By Dara Hinshaw
We gathered in the Girard-Perregaux Boutique on Madison Avenue, munching on breakfast treats and awaiting the arrival of the masterpieces from the Girard-Perregaux Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. They had just arrived this morning, and were still being unpacked. Girard-Perregaux Museum curator Willy Schweizer waited anxiously with us, having flown here from Switzerland for this important event. When the timepieces were unveiled, we were not disappointed.
Celebrating 220 years of watchmaking history, the collection ranges from elegant pocket watches to multiple award-winning wristwatches. One of the highlights is La Esmeralda, a hunter case pocket watch dating from 1889 with a gorgeously engraved rose gold case. By Constant Girard-Perregaux, it is the most famous edition of his Tourbillon with three gold Bridges and was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1889.
Another stunner from Girard-Perregaux is the cross-shaped pendant watch, circa 1870, in yellow gold and enamel, with a movement that is cross shaped, too. The face of the case is decorated with painted enameled religious figures, the back is engraved and enameled with the Ave Maria in Latin, and the bezel is set with diamonds.
The exhibition is enhanced by current collections, featuring timepieces presented at SIHH 2011, as well as limited editions created to celebrate Girard-Perregaux’s 220th Anniversary. “A Tale of Inspiration: Unveiling 220 years of Watchmaking Art” is on display November 18-23, 2011, at the Girard-Perregaux Boutique, 701 Madison Avenue at 63rd St., open 10am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. 646-495-9915.