Unveiled in mid-February during “Watches and Wonders” in Miami, Girard-Perregaux choose to present its new Quasar model, under the auspices of the “Earth to Sky” theme, for the first time to the European public during the WinteRace 2019. From “Earth to Sky,” a philosophy that surely unites watchmaking with the world of motor sports, both dedicated to the constant search for new dimensions in technical and technological developments.
Last weekend, for the second time in a row, the winner of this year’s edition of the WinteRace on classic cars is the team “Sisti-Gualandi” driving a Lancia Aprilia from 1937. On this occasion, the Swiss watchmaking manufactory Girard-Perregaux rewarded team “Sala-Sala” – driving a 1964 Porsche 356 C – as the best father-son crew, presenting them with its iconic Laureato on an exclusive strap dedicated to WinteRace. During the 4th Porsche WinteRace, a competition of modern Porsche Cars that follows the same rules as the one for classic cars, the Girard-Perregaux team “Valli-Bozzano,” driving a Porsche Boxster S 718, was able to position themselves at the 3rd place of the podium.
The Quasar, a masterpiece of fine watchmaking, takes its name from the brightest of the astronomical entities, an ultra-luminous galaxy aggregated around a black hole. So enlightened, this tourbillon with a modern soul makes its entrance into the spectrum of light with its case made entirely of transparent sapphire crystal.
Through these crystalline walls, caliber GP9400-1035 reveals its openworked construction much like a star viewed with a telescope. This haute horlogerie movement draws the eye like a black hole and explodes with light, illuminating the gap between its components. Devoid of any opacity, Quasar allows photons to play freely across its matte surfaces and taut curves.
Quasar embodies a natural application of the four principles governing the Girard-Perregaux universe:
- The first is the 1884 patent for three gold bridges visible on the dial side, the unique signature of the maison.
- The second is the skeleton work, hand-finished in the workshops of La Chaux-de-Fonds.
- The third is the 2015 birth of the Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges. The latter were neither straight nor made of gold, but instead arched, skeletonized and black.
- The fourth is the use of sapphire serving a function that is more technical than that of mere watch glasses. With the Laureato with Three Sapphire Bridges presented in 2007, crystal corundum had found its place in the very structure of a fine watchmaking caliber. These four vectors converge to create Quasar.
Fusion of Matter and Light: The 45mm Quasar case is made entirely of sapphire crystal. A chimney-style glass covers the movement bridges like a telluric dome. Its all-of-a-piece caseband features curving sides and angular lugs. At nearly 3,000 degrees Kelvin, fundamental particles merge under the effect of an incandescent flow of oxygen and dihydrogen. It is from this process that sapphire crystal emerges. It is then cut, machined, drilled, domed and polished using tools made from the hardest material in the universe: diamond.
Weightless Core: Caliber GP9400-1035 is a modified version of caliber 9400, from which the mainplate has been removed. Almost as if this had created a vacuum, the movement finds itself in an almost weightless state. Only physically essential anchoring points remain, as if providing a demonstration of aerial technique.
The bridges visually contribute to Quasar’s overall transparency effect. They are made of titanium, sandblasted and then blackened by a PVD treatment. Their shape is so complex in all three dimensions, composed of interior angles, arches, returns and overhangs, that machining them represents a true watchmaking feat.
Horological Astrophysics: According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a quasar is an astronomical object of very high luminosity found in the centers of certain galaxies, powered by gas spiraling at high velocity into an extremely large black hole. A strange paradox composed of light and shade, it reflects the nature of the Girard-Perregaux Quasar. Combining the radiance pouring through the sapphire with the shadowy depths of its movement, it lives on the contrast that is the very essence of the universe. This watch shines like a star on the wrist, as complex as an equation and hotter than a galactic sun.