In 1791, the watchmaker J. F. Bautte created his first timepieces and soon built up a reputation for his ultrathin models. He established a factory in Geneva and, in an innovative move, housed all the watchmaking crafts of the period under one roof.
In 1837, Jacques Bautte and Jean Samuel Rossel took over from the eminent Jean François Bautte, who left them an extremely valuable industrial and cultural legacy.
In 1854, Constant Girard married Marie Perregaux. It was from the union of their two names that the GIRARD-PERREGAUX Company was born in 1856.
In 1867, Constant Girard presented his Tourbillon with three gold Bridges after years of research into the functional use of gold in watch movements. This masterpiece was awarded the gold medal at the Universal exhibitions of Paris in 1867 and 1889, but declared ineligible in 1901 because it could not be equalled.
In 1880, Constant Girard developed an extremely innovative concept for watches, the wristwatch, following an order by Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany for his naval officers. Two thousand were made, the first large-scale production of wristwatches in history. But the idea was considered outlandish and production was discontinued. It was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that the wristwatch became popular and enjoyed the industrial development that has made watchmaking one of the flagship industries of the Swiss economy.
In the early 20th century, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin used a GIRARD-PERREGAUX watch to time the aeronautical trials of his airships. As wristwatches came into their own around 1910, GIRARD-PERREGAUX's reputation spread far and wide.
In 1928, Otto Graef, a German watchmaker and owner of MIMO (an International Maker of Gold Watches) bought out GIRARD-PERREGAUX's share capital.
In 1930, sales of wristwatches exceeded sales of pocket watches for the first time, proof that Constant Girard was far ahead of his time when he developed the wristwatch as early as 1880.
1940. The Second World War scarcely affected the company's activities. It continued to develop GIRARD-PERREGAUX both in Europe and on the American continent, but concentrated on MIMO for the European markets.
In 1948, to meet the needs of an internationally renowned company, construction work began on the building at 1 Girardet Place, La Chaux-de-Fonds. Restored in 1988, this building is still the Manufactory's head office.
In the 1950's, GIRARD-PERREGAUX was one of the flagship companies in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a long-established watchmaking centre. An integrated factory, it was present on all the international markets and began to concentrate on developing its business in Asia.
In 1966, GIRARD-PERREGAUX developed and manufactured the first high-frequency mechanical movement, with a balance making 36.000 vibrations per hour.
In 1969, the factory designed and produced a quartz movement with a frequency of 32.768 hertz, which became the universally accepted standard for all watches with quartz movements, including those made in Asia. This standard frequency was a veritable technical breakthrough.
In 1981, GIRARD-PERREGAUX's watch-makers started to produce twenty replicas of the famous Tourbillon with three gold Bridges pocket watch.
To celebrate its bicentenary in 1991, the company created a miniaturised wristwatch version of its celebrated Tourbillon with three gold Bridges