Improved ceramic case and bracelet.
The digital display quartz watch is a genre that emerged in the 1970s, invented by the American watch company Hamilton in 1970 – positioned as a high-end watch at the time – and has been shown by various watchmakers from Europe and Asia in the following decades their own perceptions of digital watches, despite the latter already dominating the market.
One of the more memorable ones is the Girard Perregaux ref. The 9931 “Casquette” from 1976, with its aerodynamic design, is particularly sci-fi. But after a brief production run, it disappeared from the brand’s catalogue until it made a surprising comeback last year with a unique, modernized version for the charity auction Only Watch 2021.
Now, replica Girard-Perregaux (GP) has finally taken the wraps off the Casquette 2.0, which replicates the style of the original but features updated technologies and materials, namely a ceramic and titanium case and a new movement.
Casquette 2.0 is a good remake. It retains the appealing design of the retro original, which is a good-looking but stingy watch, and instead devotes resources to improving structure and function. The new scratch-resistant ceramic case and bracelet demonstrate GP’s efforts in carefully improving the makeover, especially since similarly priced watches tend to rely on black-coated steel.
At the same time, the functions of the watch have also been improved. It gets a chronograph and a second time zone, both of which are rudimentary but still useful. That said, its utility still pales in comparison to modern digital watches like the G-Shock or the Apple Watch, so it’s more about retro style than functionality.
On the one hand, Swiss-made watches are generally expensive (as a result of inherent quality and marketing). Second, the design is fresh and attractive, while also reminiscent of much more expensive watches, such as those from Urwerk.
Meanwhile, very few watches at this price point have ceramic cases and bracelets, except for the latest-generation mechanical Chanel J12, which is slightly more expensive. The Casquette is also significantly less expensive than a typical GP watch, making it an affordable entry point for the brand, albeit an electronic one.
Ceramic and Titanium
The biggest upgrade of the Casquette from the retro original to today’s iteration is the materials. Originals were available in steel, gold or Makrolon (a type of polycarbonate, basically the high-end plastic of the day). Although the Makrolon version is the coolest looking, the material doesn’t age well.
So it’s a good thing that GP has chosen to recreate the all-black Makrolon model, but with a combination of solid materials, namely ceramic, titanium and rubber.
Most of the new Casquette, including the outer part of the case and bracelet, is ceramic, making the watch virtually scratch-resistant. Notably, the ceramic bracelet is nicely treated with alternating matte and polished surfaces, giving the watch a sporty look as it reflects light.
Surprisingly, the underside of the bracelet is rubber, presumably because it’s light and comfortable. And the material feels warm to the touch, unlike metal that feels cold. Like ceramic watches, the case back and clasp are made of titanium because it has a flexibility that ceramics don’t have.
Inside the watch is the GP3980-1474, a new quartz movement that is a major improvement over the movements of the 1970s. While the original only displayed the time and date, the new movement also displays the month, year and a second time zone.
It also has other features, including a stopwatch and a “secret” display that shows a specific date at a specific time of day, a useless feature, albeit whimsical and unusual.
Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0
Diameter: 42.4 mm x 33.6 mm
Height: 14.64 mm
Material: Ceramic and Titanium
Water resistance: 50 m
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, day of the week, date, month, year, second time zone, chronograph and “secret” date
Frequency: 32,768 Hz
Power source: battery
Battery life: two years
Strap: Ceramic and rubber bracelet, titanium folding clasp