Girard-Perregaux Sea Hawk: Can it Compete in the Dive Watch Category?

Girard-Perregaux has gone on the offensive, big time. They’ve promised a reinvigoration of the brand with some surprises in store. And, truth be told, they needed to be shaken up because for a long time Girard-Perregaux has failed to give us a jolt.

The models in the collection were starting to seem a bit redundant and uninspired. Dial and case material changes passed for new introductions. Plus, too many SKU’s muddled the brand’s DNA and recognition in the marketplace. While Girard-Perregaux is a fully integrated manufacture and produce an excellent quality product, they just weren’t living up to their potential.

Credit: Sean Vakil

A good way to measure a brand and/or model’s worth is through value on the secondary market. Patek Philippe and Rolex are stars when it comes to brand equity. With few exceptions, pre-owned prices never match or exceed new ones, but Girard-Perregaux’s value on the secondary market has faltered badly. In our previous interview with him, CEO Michele Sofisti admits that something needed to be done.

After his appointment, Sofisti immediately began to rattle cage. His first move was to bring in his friend, philosopher and watchmaker Dominique Loiseau, an offbeat genius who doesn’t particularly care about following convention. At TimeCrafters this year, Girard-Perregaux presented Loiseau’s “Manifesto of Time”, a philosophy that takes inspiration from the surrealists. Loiseau says his new complication will express time through sonic and visual effect and be reverse engineered to break down into different calibres. We’re looking forward to seeing how this works.

Before unveiling this uber-complication, Girard-Perregaux had another trick up its sleeve. A few weeks ago in Miami, they revealed a revamped sports collection named Hawk with completely reconceived models, the Sea Hawk (a diver, obviously) and Chronograph, which we’ll discuss later.

The Sea Hawk retails for $11,350, which puts it in the top of the price category for divers of this nature. It will be going up against models from brands such as Rolex, Panerai, and Audemars Piguet. Can it compete? Let’s take a look.

Girard-Perregaux isn’t new to the diver watch game. They’ve got a legit history, launching the first generation of Sea Hawk in the 1940’s. But, when considering dive watches, Girard-Perregaux isn’t the first brand that’s in the collective watch consciousness. The brand intends to change that. In a substantial 44mm stainless steel case, the new Sea Hawk looks stylish and bold but it also lives up to its moniker of a dive watch. Though the Sea Hawk probably won’t experience much dive time on most wrists, it’s up to the task if needed with an impressive 1000 meters water resistance.

Credit: Sean Vakil

Channeling elements of the Laureauto (which has been retired) with the octagonal bezel, the Sea Hawk is thoughtfully designed while holding true to the DNA of Girard-Perregaux. The rubber bezel, arguably one of the most crucial parts of a dive watch, clicks solidly to give confidence but isn’t so tight that it’s a chore to adjust. For slip resistance, the octagonal ring and crown are also composed of rubber. Of course, the Sea Hawk comes equipped with a helium valve in case you’re exploring the depths or saturation diving, which makes sense for a watch with these water resistant specs. No doubt the watch isn’t a lightweight, but strapped on it’s a comfy fit because of the way it contours to the wrist.

Like the previous Seahawk dive watch, the Sea Hawk keeps the characteristic crown with integrated crown guard at 4 o’clock, and, in a clever homage to Girard-Perregaux’s award-winning three-bridge tourbillon, the dial is subtly embossed with the design for a 3D effect. Applied luminescent markers sit on top of the dial, breaking up the monotony of a flat surface and allowing the eye to easily focus on one indication at a time without distraction. Orange hands, easy to read underwater, bring attention to the hour and running seconds hand, and also to the up/down indicator, which are the essential information you need to keep you safe while diving. Situated between 1 and 2 o’clock is the date window, another handy complication when above board. Putting the date between 2 and 3 o’clock would’ve given a more traditional balance to the dial, but it’s off-line location somehow works. The reason the date resides here is because of the movement architecture.

With the Sea Hawk you’ve got options between a black dial and bezel or silvered dial and bezel, both of which come on a rubber strap with a newly designed security buckle.

Girard-Perregaux also produced a limited edition of 10 of the Sea Hawk called FOReverglades, which retails for $12,500, featuring a white strap with red crocodiles to support the public art exhibition of the same name benefitting Florida’s precious everglades. InternationalArtists William Sweetlove and artists collective, Cracking Art Group, headlined the exhibition for Art Week in Miami.

The Sea Hawk certainly has the goods. The market will let us know the result.

In our interview Michele Sofisti discusses the direction of the brand and how the Hawk fits into the picture, why the Laureauto was retired and also reveals that there will be a new line of watches introduced this year.

Categories Dive Watches, Girard-Perregaux Tags Bookmark http://blogs.christies.com/longitude/brands/girard-perregaux/girard-perregaux-sea-hawk-can-it-compete-in-the-dive-watch-category/
  • Max Reddick

    I am liking this new direction, but still wonder what the final identity of the brand will be.