While perhaps not a household name, Girard-Perregaux more than hold their own as one of the top luxury watch brands currently manufacturing. The brand meets all the critera that one would expect; a long history (founded in 1791), Swiss (based in La Chaux-de-Fonds), it has a reputation for technical innovation (the Constant Force Escapement for example) and it is credited with having several classic ‘signature’ watches that are instantly recognisable, the Laureato being one.
In addition, like several other brands including Hublot, Panerai and Longines, Girard-Perregaux have enjoyed a partnership with Ferrari through the years. It is known that GP produced a small number of watches to order for Ferrari in the mid to late 20th century. However the first series of watches produced and made available to the public with the official association were released in 1994. One of which was the 8020 which has a round dial and chronograph functions, quite appropriately given the racing association. (One can use the chronograph feature on a watch to time a car race – it is essentially a stopwatch integrated into the watch.) When we take a look at the broader context of chronographs made for, or associated with, car racing, although a little on the smaller size, the Girard-Perregaux fits comfortably into the realm in terms of looks. The later model, the 8050, does not – and this is what makes it special.
The 8050 was available for a very short period of time and was released around 2002 in both rose and white gold, in limited editions of 250 and 125 respectively. Instantly setting it apart from the racing chronograph norm is the rectangular case. Eye-catching in its essence, a more cynical take on this would suggest that this being so different was the only motivation for the case shape choice. If we look back at GP’s design history however, we can find significant precedent for this form within the brand’s repertoire.
In the 1940s, rectangular and indeed square cases were popular, a continuation of the art deco style. Many of GP’s offerings took these forms, and, in the mid 1990’s, the brand released a line of watches inspired this vintage form. It follows then that just a few years later, the 8050 could also have these lines.
Avoiding relying too heavily on the Ferrari partnership for its appeal, the watch is also complicated, in the horological sense of the word. A manual wind example, it is a chronograph, and has the mono-pusher crown. Most (manual wind) chronographs will have a crown for winding the watch and two separate push buttons. One push button starts and stops the seconds hand and the other resets it to 12. Instead of these three separate operating parts, the 8050 just has the crown that performs all of these functions. Although not a new technology, the mono-pusher is impressive in context.
To round up, the 8050 is one to pull you in. From the Ferrari connection to its shape, to its complication, this watch ticks many boxes.
Lyon & Turnbull’s watch auction and valuations department is a dynamic one with significant expertise, creating diverse watch auctions with fine, rare, modern and vintage timepieces. In line with the growth of the pre-owned watch market in recent years, we hold six specialist auctions each year, across our Edinburgh and London salerooms. These frequent auctions feature examples from renowned watch makers including Rolex, Cartier, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet.
If you would like further information about consigning to one of our watch auctions or to have a watch valued, please contact our Head of Watches Sarah Fergusson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0141 333 1992.