Long-term experience with a beautiful dress watch from Girard-Perregaux.
When looking for a dress watch, you want to find a watch that is has a clean design with subtle details that say, "look closer, no look closer". You want a watch that shows your taste for the finer things in life and that you can appreciate quality craftsmanship. The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL does all that in a way that stands out from the pack.
The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL is immediately recognizable due to its stainless steel rectangular case and pointed lugs that measures 36 x 35 mm. Yet when you look closer at the case, you notice that it is curved to hug your wrist. This is then pushed further as the alligator strap is integrated into the case. By doing this, they created a seamless transition that results in a high comfort level and low profile, at 11 mm thick, that can easily slide under a shirt cuff and wears thinner due to the curvature. The strap is then secured with a folding deployant clasp, a must in my opinion, although the clasp that Girard-Perregaux used here seems like an after thought for a watch of this caliber. This is a dress watch so, remember, it's water resistance is very low, at 30 meters. Which means you can get past some rain drops or splashes from the kitchen sink, but leave it at home when you go to the beach.
Ticking inside the Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL at 4 Hz is the in-house automatic caliber GP03300-0051. The base 3300 movement is a staple in the Girard-Perregaux collection that comes in various configurations across their line of watches. The version found here is time-only with a small seconds indication at 6 o'clock, a time trusted configuration for a dress watch. When you turn the watch over, through the sapphire case back, you see that the movement has been well finished in a fashion you would expect from a high-caliber manufacture like Girard-Perregaux. One drawback though is the unidirectional automatic rotor that, when rotating freely, can give a "wobble" effect similar to that of a Valjoux 7750. Not a deal breaker by any means but, it is noticeable. When the mainspring is fully wound it will give you about 46 hours of power.
All technical specifications aside, the real stunner of the Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL is the satin finished, and three-dimensional, blue dial. Much like the Girard-Perregaux Sea Hawk that I reviewed previously, the dial of the Vintage 1945 XXL has a lot of depth and structure that invites you to look closer and find a deeper appreciation for the attention to detail of Girard-Perregaux's designers. Once you get passed the hypnosis from staring at the visual dance offered by the blue satin-finish, you notice the applied, rhodium-plated Breguet numerals polished to a mirror shine. These numerals, which are usually reserved for watches at a much higher price-point, are beautiful to look at and add to the character of the watch. The hands are of a matching finish and faceted to increase legibility. As I mentioned earlier regarding the curvature of the case, the dial is also curved to match. This is apparent in the small seconds display that is flat and cut into the dial which adds to the structure of the design. However, I don't understand the choice to make the "60" red on the small seconds display. Not that it detracts from the rest of the watch but, it just seems out of place.
After adding the Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL to my normal rotation, it was obvious from the very start that it was possibly the most "dressed up" watch that I have worn. It's not a daily driver, but it is that custom tailored tux that you bring out on special occasions and everyone does a double take and says, "this guy knows what he's doing." The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL retails for $10,450 and you can find more info at girard-perregaux.com.