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October 8, 2012updated Feb 07, 2013

Architecture and Horology Collide With New Girard-Perregaux Collection

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland–Reported By Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

High in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland, a few kilometers east of France, is perched the small town of La Chaux-de-Fonds — for centuries the wellspring of many different forms of genius. Among those born here was Le Corbusier (born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret), one of the greatest names in modern architecture and design, who, today, has inspired fellow Chaux-de-Fond creators Girard-Perregaux and their new Le Corbusier Trilogy.

The model selected by Girard-Perregaux for the basis of the Le Corbusier Trilogy is the Vintage 1945, the year Le Corbusier published one of his most famous works, “Les Trois Etablissements Humains” (The Three Human Establishments) and devised his anthropometric scale of proportions. Though the watches all tick with the same automatically wound GP3300-0078 calibre, each model features a distinctly different identity thanks to their drastically different dial materials.

The Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier La Chaux-de-Fonds pays tribute to an early Le Corbusier work by faithfully reproducing it in a bas-relief of mother-of-pearl — a nod to both the piece itself and to Le Corbusier’s beginnings as a sculptor and engraver. Seven exacting days are required to produce each dial, requiring mastery of multiple skills : design, sculpture, polishing and varnishing. The foremost challenge was to preserve the integrity of the original work’s five colors — necessitating
considerable patience and meticulous attention to detail.

The collection’s second piece, the Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier Paris, commemorates Le Corbusier’s contributions to the decorative arts by focusing on materials —pairing a steel case with a cowhide strap to evoke the Le Corbusier chaise longue.The hand-engraved metal dial reflects his Modulor system of architectural proportion, based on the male figure (human scale) and the “Golden Ratio,” as well as his applied perception of light.

Last but not least is the Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier Marseille, which features a Girard-Perregaux developed concrete dial that required three days to pour, dry and meticulously hand-finish. Concrete is an exceptionally uncommon material in watchmaking now, as it was in construction when Le Corbusier used it to build Cité Radieuse. The result is an unparalleled interpretation of Le Corbusier that, like the collection itself, represents a seamless blend of watchmaking and architecture.

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