What happens when a respected British automobile brand and a luxury Swiss watchmaking collaborate? The result is an extraordinary ode to the past, present, and future of the brands and their ethos. The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition unites the watchmaking expertise of Girard-Perregaux with Aston Martin’s unique knowledge of luxury and performance.
Earlier this year, when Girard-Perregaux was announced as Official Watch Partner of Aston Martin seemed perfect given the similarities between the luxury brands. Both brands demonstrate a passion for refined craftsmanship and have been working together, sharing their understanding of design, materials, and technology. The two revered brands share a deep sense of love for innovation and radical thinking. The founders of Aston Martin, Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, and Girard-Perregaux were each blessed with visionary perspectives that resulted in the companies they are today. Marek Reichman, Aston Martin Executive Vice President, and Chief Creative Officer said, “The greatest of the challenges we faced with the design of this new timepiece were those of scale, as you can imagine. We had to consider lines and proportion on a far smaller scale than we are used to in the realm of automotive design. That said, good design is good design, whether it is a watch or a car, the principles remain the same. I’m delighted with the finished watch and congratulate everyone who worked on this project as this collaboration has produced a timepiece of great beauty.”
The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition celebrates the iconic Three Bridges pocket watch from the 19th century in a decidedly contemporary fashion, down to the smallest details, including the strap. The modern iteration of the timepiece was presented in black calf leather and featuring Rubber Alloy, an innovative rubber insert injected with white gold. The design of the strap is intended to evoke thoughts of Aston Martin racing cars of the past.
Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux, points out the details of this exemplary watch, “When viewing the design of an Aston Martin, you will note the firm’s distinctive front grille, first seen on the DB Mark III of the late 50s. Likewise, the scoops and side strakes found on the company’s modern-day models are functional elements, intended to improve airflow while enriching the overall appearance of each car.” Mr. Pruniaux also regarded this collaboration as unique as the brand rarely works with others to reinterpret the Three Bridges. “At Girard-Perregaux, we share a similar philosophy. For example, when the Maison released the now-legendary Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges in 1867, it transformed three functional elements into attractive aesthetic features and demonstrated an approach that we continue to employ today. Finally, this latest partnership provides a fascinating chapter in Girard-Perregaux’s 230-year history”, he concluded.
The Story of the Flying Bridges
After Breguet patented a rather astonishing mechanism in 1801, Constant Girard found himself compelled to create a timepiece that was as extraordinary as the movement it held. In 1867 he presented a design endowing the timepiece with an airy appearance, affording breath-taking views of movement components ordinarily hidden from view. The secret was that it had ventured off-piste, creating a watch whose movement appears to levitate within the case. This is achieved by paring back the movement, causing the main plate to seemingly disappear, thereby creating the illusion of the movement flying within the case – the reason why it was recognized as ‘Flying Bridges’. His creation was not only appreciated and applauded at the Universal Exposition in Paris for its technical features, but it also became a design element. Similarly, the grille, bonnet scoop, and side strakes, intended initially to aid cooling, soon became the brand’s signature design elements for the British marque.
The Modern Interpretation of the Icon
The brand opts for a sapphire crystal box instead of the conventional bezel for the iconic timepiece’s modern iteration. The box is positioned at the front, and the rear coaxes light to illuminate the case interior, thereby augmenting readability. The movement eschews the main plate, sitting between panes of sapphire crystal and seemingly floating in mid-air. Three neo bridges span the dial and are formed of titanium with black PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) treatment, polished angles, and the black DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) bestows the watch with a stealthy appearance. The Grade 5 titanium is a robust and hypoallergenic alloy selected by Aston Martin for its lightweight properties. The cage of the tourbillon, positioned in the lower portion of the dial, is ‘lyre-shaped’ – another signature characteristic found on all the Girard-Perregaux’s tourbillons dating back to the 19th century. The tourbillon cage that measures only 10mm in diameter features a total of 79 components which collectively weigh only 0.25 grams – this helps in mitigating excess energy consumption.
Contrary to first impressions, the Three Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition features an automatic movement. The white gold micro-rotor positioned beneath the barrel energizes the mainspring. Unlike most automatic watches, it grants unobstructed views of the movement while granting the wearer the ease of a self-winding movement. The barrel, positioned at 12 o’clock, is open-worked, affording partial views of the mainspring.
The words Aston Martin are engraved on the vertical flank of the micro-rotor and are filled with white luminescent treatment, which appears blue in restricted light. Similarly, the indexes and hands are also treated with white luminescent treatment. The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition is a masterpiece limited edition to only 18 pieces. The timepiece is immediately available worldwide in all authorized Girard-Perregaux retailers.