The 1966 from Girard-Perregaux is a watch that we’ve appreciated for several years now. We loved it for many reasons: its elegance, its plain but lively domed dial, the quality of its case and its nicely finished movement. However (and with all the sympathy we have for the brand), we also noticed several faults. The first one is the size of the movement (clearly too small for the case) that leads to a date that is too close from the center of the dial, whether it is the 38mm version or the 41mm edition. Then comes the issue of the design. Some might find this watch a bit shy, especially in the white / silver dial editions – an issue that is solved with the rose gold / blue dial combination. These messages might have been heard by GP and the new 1966 Large Date and Moon Phases could possibly be the best of them all.
Don’t expect this watch to totally reinvent the 1966. All the original charm is still present in the finer details and in the overall balance achieved by GP. The case for example is 100% similar to the previous editions of the 1966 – to be precise, it features the same 41mm case as this time-and-date edition. It means that we found the same quite large bezel and the short and curved lugs, with a full mirror-polished finish. A beautiful case, well executed and very elegant once on the wrist. We have a preference here for the 38mm but we also understand men with a larger wrist. The changes are thus all located on the dial and on the displayed indications.
The dial now features 3 complications. It feels a bit like the full calendar edition in the way the dial is arranged, with a circular sub-dial at 6 displaying the moon and a window at 12. However, on this 1966 Large Date and Moon Phases, we first have a big date at 6, utilizing GP’s famous mechanism. It uses a clever visual effect that makes you believe there’s only one disc. However, it is composed of two discs, the right one painted in white that displays the left digit with black numerals – located on the lower level – and a second one on the left that measures 0.10mm height and that is made of transparent folanorm with black numerals printed. This transparent disc overlaps the main white disc, thus creating the illusion to the eye of a single disc – elegant, efficient and clever. Another advantage of this “Large Date” complication is to correct one of the defaults of the previous 1966. Impossible now to complain now about the small date window lost in the middle of the dial.
The second and third complications are located in the subsidiary dial at 6: a moon phases indicator and a small second. With this layout, we probably have the most balanced Girard-Perregaux 1966 ever. The large date gives echo to the moon and all the indications feel proportioned and aligned. The hands are also different here. They keep the same leaf design but in slightly large style, as filled with a thin line of luminous paint (also correcting the issue of night-time readability). All of this is powered by a modified version of the famous GP3300 calibre – meaning that one of our original faults with the 1966 will still be addressed.
We have here the small 25.6mm movement in the large 41mm case. There’s nothing wrong with the movement itself (except maybe a power reserve that is a bit short at 46 hours) but a larger movement would have been better looking. Anyway, the view remains pleasant, with a nicely decorated 21k gold rotor and bridges adorned with Geneva stripes and bevelled angles.
Apart from this small imperfection, the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Large Date and Moon Phases is clearly one of the most desirable editions of the collection. For sure, it remains a 1966 and thus, a very classical watch. However, in the context of a dress, elegant and visually balanced timepiece (which is the case for every 1966 watches), this edition brings an extra-pleasure with its interesting layout and the right amount of complication. Prices: 24.360 USD / 23.450 Euros in 18k Rose Gold and 26.060 USD / 25.100 Euros in 18k White Gold.