by Christopher Scapelliti
“You look good in blue,” Blondie’s Debbie Harry sang in 1976, a sentiment that comes to mind when presented with the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Blue Dial Chronograph. A cosmetic update of the white-dial 1966 Chronograph that GP released in 2010, the Blue Dial is stunningly attractive, with a sunray-style face in a metallic shade that is intense yet elegant. While blue is proving to be the trendy color of 2011, the Blue Dial looks like a classic and as such will long outlive the current zeitgeist.
Which makes sense when you consider that it’s part of GP’s 1966 Collection, which pays tribute to a special era in the company’s history. Back in the mid Sixties, Girard-Perregaux was among the few watchmakers to have its own R&D team, a luxury that allowed it to produce the first high-frequency movement, which delivered exceptional accuracy. The proof came the following year, when 73 percent of all chronometer certificates awarded in 1967 were issued to GP.
True to its roots, the Blue Dial has a column wheel chronograph, a classic design that was created to ensure watches wouldn’t inadvertently jam and become damaged when the chronograph was engaged. Like the 1966 Chronometer, the Blue Dial has a base 60 tachymeter scale along the perimeter of the dial, a feature that allows the wearer to convert time intervals to rates of speed. The small-seconds and 30-minute subdials are inscribed with a spiral—“snailed,” in horological terms—which sets them off nicely from the main dial and lends it impressive depth. The hands are in white gold, as are the hour indicators, improving legibility and lending the face a bold look. The indicators look especially crisp and illuminated against the blue dial.
The 40mm white gold case is just 12.05mm high, which should make the Blue Dial quite comfortable on the wrist. Inside is Girard-Perregaux’s GP030C0 automatic column wheel chronograph movement. Comprising 338 components, the movement is visible through the sapphire caseback window, allowing you to admire its exquisite complexity.
The 1966 Blue Dial Chronograph is set on a black alligator strap with a white-gold ardillon buckle. Retail on this beauty is $29,700. It will also be available with a white gold bracelet (reference number 49539-53-451-53A) for $51,850.