Girard Perregaux presents the Girard Perregaux Large Date, Moon Phases & GMT. A contemporary-sized – 44 mm case available in steel, in pink gold or in a limited edition dedicated to John Harrison to mark the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act.
A benchmark caliber
Water-resistant at up to ten atmospheres (or a depth of approx. 100 meters), the satin-brushed and polished case in steel or 18K pink gold with a 44 mm diameter and a thickness of 12.10 mm protects from external contact a GP03300-0093 self-winding manufacture caliber. Viewed through the transparent case-back, the self-winding movement measuring 13½ lignes (equivalent to a diameter of 30.40 mm) reveals some of its components, including the oscillating weight inspired by the shape of the Girard-Perregaux tourbillon bridge, and shows the great care dedicated by the Manufacture to its finishes, all undertaken in its own workshops. Delicate but robust, this top-of-the-range watch mechanism, equipped with 35 jewels and a 46-hour power reserve, beats at 28,000 vibrations per hour, to ensure the very highest accuracy in all situations. The Traveller Large Date, Moon Phases & GMT model is, by definition, an urban watch, the main role of which is dedicated to the theme of travel. It will seduce watch-lovers by its generous dimensions and its highly legible dial, the symmetry of which contributes to the model ‘s overall balance. Available on a large alligator-skin strap perfectly adjusted so as all the better to emphasize the thinness of the case design, this new model is attached to the wrist by means of a folding clasp so as to ensure it remains intact in all situations.
The Traveller John Harrison Limited Series watch (restricted to 50 pieces)
2014 marks the tercentenary of the passing of the Longitude Act by the British Parliament. By this official Act of Parliament, adopted in 1714 and motivated notably by a terrible shipwreck near the Isles of Scilly off the south-west coast of England that had destroyed several Royal Navy vessels and led to hundreds of sailors losing their lives, the British Government set up the Board of Longitude, an organism intended to judge the feasibility of methods proposed to measure a ship’s longitude at sea. The inventor of the most effective solution, which would guarantee that a sailing ship could reach its destination after a six weeks’ voyage to the West Indies (an expression used at the time to refer to both the Americas and the Caribbean) with an accuracy of at least 30 nautical miles, was to be awarded a prize of twenty thousand pounds sterling – a considerable sum for the day.
Over a number of years the Board, presided over by eminent scientists and figures of the period, passed judgment on a range of proposals, many of which were so eccentric or outrageous that the members of the institution ended up by doubting whether it would ever be possible to measure longitude at sea other than by the astronomical methods being developed at the time. This, however, was to reckon without John Harrison, an English carpenter and self-taught clockmaker born on March 24, 1693 at Foulby in Yorkshire. In 1735 – fully 21 years after the passing of the Longitude Act – this brilliant visionary presented the first instrument that was truly worthy of interest and had a real chance of providing a solution to the thorny problem of the calculation of a ship’s longitude. Harrison was to become known as the most brilliant clockmaker of his day. When, however, he presented his first marine clock (known by the designation H-1), he could not suspect that his invention would not only prove that longitude could indeed be calculated by the use at sea of marine clocks, marine chronometers and subsequently by specially devised watches, but that his discovery would also spur on the clockmaking profession and encourage his contemporaries and competitors to throw themselves into the race to achieve truly accurate timekeeping. Thus, despite his disappointment at not winning the £20,000 prize for his first model, he presented a second version (H-2) in 1739, to be followed by H-3 nearly twenty years later.
Finally, in October 1759, he unveiled his H-4, a hyper-accurate pocket watch. The Board, meanwhile, had imposed new conditions, including the requirement that all samples of his invention should be tested. John Harrison then proceeded to work on a fifth great timepiece, H-5, which produced outstanding results. In his old age Harrison was finally accorded a monetary reward of £8,750 by Parliament, in 1773.
By commemorating the tercentenary of the Longitude Act, the Girard-Perregaux Manufacture, and with it the whole of the contemporary watch industry, pays tribute to John Harrison, that combative and methodical man who through his untiring efforts demonstrated that it would become possible, and in the end even easy, to measure longitude by means of accurate timepieces. This clockmaker’s invention has not only saved the lives of countless sailors over the centuries, but also enabled seafarers to diverge from traditional sea-routes, infested with pirates, to forge more adventurous passages across the ocean waves. Thanks to the daily calculation of latitude and longitude, they were henceforth able to determine their position with precision and thus set out to explore and conquer hitherto unknown territories. This was precisely what Captain James Cook did when he explored the Pacific from 1772 to 1774, carrying on board his vessel a replica of Harrison’s H4 Sea Watch made by the English clockmaker Larcum Kendall.
To pay tribute to the visionary genius of John Harrison, an inventor who symbolizes all the huge progress made in clockmaking during the Age of Enlightenment, the Girard-Perregaux Manufacture proposes for this tercentenary year of the the Traveller Large Date, Moon Phase & GMT Tribute to John Harrison watch, in a limited-series edition restricted to 50 pieces in 18K pink gold.
This 44 mm-diameter watch worn on an alligator-skin strap, equipped with functions of great utility to travelers, is dedicated to the father of modern timekeeping and the inventor of the method of calculating longitude at sea. To differentiate this rare timepiece from large-scale production models, Girard-Perregaux, whose travelers’ watches have long been a house specialty, has decided to create a special dial for the occasion and a case-back carrying the words “Tribute to John Harrison”.
This dial has been elaborated so as to recall John Harrison’s contribution to the science. One of the meridians engraved onto the dial is highlighted thanks to an added applied graduation. This representation is designed to illustrate the original prime meridian, corresponding to that of Greenwich in England. It was this meridian that was used by Harrison to define a standard reference time and this time that the clocks and watches he invented would be required to record as accurately as possible. In addition to this, and to highlight even further the geographical dimension of the model, Girard-Perregaux has decided to insert in the second time-zone counter a map of Western Europe, in black on an anthracite-gray background. Vivid red is used to mark out Great Britain, John Harrison’s mother country, which, thanks to this clockmaker’s invention and to the might of its Empire, imposed the Greenwich Meridian as the standard time reference for the entire world.
As an oblique side-reference it will nevertheless be noted that the original meridian here passes through the moon phase window, the realistic representation of which has been achieved by the delicate process of metal-plating a diminutive disk. Its presence here is surely no accident, since a footnote to history relates that John Harrison was engaged in a dispute with the Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne. The latter, as a member of the Board of Longitude, was for his part keen to promote the calculation of longitude by astronomical techniques, and in particular by the “Method of Lunar Distances”, also called at the time the method of the “Lunars”.
Case in pink gold or steel
Diameter: 44.00 mm
Crystal: anti-reflective sapphire
Case-back: sapphire crystal, secured by 6 screws
Water resistance: 100 meters (10 ATM)
Girard-Perregaux movement GP03300-0093
Mechanical, self-winding movement
Diameter: 30.40 mm (13 ½’’’)
Frequency: 28,800 vph – (4 Hz)
Power reserve: minimum 46 hours
Functions: hour, minute, small second, large date, moon phase indicator, 24-hour 2nd time zone with day/night indicator
Brown alligator strap
The John Harrison edition in pink gold is limited to 50 pieces.
Source WatchInsight and Girard-Perregaux.