© David Prince
| Credit: © David Prince

With what seems like every fashion designer churning out watches of vague provenance and often uncertain quality, it’s good to see an old Swiss guard uphold watchmaking traditions. Girard-Perregaux, which traces its roots to 1791, designs and manufactures today in the watchmaking mecca of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland (the small town produced both the architect Le Corbusier and the auto magnate Louis Chevrolet). No surprise, then, that the Vintage 1945 Off-Centered Hour and Minute honors the past yet can’t resist contemporary tweaks. The curved case is pure Art Deco, a wrist-tracing rectangle now blown up to the extra-large proportions favored by today’s wearers, and the hour and minute displays are nudged above the watch’s central axis, hence the “off-centered” designation. The handmade dial still glows like museum pottery, thanks to the centuries-old grand feu enameling technique, in which a master artisan brushes and fires successive layers of enamel at extremely high temperatures.

The result is an impeccable investment-grade watch, suited more to buy-and-hold bankers than to tech-fund parvenus. The price is part of what separates a Girard-Perregaux from a Gucci.


Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Off-Centered Hour and Minute

Width: 36 mm

Case: White gold

Movement: Automatic

Price: $33,100