Girard-Perregaux proudly boasts a founding date of 1791 in advertisements and all over their website today. The version of GP that is being traced back to comes a bit before Girard or Perregaux but rather a previous iteration of what would become this name in the first decade of the 20th century. This is pointed out not to take anything away from the brand’s history but rather allow us to better understand watchmakers by the name of Bautte who came first. Jean-Francois Bautte lived a rich life from 1772 to 1837 in which he is credited with practicing as one of the world best jewelers, founding the most complete watch manufacturer of the time, and having a hand in developing the world’s first ultra-thin watch movement. Following Jean-Francois’s death, his son Jacques Bautte and son-in-law Jean-Samuel Rossel founded a watchmaking company called Jean-Francoise Bautte & Cie Company to carry on the legacy and continue manufacturing great watches, most for the pocket.
Separate from the Bautte’s, but in the Swiss region, a watchmaker called Constant Girard formed Girard & Cie in 1852. Four years later Girard married Marie Perregaux—you might be able to guess the rest. In 1906, Jean-Francoise Bautte & Cie Company joined forces with Girard Perregaux, bought a large building in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where it still operates today, and became, for good, Girard-Perregaux. Through the name changes and confusion, one constant (other than Constant Girard) has remained. The brand built its reputation on cutting-edge horological innovation. Starting with that first ultra-thin movement, many patents are attributed to the GP brand including heavy work on early Tourbillions. A spirit of innovation has served as a throughline of the Girard-Perregaux catalog, both technically and in design, in its history and still today.
The ref. 4210 chronograph represents what Girard-Perregaux has always been to the Swiss watch market, on trend while on the cutting edge of what’s next. This watch has all the features collectors love from 1970s neo-futurism design without being over the top and unwearable, this blue dialed example is particularly restrained in its color palette. The 42mm tonneau-shaped case was popular in its era and remains extremely wearable today, fitting the wrist very well for the amount of pure mass present. The starburst finishing on the top side of the case is a cherry on top. Further selling the look is an original half-lobster link style half-oyster link style Girard-Perregaux signed Gay Freres made bracelet that completes the look to a T.
Moving beyond the case and bracelet design is a dial worth writing home about. The blue finish is striking and the accents compliment the rest of the watch really well. Interesting to note is a chronograph minutes sub-dial that is colored for each five minute interval up to 25 minutes, a feature common on yachting chronographs of the 1970s, a segment of the market that was booming. The movement inside is stamped as a GP caliber 240 but is simply a Valjoux 23, hailing from the era’s most legendary chronograph family as the two-register brother of the Valjoux 72.
Case condition of this GP chronograph is great to excellent, sporting sharp original lines and a starburst finish on the bezel surface that is easily removed with even the quickest polish. No major flaws are seen such as deep scratches or dents. The caseback is stainless-steel, in match condition to the rest of the case, and presents nicely with few scratches.
The Dial and Hands
This example’s dial is in great condition showing only minor flaws to its finish and original luminous material that has aged gracefully. The handset is correct for the model and presumed original. The luminous material in the hands matches that of the dial. Condition outside of the lume is great to excellent with no noticeable imperfections.
The Girard-Perregaux stamped caliber 240 or Valjoux 23 is currently running, although service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Manual, Girard-Perregaux Cal. 240 (Valjoux 23)|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Stainless Steel|