Girard-Perregaux’s latest Quasar Azure – with its distinct tourbillon with three bridges – is a limited edition of just eight and is presented with a skeletonised movement and case that’s sculpted from a single block of blue-tinted sapphire.
When it debuted in 2019, Quasar was the first Girard-Perregaux watch with a case made entirely from sapphire. The Quasar Light, unveiled in February 2020 also used sapphire for the three bridges of the tourbillon. The use of tinted sapphire cases in watchmaking is not new, Richard Mille and Hublot has been doing this for a few years now, the latter notably with the Big Bang Unico Sapphire models.
The new Quasar Azure has a translucent 46-mm case, carved out of a single block of blue-tinted sapphire. The forming, milling, colouring, and polishing of the case is a painstaking process that requires more than 200 hours of work to ensure a uniform shade, including its lugs and crown. The case is topped by a box-shaped crystal dial-side and on the caseback, resulting in 360º views of the skeletonised Caliber GP09400-1035.
The most striking aspect of the movement is the arrow-shaped “Neo-Bridges” which anchor the tourbillon. This construction is inspired by the architecture of Girard-Perregaux’s famous La Esmeralda pocketwatch from 1889. In the Caliber GPO9400-1035, the bridges are made of grade 5 titanium and are set against a grey-tone NAC-treated mainplate. The tourbillon has a lyre-shaped cage and is composed of 80 pieces and weighs only about 1/4 of a gram.
The self-winding movement has a micro-rotor made of white gold positioned behind the mainspring barrel for the movement’s 60-hour power reserve. Time in indicated by dauphine hour and minute hands that sweep above the dial. The hands are made of white gold and treated with a blue luminous material.
The watch is paired with a metallic-effect anthracite fabric strap with matching hand stitching and a triple folding clasp made of DLC-coated titanium. It is presented in a spherical display case made of handblown glass. The watch is priced at $274,000.