dripping with a ’70s vibe but combined with modern habillage (case, bracelet) manufacturing technologies. It so easily could’ve been a black PVD-coated steel or titanium exercise that would wear away as you were looking at it…
It is true that you absolutely have to hold the Casquette 2.0 in your hand to appreciate its texture, light weight, dark looks and wearability.
If you fiddle with the two pushers for long enough, you’ll find that the Casquette 2.0 actually displays more than just the hours and minutes: It has the date, month, year, a second time zone, and even a chronograph and, watch this, a secret date as well. The secret date (day, month, and year) is one that you can program and can be shown each day at a time specified by the wearer, e.g. a wedding anniversary (if that’s something you want to be reminded of every day). All this is courtesy of the GP03980-1474 quartz movement that operates at a frequency of 32,768 Hertz – a frequency Girard-Perregaux claims to have used first before it became the universal standard for quartz movements. The movement drives a tubular LED display and is protected by the 50m water resistance rating of the case – swim with this you won’t want to, though.
Overall, the Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 is an absolutely fantastic watch, and it is so because it goes beyond the revival of a cool shape and has thrown truly amazing manufacturing at its case and bracelet, resulting in an outstanding tactile experience for ceramic. Oh, and because the brand managed to keep this a compact 42.40mm x 33.60mm with an observed thickness closer to 12-13mm, meaning that it’s the darkness and the shape that overwhelms and not the size. Well done on all fronts, including wearing comfort – now, just let me look at that display for more than a few seconds.
The Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 watch is limited to 820 pieces, not individually numbered, and is priced at a very competitive $4,700. You can learn more at the brand’s website.