Fresh on the heels of the news that Tag Heuer is forging a long-term partnership with Porsche, Girard-Perregaux has announced it has a new set of wheels. It’s teaming with Aston Martin, which, coincidentally had previously worked with Tag Heuer. The British luxury carmaker and the Swiss watchmaker are both celebrating big anniversaries this year, so it was a well-timed switch-up. Aston Martin will be marking its return to Formula 1 as a works team for the first time in over 60 years, while 2021 heralds Girard-Perregaux’s 230th birthday.
Both have a shared history of turning functional mechanics into collectible “toys” for the well-heeled. Aston Martin’s 1956 DBR1 competitive racing car eventually evolved into the brand’s now well-known DB road cars, while Girard-Perregaux transformed the practical three bridges of its interior movement into its most widely recognized design feature. The “three golden bridges,” previously used as a clandestine functional component, were made visible through sapphire crystal glass on the dial side on a tourbillon for the first time in 1867.
Conceived by Constant Girard to ensure the accuracy of the tourbillon, it would later make it to the big stage at Paris’ Universal Exhibition in 1889 in the Esmerelda pocket watch, where it won the gold medal. To date, it continues to own the spotlight in the brand’s historical canon and the company continues to capitalize on the design in new models.
But the partnership between Aston Martin and Girard-Perregaux isn’t focused on the past. It’s about moving full-speed into a new era that still expects a nod to heritage (albeit the dressed-down version of the original) with all the bells and whistles of modern innovation and design. Girard-Perregaux CEO Patrick Pruniaux has been bullish about bringing the brand up to speed with changing tastes, including outfitting the three-bridges design in modern materials like sapphire crystal and titanium in pieces like the Quasar. But you can expect this partnership to have a laser focus on the steel sports watch category, likely zeroing in on the watchmaker’s more casual Laureato line, which is highlighted in the marketing images of the new partnership.
Several limited-edition co-branded watches will be part of the new joint venture with the first said to debut later this year.