Girard-Perregaux Introduces the Free Bridge

With a familiar, ultra-exotic balance wheel.

With its iconic complication being the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges – albeit one that is somewhat forgotten today – Girard-Perregaux has created a variety of simpler watches centred on the same concept of prominent movement bridges. The newly-launched Free Bridge is the latest to join the line up, and while it is superficially similar, it boasts an exotic silicon balance wheel (that was probably created with help from its sister company).

Initial thoughts

The Free Bridge has a modern, technical-looking aesthetic that is currently popular, but it is more than a faddish watch. That’s because it’s equipped with an intricate, extra-large balance wheel made of silicon, one that is far more advanced than everything else at this price point – with the exception of the Ulysse Nardin Freak X.

Though not identical, the balance wheel is similar enough to the one in the Freak X that it becomes obvious the Free Bridge balance is derived from that in the Freak X, which is unsurprising since both watch brands are owned by luxury group Kering.

The balance wheel makes the movement special from a technical perspective, and also makes the US$17,000 price tag easier to swallow. That said, the Free Bridge seems to sit in no man’s land – it is neither entirely classical nor modern, in contrast to the Freak X which is an out and out contemporary watch. As a result, the Free Bridge isn’t particularly outstanding visually, unlike the Freak X.

Upgraded with a new balance

The Free Bridge is a large watch, with the case measuring 44 mm by 12.2 mm. A good part of the height is the domed “box” sapphire crystal, which provides a good view of the balance wheel from various angles.

The movement is the GP01800-1170, which is essentially the brand’s workhorse automatic movement reengineered to accommodate the extra-large balance wheel on the front. Not only is the balance wheel silicon, but also the escape wheel and pallet lever, features that are perhaps also borrowed from Ulysse Nardin.

Infinity Edition

The Free Bridge is also available as an Infinity Edition, the overarching theme for Girard-Perregaux’s new launches this year. The 88-piece Infinity Edition is identical mechanically, but dressed up with pink gold elements that contrast against the black-coated case.

And like the other Infinity Editions, this is decorated with polished onyx in the form of two inlaid panels of the mineral stone on each side of the barrel.

The onyx inlays are each secured by two screws

The Infinity Edition also has the bonus of a pink gold rotor

Key facts and price

Girard-Perregaux Free Bridge
Ref. 82000-11-631-FA6A
Ref. 82000-11-632-FA6A (Infinity Edition)

Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 12.2 mm
Material: Steel
Water resistance: 30 m

Features: Hours, and minutes,
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 54 hours

Strap: Alligator

Limited edition: Infinity Edition limited to 88 pieces
 Starting October 2020
16,250 Swiss francs (standard model)
19,410 Swiss francs (Infinity Edition)

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