We got the memo that every day in America is now casual Friday, but fine dressing has begun to make a comeback. Maybe it’s the dapper suits of Mad Men or just fashion’s cyclical nature, but since dressing up is finally back, we’re going to rehash an obvious point: every watch collection needs a dress watch. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Full Calendar in white gold ($25,600) may not be the right selection for a gentleman on a budget, but if you play in the horological big leagues or want to add a grail to your collection, this triple calendar with moonphase timepiece is an excellent contender.
G-P’s 1966 collection, named for the Neuchatel Observatory’s Centenary Prize awarded to G-P in 1966, has brought renewed interest to the brand from collectors impressed by the stylish, classic in-house pieces, which represent a good value for what they offer. The 1966 Full Calendar uses the automatic winding GP033M0 in-house caliber, and, thankfully, G-P saw fit to show off the highly decorated movement through a sapphire crystal display back. The generous use of Geneva striping and perlage makes the movement quite something to look at.
Frequency: 28,800 Vib/h (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 46-hours
Hour, minute, full calendar with indicators of the date, day of the week, month and moon-phases, seconds
Dimensions: 40mm x 10.7mm
Scratch resistant sapphire crystal
Water Resistant to 30 meters
At 40mm, the watch is only an average size by today’s standards, but that is enough to leave plenty of empty space on the dial, which doesn’t feel at all crowded despite displaying the time, date, day, month and moon phase. The functions are set up in a traditional full calendar layout, with the date and moonphase at 6 o’clock and the day and month sitting in a neat little pair at 12 o’clock. The day and month displays are nicely beveled into the dial, and white text on a black background allows the displays to blend in and not distract the eye. The radial date display and moonphase pack a lot of printing into a small area, making the watch look a bit more casual than if the dial had been more sparsely appointed — but we like it this way.
The main attractions on the dial are the highly polished hour markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, which look incredibly elegant against the black background. The 40mm case gives the dial enough room to extend the markers beyond the length that we often see, and combined with the slender hour and minute hands, gives the watch an elegant, sexy look. Both the seconds hand and date pointer are painted white, making these very thin hands stand out well from the dial and coordinating them with the white hour markers and text. The touch of red text used on the date display for the 31 is a bit of an odd design cue (it being the sole use of red on the dial); while it adds a bit of playfulness to the dial, we would have preferred it to be white. Color is put to much better use on the moon phase display, which uses a metallic gold for the moon and stars on a glossy black background — and to great effect.
A week with the 1966 Full Calendar strapped to our wrist gave us plenty of time to be impressed. The watch definitely is not cheap, but compared to gold watches with similar complications from competing brands, the price is fair. We just wish that G-P would release this watch and others from the 1966 collection in stainless steel, because at steel prices, these highly refined and well-designed watches would be available to a wider range of collectors. Alas, we’ll have to keep dreaming.