Charles Girardier introduces the 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

Diamond Waltz

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm
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1024Recognized by the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2020 with the Ladies’ Complication Watch Prize, Charles Girardier expands the 1809 collection with a new ladies’ version of its Signature Mystérieuse (‘Mysterious Signature’) flying tourbillon: The 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm testifies to the unexpected possibilities of a most complicated and refined timepiece. Executed using techniques that merge artisanship with artistry, the watch dazzles with the rare combination of an exceptional grand feu enamel dial spangled with pure silver-leaf paillons and an Haute Horlogerie watch calibre. Above the tourbillon, the diamond-set initials C and G engage in a waltz to the rhythms of Signature Mystérieuse – a mesmerizing dance in the spotlight of the diamond-set bezel. The 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm is dedicated to the refined woman who appreciates substance within form.

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

Complicated watches for women, made with techniques that draw on centuries-old artisanship are Charles Girardier‘s primary field of expression. In combining history, watchmaking and exceptional artisanship, the 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm brings out the exceptional in every aspect of what the brand stands for, in particular its sense of refinement, both visible and discreet. Visible by the use of precious materials and stones and sophisticated finishing, discreet by a masterful execution the detail of which becomes clear only up close.

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

First stirrings of a rebirth

Created in 2018 by Geneva-based Patrick A. Ulm, the brand resurrects the work of Charles Girardierthe Elder, also a son of the fabled city by the lake. By the time he became a Master Watchmaker in 1809 he was already producing elaborate pocket watches. The dials featuring finely painted scenes would become one of the hallmarks of his creations. In 2019, at the Agatha Christie Museum in London, a Girardier pocket watch catches Patrick A. Ulm’s imagination – and simply won’t let go. And thus was founded the watch brand Charles Girardier.

In 2020, Charles Girardier enters its first creation for the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève competition: the Tourbillon Signature Mystérieuse ‘Fleur de Sel’ wins the Ladies’ Complication Prize. This complicated gem-set piece forms the beginning of the 1809 collection, the first of which, the 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm, combines a grand feu enamel dial with a flying tourbillon and the Signature Mystérieuse automaton.

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

Light in motion – a living signature

Charles Girardier watches are distinguished by their ‘mysterious signature,’ a direct tribute to the eponymous founder: His initials, a C and G intertwined, take on a life of their own through an automaton patented by Charles Girardier in the medallion located at noon on the dial. Made from rose gold and set with diamonds, the initials serve as a signature since the brand name does not appear on the dial. Customers may request their own initials or even other shapes for a Signature Mystérieuse that is unique to them.

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

The art in light, lines, forms and textures

Made of 5N rose gold, the ‘pinkest’ of all, the case of the 1809 Dark Grey measures 37 mm in diameter, with a total thickness of 11.8 mm. The polished gadroons and satin-finished flanks create a contrast of textures that emphasizes its profile. The lugs follow through on the curves of the case middle. The bezel, set with a total of 60 brilliant-cut diamonds, lights up the entire 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm. As a final note of brilliance, a diamond cabochon adorns the crown.

On the case back, a small but not insignificant extra touch: Indeed, Charles Girardier has just obtained the right to apply the Poinçon de Maître to its creations. Next to the obligatory mentions, the initials CG are struck in the thickness of the gold, discretely signing the watch.

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

The art of the dial

The dial of the 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm places Charles Girardier in a very limited circle of brands able to propose an execution that is both in the best taste and exigent in the extreme. The dial, made of dark grey grand feu enamel layered on an arabesque pattern is spangled with paillons. These are pure silver-leaf flakes in the shape of the ‘Fleur de Sel,’ which evoke a stylized lily, the fleur-de-lis connected with French monarchy of centuries past.

The making of the dial begins with a base plate of solid gold, a material suitable for the finest enamels. It is shaped to accommodate the tourbillon at 6 o’clock and the Signature Mystérieuse at 12. The balance of the surface is engraved with an arabesque pattern, a recurring theme of the 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm. Then the painstaking process of applying the enamel begins.

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

Perfection by fire

After each layer of enamel is applied, the enameller slides the dial into a kiln heated to no less than 800 degrees Celsius (hence the term grand feu – ‘great fire’), so the enamel paste may vitrify. The operation is repeated a total of eight times, the last two of which are particularly important. Indeed: it is upon the penultimate layer that the dial maker places the silver-leaf paillons, one by one; then comes the final coat of translucent enamel. But we are getting ahead of ourselves…

Paillonné enameling is an ancestral, almost forgotten craft with which an ornamental motif is embedded in the very substance of the enamel. At Charles Girardier, the paillons are made in the same workshop as the dial, a rare practice. Pure silver-leaf was chosen because it is resistant to very high temperatures. It is only after the paillons have been delicately arranged that the last coat of enamel is applied. This translucent layer, called fondant, has a dense and smooth texture that creates a dramatic impression of brilliance and depth.

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

Noble heart

Used since the beginnings of Charles Girardier in 2020, the CG Calibre 1809 contributes in no small measure to the prestige of the 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm. On the dial side, this movement proposes a tourbillon without upper bridge, i.e. of the flying type. This affords an unobstructed view of the assembly’s permanent rotation – the defining principle of a tourbillon. To bring out the mechanical spirit at the core of Charles Girardier, the sparkle of the gem-set bezel and the sheer refinement of this women’s collection, the tourbillon cage has been set with diamonds as well. This rare approach, which few dare to undertake, literally creates a whirlwind of light.

Turn the 1809 Dark Grey 37mm on its back and the sapphire crystal reveals the extent of Haute Horlogerie performance this caliber packs into such a compact volume. Its substantial bridge, made of one piece, takes up almost two-thirds of the visible area. This is a legacy of the 18th century Charles Girardier movement design, adopted by the brand today with equally unusual finishes. Instead of the traditional Côtes de Genève or satin finish, today’s Charles Girardier opts for a grenage, an entirely manual frosting technique that creates a matte surface by applying a silver powder with a brush. The other visible bridges, and in particular the one that holds the tourbillon from below, also show this graining.

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

A view to the heart

Again, we note the unobstructed view from this side of the 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm. That is because the CG Calibre 1809’s self-winding mechanism does without a central rotor. Indeed, the latter would hide mechanism. Winding is carried out by a ring-shaped mass, which circles the movement’s periphery and the height of which is the movement’s thickness. It is quite noiseless. The sense of elegant lightness comes not only from the clear view: the thickness – or rather thinness – of the movement is commendable for a ladies’ watch.

That is not to say the CG Calibre 1809 is completely rotor-free. Indeed, the mechanism Signature Mystérieuse is based on a small oscillating weight, used not for winding but to power the automaton driving the initials C and G. This rotor lives in a setting of matte textures, polished bevels and blued screws. One rotating component carries one initial, ‘half’ of the signature, while the other, the size of the minute hand and rotating independently, carries the second element. As the arm is set in motion, the two parts begin to rotate, occasionally aligning to reveal the secret of the mysterious signature. This system is the subject of a patent application.

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

At the heart of Geneva

To create this exceptional calibre, Charles Girardier has chosen to collaborate with one of the best manufacturers of fine watches. Timeless, a specialist of watchmaking components based in the Canton of Geneva, develops, manufactures and assembles its movements in-house. The CG Caliber 1809 is entirely manufactured in Switzerland. It not only merits the Swiss Made label, but also, save for a rare few components, could be said to be Made in Geneva.

The idea of the watch as the product of a collaborative effort has always been at the core of Swiss watchmaking. The notion of vertical integration is quite recent. As a Master Watchmaker, Charles Girardier himself did not make all of his watches, but knew how to bring together the specialists, artisans and craftspeople who would provide the best outcome for each aspect and component of the watch to be created. This practice continues to be the best guarantee for realizing the elegant, unique and mechanically superlative watchmaking vision of Charles Girardier.

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm

Charles Girardier 1809 Dark Grey 37 mm Technical Specifications

Functions

  • Hours, minutes, flying tourbillon,
  • ‘Mysterious Signature’

Movement

  • Calibre: CG 1809/03, mechanical with automatic winding by bidirectional peripheral mass, single ball bearing, one minute flying tourbillon regulator
  • Jewels: 32 rubies
  • Diameter: 30.6 mm, 13 1/2”
  • Thickness: 8.43 mm
  • Power reserve: 46 hours
  • Frequency: 4 Hz / 28,800 vph
  • Components: 308
  • Decoration: Garneted bridges, horizontal satin-finished and polished tourbillon bridge, polished tourbillon cage set with diamonds, sunrayed peripheral mass, bevelled plate and bridges, blued screws

Dial

  • Grand feu enamel,
  • rose gold base with engraved arabesque pattern,
  • pure silver ‘Fleur de Sel’ pearls,
  • dark grey enamel
  • ‘Mysterious Signature’ in pink gold, set with diamonds, on arabesque pattern
  • 18K rose gold leaf hands

Case

  • Material: Rose gold 5N 18K
  • Bezel: Rose gold, set with 60 brilliant-cut diamonds (.9 ct)
  • Couronne: Rose gold, set with diamond cabochon
  • Diameter: 37 mm
  • Thickness: 11.8 mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating
  • Case back: Sapphire crystal
  • Water-resistance: 30 meters/100 feet

Strap

  • Material: Pearl grey ribbon woven on a traditional Jacquard loom
  • Fasteners: Interchangeable, Presto system
  • Buckle: Folding clasp, 18K rose gold

Int’l retail price 84,000 euros (excl. VAT) – Warranty 5 years, first service free of charge

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