Girard-Perregaux has long been one of the most innovative watchmakers on the planet. These days, they’re perhaps best known for their mechanical marvels, like the mind-blowing Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges they released last year, or their popular Laureato luxury sports watch. Traditional high-end Swiss watch stuff.
But one of the storied brand’s most iconic watches is one that’s quite untraditional: the ref. 9931, better known by its nickname, the Casquette. Born in 1976 in the midst of the quartz crisis, the avant-garde Casquette was a real departure from form for not just Girard-Perregaux but the entire Swiss watch industry.
An electronic piece with a unique and eye-catching side-mounted LED display, the Casquette brought the fight to the LED and LCD Hamiltons and Seikos that were taking over the watch industry at the time. Even today, its stands out as an exemplar of 70s design… But sadly, it was only produced for a few years, and nice examples are very rare today.
That’s why the watch world got so excited when they saw Girard-Perregaux’s offering at Only Watch last year – a forged carbon revival of the Casquette from the 70s. Surely they wouldn’t go to all the effort to dig the Casquette out of the archives for just one piece? Well, our instincts have just been proven right. Meet the Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 (ref. 39800-32-001-32A): the coolest watch of the 70s, back and better than ever.
While the Casquette 2.0’s design stays true to the 70s original, it features a few key innovations. The original ref. 9931 was available in steel, gold-plated steel or a polymer called Makrolon, but the Casquette 2.0 is crafted from black ceramic and titanium. This gives the watch an exceptionally low mass of 107g, making it exceptionally ergonomic. The ceramic bracelet also features a rubber interior for even more comfort.
Like the original, the 2.0 tells the time on demand rather than being on constantly – LEDs sap a lot of power. Girard-Perregaux makes the claim that assuming the pushers are pressed on average 20 times per day, the battery should last for 2 years. Not bad.
The original Casquette was a time-only piece, but the 2.0’s new GP03980 movement additionally boasts a month and year display; a chronograph function; an additional time zone and a ‘secret date’ function, which allows the wearer to save a memorable date of the wearer’s choosing, which can be shown each day at a time specified by the wearer. Perfect if you forget your wedding anniversary or your mum’s birthday.
All in all, it’s a very cool update to a 70s icon that brings some great 21st century innovations to the table. Just like the original, it’s a refreshing change of pace and a real statement piece… Also like the original, it’s destined for a short production run. A limited edition of only 820 pieces, it retails for US$4,700 and is currently available for pre-ordering at Girard-Perregaux’s online boutique here.