As one of the world’s biggest watch retailers, Bucherer has long enjoyed unique relationships with leading watchmakers. Starting in 2016, Bucherer commissioned a series of special editions from a diversity of brands, including the well-known Tudor Black Bay Bronze Blue.
Girard-Perregaux (GP) is the latest marque to create a special run for the Swiss retailer with the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges Bucherer Blue. This variant of GP’s trademark complication once again is inspired by the retailer’s corporate colour: instead of a flat black in the standard version of the watch, the titanium bridges of the movement are highlighted in dark blue.
As with most of the Bucherer’s other editions, the new Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges is a change in livery, but one that transforms the feel of the watch.
Going from a muted black to a vibrant blue is a simple tweak, but one that adds to the visual appeal by making the architecture of the movement more apparent. The blue treatment makes the bridges stand out and emphasise their graceful, arched form, a quality that is less obvious in the standard version because of its near-monochromatic finish.
All that makes for a contemporary look that’s more striking, a perfect fit for a calibre that’s essentially an ultra-modern take on a concept dating to 1860.
At the same time, the modern yet restrained aesthetic is appropriate given Bucherer’s status as a historic retailer with a rich heritage of over 130 years which is still being run by the founding family.
The Bucherer Blue edition costs exactly the same as the standard Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges, making it a compelling proposition for anyone who appreciates the mechanics and design but wants something with a stronger aesthetic.
Reconstructing a classic
An artful evolution of the “Three Gold Bridges”, the Three Flying Bridges successfully captures the spirit of the original in a 21st century style. While the arrow-shaped bridges on the original are elaborate and traditional, its modern-day successor opts for a clean, architectural style that inherits the pleasingly symmetrical layout of the original, but emphasises the three-dimensional form of the bridges that make their debut in the Neo-Tourbillon of 2014.
Up close, the “Neo” bridges don’t disappoint. Each bridge has a complex, aerodynamic form that’s highlighted with mirrored bevels along the edges that incorporate sharp, outward angles at both ends. Although the bevelled edges are finished manually, the blue finish on the bridges are accomplished by atomic layer deposition (ALD), a chemical process that creates a thin layer of titanium oxide, resulting in the blue surface.
The movement is so extensively open-worked that the triple bridges are actually integral to the structure of the movement. In fact, the movement actually has six “Neo” bridges – three on the front and another three on the back.
That’s because a conventional base plate has been done away with and instead replaced with a trio of bridges that support the entire movement while also securing it to the case.
A panoramic view
Similarly unconventional is the case, which was conceived to leave nothing to obstruct the view – hence the lack of a bezel and a tall sapphire crystal.
As a matter of fact, the case doesn’t have a conventional back either. Instead the case back is a narrow ring that’s secured with screws that go into the back of each lugs. The majority of the back is made up of yet another domed sapphire crystal to maximise the view of the movement.
Visible only if you know where to look is the clever automatic winding mechanism. The movement is self winding despite seemingly lacking a rotor. Instead, a tiny rotor in white gold sits just under the barrel on the same axis.
Simple but ingenious, the hidden rotor has been patented by GP and has long been a signature feature of its tourbillon movements. This clever approach brings with the practicality of an automatic movement but nothing that gets in the way of the aesthetics.
And here the Bucherer Blue makeover also encompasses an important detail: the engraved barrel cover is filled with blue lacquer to match the bridges. Through the barrel cover sits the mainspring that manages a respectable 60-hour power reserve despite its relatively compact size.
More obvious than the rotor is the quality of decoration, which can be admired from almost all angles. Though it’s clearly a contemporary watch, the Three Flying Bridges understands its lineage and respects that history.
The movement components are finished well, most obviously with the tourbillon cage that’s brushed on top and outline by hand-finished anglage that includes several sharp, inward angles.
Key facts and price
Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges Bucherer Blue
Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 15.52 mm
Water resistance: 30 m
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, and tourbillon regulator
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours
Strap: Grey calfskin with folding clasp
Limited edition: 18 pieces
Availability: Only at Bucherer stores
For more, visit Bucherer.com.
This was brought to you in partnership with Bucherer.
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