For as long as I can remember I have a weak spot for Girard-Perregaux. The fascination for this brand started with me when my father bought a vintage piece back in the 90's, and I started exploring what's behind this sophisticatedly sounding name that originated in 1791.In the early 2010's I was able to purchase my own GP, 49805 WW.TC Worldtimer. Besides being one of the most attractive world timers ever in my humble opinion, I also got more and more impressed by the quality of the product.
A close look at any recent GP makes you wonder why this brand is not more appreciated by the audience. We're looking at a brand that not only brings heritage and high quality watchmaking, but also an innovative mindset throughout history. From the historic Three Bridges, via the 1970's quartz Casquette to the Constant Escapement LM and the recent outrageous Quasar Azure: it all indicates how open this brand is to explore boundaries in horology.
The new Free Bridge, which I was allowed to test recently, adds more to paint that picture. It brings the iconic Bridge concept in a contemporary look and feel, and it looks great. The 44mm. stainless steel case brings a lot of wrist presence, without being overwhelming. There's a lot going on on the multi-layered dial, but the symmetric design makes everything quite attractive and easy for the eye. The regulating organs are mostly constructed in silicon, which is corrosion free, beneficial in terms of weight and less effected by magnetic fields. Very much in line with the purpose of this watch, which is to get an important part of the brand DNA aligned with the technologically advanced 21st century.
Turning the watch around, one can admire the strong and reliable caliber GP1800, an automatic movement with 54 hours of power reserve. The rotor is partly open-worked, allowing a better view on the Cotes de Geneve-finished movement.
While wearing the Free Bridge stole my heart and made the brand top-of-mind again for me. Starting at CHF 16,250 for the regular, steel edition and CHF 19,410 for the black DLC-coated Infinity limited edition this is a timepiece that should have your very serious consideration of you're in the market for a combination of innovative, kind of Indie-type free thinking and strong high-end brand heritage that goes back to 1791. The Free Bridge has it all, and combined with the attractive pricing I challenge you to find a serious alternative..