These Three Vintage Watches Are a Window Into Girard-Perregaux’s History

September 20, 2019 Watches By Photo by Analog/Shift
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Counted among the oldest watch brands still in operation, Girard-Perregaux claims roots going back over 200 years, which includes the founding of the Jean-François Bautte manufacturing facilities that were the most complete and vertically integrated of their time in the late 1700s. Girard-Perregaux the watchmaker came a little bit later, incorporating as Girard & Cie in 1852, but his company acquired the Bautte manufacture in 1906 and their histories merged. The company is old no matter how you look at it.

Many of GP’s notable achievements or models over the years are said to focus on improving accuracy. Before tourbillons were the commonplace luxury status symbol they are today, they were intended to improve accuracy, and a tourbillon pocket watch the company made in the mid-1800s featuring three parallel bridges continues to influence the brand’s modern in-house movement design.

In the 20th century, the Girard-Perregaux uncommonly high-frequency movement in its Gyromatic line had the same chronometric purpose, operating at 5Hz. No less notable is that Girard-Perregaux made the first ever Swiss quartz watch — far more accurate than mechanical watches, of course. Below is a sampling of watches that illustrate the breadth of the brand’s wide-ranging capacity and personality.

Girard Perregaux Alarm 9490 HK

What We Like: Vintage alarm watches in general are cool and interesting for all kinds of reasons, and a number of companies were making them following the lead of brands like Vulcain. With its sporty cushion-shaped case, powered by an A. Shild AS 1931-based automatic movement, this particular 9490 HK model has a relatively modern feel and should wear well at 35mm.

From the Seller: In excellent condition and recently serviced by a certified watchmaker.

Girard-Perregaux Olimpico 9238

What We Like: Another cushion cased-watch, this lovely Olimpico shares some aesthetics with other notable chronographs of its era — and it’s got a cool-sounding name. Dating to around 1976, its “panda dial” with black sub-registers on a white main dial is a current enthusiast favorite, and this model was apparently made as a limited edition of only 1,000. It’s powered by a Valjoux 726 manually wound chronograph movement and the case measures a bold 42mm wide.

From the Seller: It runs perfect with smooth winding and the chrono works perfect. The brushing on the case is in really good condition, as is the dial.

Girard-Perregaux Gyromatic Deep Diver

What We Like: With the distinct charm that only divers of the 1960s can claim, this features the brand’s Gyromatic movement, which included a system the brand first applied to sourced movements that it modified to make automatic winding smoother. It measures 35mm wide and is a cool piece of horological history. This might have been a “Deep Diver” in its time, but vintage pieces like this should generally be worn dry.

From the Seller: The case is in excellent condition overall with normal signs of wear. Matte-black quadrant dial in great condition.

Color Title Using Title Casing

Brand names like Rolex, Patek, Audemars Piguet and Omega dominate the headspace of vintage watch collectors but these legacy brands aren’t the exclusive purveyors of significant, lust-worthy vintage watches. Read the Story

Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

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