The Swiss Haute Horlogerie Manufacture Girard-Perregaux has opened an exclusive boutique in New York. The flagship store is at 701 Madison Avenue, a location where many of the finest luxury brands in the world are represented. The boutique is hosted in the Leonori building, which dates back to 1902 and is a landmark in the city.
The boutique's interior design reflects the brand's attention to quality, detail and craftsmanship. Company President Luigi Macaluso and Vice President Stefano Macaluso (Luigi's son, and a trained architect) produced the basic inspiration for the design, which was created by Italian architect Ermanno Previdi. The store presents all the marque's collections, comprising Haute Horlogerie and limited editions. The flagship boutique is the eighth to have been opened by the brand worldwide (following Gstaad, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau, Prague and Beirut). The company has had links to the United States from 1850, when it first arrived in New York. In fact, Henri Perregaux, watchmaker and Marie Perregaux' brother (Marie had founded Maison Girard-Perregaux with her husband Constant Girard) had an office at 78 Nassau Street, New York. In 1884 the United States patent office issued a patent to Constant Girard-Perregaux for his classic tourbillon movement with three gold bridges.
Previdi's interiors were created to exhibit watches like works of art - which is exactly what they are. The principal materials include wengé timber and satin-finish metal, together with glass, stone and leather. Other prestige details include black mirrors, Italian designer lamps, and furniture dating from 1950 to 1980. Some of the furniture designers featured include Achille Castiglioni with the Toio lamp, Gabriele Mucchi and Franco Albini chairs, and Joe Colombo lamps. New York history and design is expressed by the building itself, in Art Deco style. The interior is given special character by the contrast between the intimate entrance and the imposing main area, with a 5-metre ceiling. There is a workshop in which a skilled watchmaker is always at work, visible both inside and from outside the building, a space that is apparently suspended in mid-air, in an elevated, transparent space. The overall impression of the boutique is one of cool and sophisticated elegance.
This opening corresponds neatly to Girard-Perregaux's support for the "Green Auction," an event of environmental sensitivity. Christie's will be running this "auction to save the planet" in order to increase awareness to the problems that the earth is facing. Proceeds from the auction will go to Oceana, Conservatism International, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Central Park Conservancy. Girard-Perregaux has donated two exceptional watches featuring the tourbillon with three gold bridges. The auction will be held on 22 April 2010 in New York, in the presence of Leonardo Di Caprio, Robert Redford, Vera Wang, Robert F. Kennedy, and Regina Noor, widow of King Hussein of Jordan. Other stars who will be supporting the event include Hugh Jackman, Christina Aguilera, David Duchovny, Harrison Ford, Ed Norton, Tobey Maguire, Brooke Shields, Salma Hayek, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin. For information, see www.abidtosavetheearth.org
The WW.TC Tourbillon with three gold bridges, which will be auctioned at the Green Auction, has a 43 mm platinum case, and a sapphire watchglass. It is water-resistant to 30 metres depth. The Girard-Perregaux GP098G0 mechanical, hand-wound movement is a 28.6 mm movement that operates at a frequency of 21,600 oscillations. Its power reserve lasts for a minimum of 75 hours. Its functions are tourbillon, hours, minutes, seconds, and world time. New York, amongst the world cities featured on the inner face of the bezel, is highlighted in green.
The second watch to be auctioned is the Cat's Eye Tourbillon with three gold bridges, case in white gold, bezel and strap-stirrups studded with 84 diamonds, with another 208 diamonds on the dial. The crown wheel has yet another diamond set into it. It fits the Girard-Perregaux GP9700.0A manual, hand-wound movement, running at 21,600 oscillations per hour, with 19 rubies. Its functions are tourbillon, hours, minutes, and seconds.
Girard-Perregaux is a prestige brand that is now part of the Sowind Group, a Swiss company specializing in Haute Horlogerie and based in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Both Sowind and Girard-Perregaux are unusual in that they are amongst the last authentically Swiss watchmaking enterprises.
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