Watchuseek Blog

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Architect of dreams; Girard Perregaux Le Corbusier Trilogy

 Charles-Edouard Jeanneret aka Le Corbusier
As watch lovers we automatically think of the city of La Chaux-de-Fonds, located in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland, as the home of the finest Swiss horology. After all, the city’s rich history of watch making has made it famous the world over. But La Chaux-de-Fonds also happens to be the birthplace of one of the world's most respected architects and designers; Charles-Edouard Jeanneret.

Born in 1887, Le Corbusier, as he was also known, was a pioneer of what is now thought of as modern architecture. With a career spanning over 5 decades, Le Corbusier travelled the world designing buildings, and, in some cases, entire cities. He dedicated his life to helping improve the conditions of people living in some of the world’s most overcrowded cities. 

Examples of Le Corbusier’ architecture can be found all over the world, including in India, Europe and the United States, where he was an instrumental member of the team of architects who helped design the United Nations Secretariat Building in Manhattan.

Now  La Chaux-de-Fonds based watchmaker Girard-Perregaux, is dedicating a trilogy of limited edition watches to the ideas and designs of one of the city’s most famous sons. The designs are based on the three places for which Le Corbusier is most synonymous; La Chaux-de-Fonds, Paris and Marseille.

Limited to only 5 pieces each, the Vintage 1945 trilogy, takes its name from the year in which one of Le Corbusier’ most important works, Les Trois √Čtablissements Humains, was published. 

Girard-Perregaux is well known for high end timepieces and the watches that make up the series represent Girard Perregaux at the top of their game.

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier — La Chaux-de-Fonds

This is the first watch in the trilogy and is inspired by a mother-of-pearl bas-relief, which Corbusier is said to have designed whilst he was studying engraving and sculpting in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Taking almost one week to produce, the dial replicates the five colours from the original work. This stylish watch will set you back just over $53,000.

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier — Paris

This watch pays homage to Charles–Edouard Jeanneret’s time in Paris, where he first assumed the name ‘Le Corbusier’. It was during his time in Paris where he created some of his most famous and iconic furniture designs. Unprecedented at the time, Le Corbusier’ made his furniture from tanned leather, rawhide and steel, which is clearly where this piece takes its inspiration. The dial illustrates the ‘Golden Mean’ and is hand engraved.  With dimensions of 36.20 x 35.25mm, this watch is priced at $21,000.

Vintage 1945 Le Corbusier — Marseille

Girard-Perregaux’s final watch in the trilogy is the Le Corbusier Marseille. The dial of this watch is actually made from concrete and is an interpretation of one Corbusier’ most notable post war structures, the Cit√© Radieuse, or “Radiant City”. It’s fair to say that concrete isn’t exactly a material that springs to mind when you think about watch making. Complete with a steel case, this timepiece costs approximately $32,000.

All of the watches in the Girard-Perregaux’s Vintage 1945 Trilogy contain 26 jewels and have sapphire crystals at both the front and on the caseback. Measuring 36.30 x 35.35mm, they are water resistant to 30 metres. The watches are powered byGirard-Perregaux’s GP3300-0078 movement, with a frequency of 28,800vph with a 46 hour power reserve.

Girard-Perregaux have successfully captured some of Le Corbusier’s finest works in these timepieces.

The rights for the reproduction of works by Le Corbusier are granted to Girard-Perregaux in exchange for a charitable donation to the Fondation Le Corbusier, to help restore Villa “Le Lac” in Corseaux, Switzerland; and to the Association Maison Blanche, for the ongoing preservation and maintenance of the Maison Jeanneret-Perret in La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

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