Girard-Perregaux has been a leading name in watchmaking since 1791. Needless to say this brand has existed through the most revolutionary and important moments in history and the GP brand certainly reflects that – a company that is fearless when it comes to adapting to a new world. With that being said, one could assume that a brand that has endured so much would struggle with the digital age’s relentless pace. Well, Girard-Perregaux are not only thriving, they’re still – after over 200 years of being in the game – revolutionising the industry, as we know it.
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Speaking to CEO Antonio Calce, he says it is imperative to keep a firm grasp of what gave the Girard-Perregaux its longevity throughout history. “In the last two years my job was to reconnect the brand with its value and its heritage,” said Calce, “to reconnect the brand with the old strategy in terms of product strategy, in terms of communications strategy and in terms of distribution strategy. I have to protect the heritage; the value of the brand is the heritage. But it’s not enough to capitalise on the heritage if you don’t propose innovation and creativity.”
He goes on to point out how Girard-Perregaux have managed this even with their most recent release: a relaunch of the Laureato, established in 1975. “(This year) we relaunched this watch 42 years later in the complete product family – four sizes, four different movements,” said Calce. “It’s incredible because of course we adapt the product with trends today but all the code with a lot of respect – all the code, all the identity of the product. We respect all the detail based on the first one in 1975. This is really a perfect example. Innovation is possible with respect.”
“the value of the brand is the heritage. But it’s not enough to capitalise on the heritage if you don’t propose innovation and creativity.”
The 1970’s were a monumental era for Girard-Perregaux, as they were the brand that invented and spearheaded the highly influential quartz movement. This came at a time when a technological upheaval was necessary for the watchmaking industry, and GP took it into their own hands with their still-relevant focus on connecting the past to the future. “GP: all the history and all the heritage of the brand is based on creativity and innovation,” said Calce. “This is really the reputation of the brand. And this GP brand will come year after year with really innovative products and incredible creativity – the constant escapement.”
Despite the brand’s influence on the watchmaking industry that is present today, Calce also makes note that the brand’s work is never finished. “In the watch industry, it’s never finished,” he said. “Since the beginning my responsibility is to take care about the watch. We pass year after year, cycle after cycle, the brand is always there.”
As far as the future goes, Calce remains confident that Girard-Perregaux will continue to have the same resilience and impact that they’ve possessed since the brand’s inception. “We know the last few years the situation for the watch industry was not so good,” he said. “But at the same time you have a lot of opportunities this time. If you are always in line with your roots, with your heritage, and you propose a lot of innovation in line with your heritage, it’s a real answer in this period – a real answer.