A quietly artistic masterpiece from Girard-Perregaux at SIHH 2008, was the Vintage 1945 Off-Centered Hour and Minute watch. So named because of its hour and minute hands which are mounted just above the center axis of the dial, this Girard-Perregaux timepiece showcases a true delight for connoisseurs of artisan crafts. I am of course referring to the stunning off-white dial crafted from genuine grand feu enamel. Produced by cooking powdered enamel in several successive layers, the painstaking grand feu process, when correctly done, results in a creation of great beauty and depth. The glossy richness and aesthetic longevity of enamel dials are unparalleled; if you have ever handled a well-preserved pocket watch from the 19th or early 20th century, you’ll know what I mean.
On this dial, the charming effect of the enamel is enhanced all the more by the stately Roman numerals, and minuscule red elements on the power reserve scale, and sub seconds and date display. Of course, all of these are also rendered in enamel, which is applied atop the enamel dial base, and fired to create a permanent set. The slightly eccentric displays add to the unique appeal of this beautiful dial, as do the stunning blued steel leaf-shaped hands, which could not be a more perfect match for this watch’s aesthetic. Size of the white gold case, at 36 x 37 mm is not overly large, but suits the design extremely well.
The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Off-Centered Hour and Minute watch is my favorite Vintage 1945 model without a major complication (tourbillon, perpetual calendar, etc.). The combination of traditional craftsmanship, useful functions, and striking beauty make it an exceptionally appealing luxury timepiece.