First introduced as a prototype in 2008, the Constant Escapement – whose name is a nod to Constant Girard (1825-1903) which, together with his wife Marie Perregaux, founded the brand – represented a real breakthrough in watchmaking. Leveraging the extraordinary properties of silicon that enables the most innovative structures, this innovative mechanism could now supply the balance wheel with constant force that never dwindles.
The invention was followed in 2013 by the first model implementing the solution which, that same year, won the prestigious “Aiguille d’Or” award in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
This year Girard-Perregaux introduced a new Constant Escapement L.M. model featuring a design that is more technical and contemporary. The initials “L.M.” stand for Luigi Macaluso (1948-2010), who was the president of the Sowind Group owning the brand and the one who decided to trust and promote this movement.
Protected by four invention patents, the new Constant Escapement L.M. reprises the mechanism that made such a strong impression: a butterfly-wing frame is placed between the lever and the balance spring. This intermediate device serves to support a buckled-blade measuring just 14 microns thick – six times finer than a human hair.
Impossible to make in any material than silicon, this strategic component appears to be floating in a vacuum, taking on a wave-like form. Thus flexed at the point of instability, it is capable of storing a certain amount of energy, before releasing it all at once and transmitting it back to the balance wheel when an impulse causes it to buckle from one state of equilibrium to another.
This entirely novel constant force escapement makes it possible to supply regular impulses to the oscillating organ, whatever the state of depletion of the barrel, thereby guaranteeing unprecedented precision.
Another distinctive feature of this outstanding hand-winding Manufacture Girard-Perregaux movement is its power reserve. Two double barrels, comprising springs amounting to a total three metres in length, ensure an exceptional one-week period of autonomy – displayed on a linear indicator at 9 o’clock. Hours and minutes are read off on an offset counter at 12 o’clock. To ensure an unobstructed view of this mechanism, only the seconds hand remains centrally fitted. The GP09100 movement beats at a frequency of 3 Hz (21,600 vph).
The imposing 46 mm-diameter x 14.84 mm-thickness case is water-resistant to 30 metres / 100 feet.
Featuring an all-black dial, the new Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement L.M. is available in pink gold, white gold or a carbon-titanium composite with prices starting at around Euro 166,000 / US$ 124,000. girard-perregaux.com