2009 Luxury Preview: Racing Form
Around 1880, Constant Girard—founder of Girard-Perregaux—unveiled a pocket watch that could measure fractions of a second. The function was named foudroyante, from the French word for "lightning." This year, the firm—one of few companies that produce foudroyante timepieces—combines the function with a rattrapante (split-second) chronograph and the acclaimed Three Gold Bridge tourbillon in the $530,000 Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon Chronograph with Rattrapante and Foudroyante. The watch’s rattrapante chronograph features two hands that can register split times, while the foudroyante second hand completes one revolution every second on the subdial at 9 o’clock, imperceptibly marking a stop time every sixth of a second. To improve performance, Girard-Perregaux equipped the rattrapante with an isolating device to ensure constant balance amplitude, so that engaging the chronograph does not drain power from the main watch mechanism. These stopwatch functions are combined with the rotation of the tourbillon, which is situated at 6 o’clock. The firm will make 33 pieces.