Reviewing the Girard-Perregaux Neo Constant Escapement


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Girard-Perregaux Neo Constant Escapement

This is a watch that completely skipped our attention last year, and one that the editor made a special note to have me explain. Like us (this writer included), you might have looked at this and thought nothing of it – just a rehash or relook at an existing watch. But the Neo Constant Escapement actually does live up to its name on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Girard-Perregaux debuting its groundbreaking Constant Escapement. To put it out there, if you think the Constant Escapement model has been a staple at Girard-Perregaux since 2013, you are just wrong.

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Girard-Perregaux Neo Constant Escapement

Going all the way back to the beginning for a bit, the original model was the culmination of a horological dream from back in the days when the late Luigi Macaluso was still in charge. Indeed, it is widely known (though never in the official literature) that the story started sometime in the aughts – the part about a young watchmaker being inspired by how a train ticket reacts to pressure is part of the official story now. As a bit of a refresher, here is how a traditional Swiss lever-style watch works: kinetic energy stored up in the spring is released to turn the wheels of the going train; the release of said energy is controlled by the oscillations of another spring, allowing the aforementioned wheels to drive the hands of the watch. Everything stays steady as, well, clockwork, except clockwork is not all that steady, which is what leads watchmakers to try to improve matters. The Constant Escapement, called the Echappement Constant on its 2008/2009 debut is one such attempt.

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Girard-Perregaux Neo Constant Escapement

The editor himself wrote the following description of the Constant Escapement in 2019: “Basically, what happens here is that two torsion blades within a large butterfly-shaped component in silicon provide resistance to the force delivered through the going train. When the force reaches a peak, both blades bend for a fraction of a second – less than the blink of an eye – to allow the escape wheel to advance. In this way, energy and the rate are both kept constant at each impulse.” In recognition of the success of the Neo Constant Escapement, the watch is certified by COSC as a chronometer, which is a significant achievement for a novel technical development.

Moving on to the basics of the rest of the watch, this is a 45mm titanium proposition with a rubber strap that sits relatively tall, at 14.8mm thick. The centrally mounted hands add a measure of symmetrical harmony, what with the two mainspring barrels up top balanced by the constant escapement and the regulating organs. The going train, visible caseback side, is arranged along the vertical axis of the watch, anchored by the balance wheel. Without a doubt, this is a watch for watchmaking enthusiasts who revel in watching how a mechanical calibre goes about its business.

Movement: Manual-winding GP09200-1153 with power reserve indicator; 7-day power reserve (minimum)
Case: 45mm in titanium; water-resistant to 30m
Strap: Rubber
Price: SGD 95,000

This article first appeared on WOW’s Spring 2024 issue.

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