The Girard-Perregaux Bridges Cosmos watch hands-on
When "Haute Horlogerie" combines tourbillon and astronomy, just a handful of luxury brands are allowed to join the party. Among the most astonishing creations, I would no doubt pick some masterpieces by Montblanc and Jaeger-LeCoultre, yet one single brand comes to my mind in terms of such products over the course of the years, and that brand is Girard-Perregaux. The last time I took my hands on a top-of-the-line Girard-Perregaux watch dates back to 2017, and the product under review was the following: the Bridges Planetarium Tri-Axial, one of my favorite watches I've ever discovered, and a somewhat underrated piece by the community, I think.
Among the classic but not Indie brands (Girard-Perregaux belongs to the Kering Group), the Swiss manufacturer has no competition when it comes to making three-axial tourbillon watches, for example. Also, it is historically one of those manufacturers that began to adopt and develop, Breguet's invention pretty early. One year ago, during the last SIHH we had ever attended (please call it Watches and Wonders now on, and expect it to be held end of April), Girard-Perregaux further expanded its Bridges collection, adding a new, unexpected take on the tourbillon watch paired to an astronomic complication.
The Girard-Perregaux Bridges Cosmos is a whole new approach to a complication, in comparison to a Tri-Axial Bridges Planetarium. A three-axial tourbillon usually requires a higher grade of complexity during assembly and fine-tuning than a "standard" one, but the new Bridges combines a one-minute tourbillon with other complications in an unexpected manner to an eye that is accustomed to what the brand has come up with so far. The Bridges Cosmos follows the likes of luxury sports timepieces like the latest edition of the Laureato, from an aesthetic standpoint, thus closing the gap between Girard-Perregaux's sports watches and high-end collections.
The adoption of a grade 5 titanium alloy for the bead-blasted case is in keeping with the stunning Minute Repeater Tri-Axial Tourbillon I was introduced to, a year earlier, by Stefano Macaluso himself. At 47mm across and 22,2mm thick, the Bridges Cosmos is a hefty watch, to say the least, but unexpectedly light considering how hard to wear are its peers offered in gold or platinum. The Girard-Perregaux designers' priority was to make the Bridges Cosmos an easy-to-live-with masterpiece and to read and wear on a daily base too. The option of crafting it in titanium (the most precious variation, grade 5) has paid off from this point of view (and has not, vice-versa, from others. We'll discuss them later).
The dial offers two center-stage complications located amidst the dial: on the left-hand-side is a map showing the sidereal time, thus completing a full rotation, in slightly less than the ordinary 24 hours. The map is crafted in grade 5 titanium too, and embellished with the twelve constellations of the zodiac. Each constellation is remarkably visible at night since that globe glows in the dark thanks to a luminescent hydro-ceramics' treatment, a novelty in the segment the Cosmos belongs.
Equally, the globe located at three o'clock has been crafted by using the same technique and paired to a 24-hour ring to display GMT time. Both globes are also visible through the case back, whose upper half hides a major part of the movement's gearings. You can wind the watch by turning a key placed on the back (the caliber GP03920 is a 3Hz hand-wound movement), while the other three ones let set hour and minute hand, adjust the celestial globe and the terrestrial one, accordingly. Titanium, but black PVD treated, also covers the one-minute tourbillon placed at six o'clock: the entire package, including the metalized sapphire crystal disk, engraved and coated with luminescent hydroceramic too, is protected by an outrageously domed bubble-shaped sapphire glass.
The result, at night, is stunning and more than you might ever expect: observing the Bridges Cosmos in the dark is like standing amidst a planetarium, so is the experience offered by the glowing dial. Far more disruptive than your average Girard-Perregaux high-end tourbillon watch, a Bridges Cosmos is the sportiest, irreverent take on the astronomical tourbillon. Girard-Perregaux decided to play hard and change the game by offering something new in the industry, a rare combination of romanticism and unusual approach to super-luxury. However, I believe it'll break the heart of most aficionados who are not early adopters, but merely supporters of the purest classicism. The retail price is 310,000€.
(Photo credit: Peter Tung for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®