Anyone who has been following Girard-Perregaux for long enough knows about its “three golden bridges” aesthetic. This all started at the end of the 19th century when, in 1889, it created an “exhibition watch” (basically a highly detailed presentation watch) in the form of a tourbillon-based pocket watch with three conspicuous parallel bridges on the movement. While Girard-Perregaux has implemented its three golden bridges (with their arrow ends) into the brand’s DNA and products in many ways, the core pocket watch from 1889 was never itself revisited until just a few years ago. While not a 1:1 copy of the original pocket watch design or movement, the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition (not a very elegant name, I know) watch family evokes the style and lavishness of the original piece from 1889.

aBlogtoWatch first went hands-on with two other versions of the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition watches here in 2021 closer to when these watches were released. Girard-Perregaux limits each case material/color version of the La Esmeralda Tourbillon to 18 pieces. This has led to a series of both 18k white gold and 18k rose gold La Esmeralda watches that feature a variety of accent colors such as blue, green, red, black, purple, and more. In this article, I feature four different versions of the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon, including 18k white gold with gray, 18k rose gold with purple, 18k rose gold with black, and 18k white gold with green.

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The case itself is heavy given the big chunk of gold, but these are actually very wearable and comfortable. The La Esmeralda case size is 43mm wide and 15.1mm thick. Water resistant to 30 meters, the case actually wears on the small side given the mostly curved surfaces. The case is “hunter-style,” which means that the caseback is hinged and opens up to reveal a view of the movement under a sapphire crystal, and motif etched into the caseback which recalls that from the original La Esmeralda Tourbillon pocket watch from 1889. The label “Secret” is printed on the movement. I believe this is a placeholder and customers of the watch can get whatever statement they like engraved onto this bridge.

As you can easily see, the main allure of the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition watch is the level of artistic decoration both in the movement and all over the case. Much of the 18k gold case is hand engraved, with some sections being painted with enamel. This application of semi-translucent enamel paint over an engraved surface is known as champleve enameling, and it is very rare to see it on the exterior of wristwatches. It was once more commonly used on decorative pocket watch cases, and today, when champleve enameling techniques are found on wristwatches, it is exclusively on the dial. Girard-Perregaux made a bold and interesting decision to create a wristwatch case with this much engraving and enameling work on the caseback and sides.


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Another major theme of the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda is the horses. We see horse animal motifs on both the caseback, but also in a hand-engraved form on the dial as ends for two of the bridges. The horse depictions are of a high quality and look tasteful. What is sort of funny is that Girard-Perregaux does not have any information in its archives to explain why the original 1889 La Esmeralda Tourbillon was decorated with horses. So, it makes sense to revisit the horse theme because the original Girard-Perregaux pocket watch applied it, but it is anyone’s guess as to what inspired the horse motif in the first place, now about 130 years ago. In any event, equestrian and horology fans with big budgets have yet another timepiece to be excited about (and this time, not from Hermes).

Inside the La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition watches is the lovely in-house Girard-Perregaux caliber GP09600 manually wound mechanical movement. Operating at 3Hz with 50 hours of power reserve, this mechanism is all about classic style and decoration, with an emphasis on visual mechanics. The watch features only the time, with the spinning tourbillon doubling as the subsidiary seconds indicator. Everything about the movement is visually attractive and refined in its architecture. That said, the mechanism is about as “classic” as you can get, and it eschews modern materials and components that emphasize performance and accuracy over time. If you jive with that aesthetic, Girard-Perregaux might interest you in its Constant Escapement family of silicon-based higher-end watches. That’s something I admire about Girard-Perregaux today, the brand’s ability to not only produce watches at vastly different price points but also produce watches with very different themes. In this case, I am referring to high-end watches that look backward in time, as well as high-end watches that look forward in time.

Stately, beautiful, and over-the-top in a refined manner, the La Esmeralda “A Secret” Eternity Edition watch (I still don’t really understand the second half of the product name) is also among the more luxurious products sold by Girard-Perregaux today. Each version of the watch is a limited edition of 18 pieces, and the price for each Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Edition Edition watch is $482,000 USD. Learn more at the Girard-Perregaux website.

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