In the past I have written (as one clearly can’t write in the future) about how all too often companies downgrade from manufacturers to assemblers. Occasionally though there are companies that go the other way. Girard Perregaux is a company that went from manufacturer to hybrid assembler/manufacturer, and back to a manufacturer again. They now produce a number of innovative, well designed, and well made movements and watches.
To their credit, even when they based their pieces off of other movements, they still managed to innovate. Examples include the first high-frequency movement in 1966 mentioned in my previous post on the Longines Ultra-Chron. They also produced a quartz watch that vibrated at 37.768 Hz. To put that in perspective of mechanical watches (and briefly explain what makes quartz so accurate) a 36,000vph watch is only 5Hz. This rate became the industry standard for all quartz watches.
For a long time, they were a watch group without a strong identity. They bounced back and forth between the uses of their own super high-end manufactured movements like the famous Three Bridges Tourbillion and assembled ones, such as the example here and the well-known Gyromatic series. They dabbled everywhere which meant they were never really identifiable as a brand with a particular characteristic. This has changed under the leadership of the current CEO Michele Sofisti. They have moved to be almost exclusively manufacturers and have built a strong brand identity. While that means I will not be able to service those pieces for now (as in-house manufacture tends to mean the supply of parts is highly restricted) I must applaud and respect them for their step into full-on manufacturers. They have produced a myriad of new innovations and awe-inspiring pieces that bode very well for the future of the brand.
This particular Sea Hawk uses a manual ETA caliber 1081. While this is a well-made movement it is a far cry from the modern calibers that currently come out of their factories.
I got this watch with a broken balance, knowing that because it is an older ETA, parts are relatively cheap. The good condition case and perfect patina are what drew me to this particular example. The unique hands make this stand out as a Sea Hawk of the time and are unmistakably Girard Perregaux.
Once I got it all together and polished the case, I got a band that helps to accentuate the patina. While it is most certainly a far cry from the current Sea Hawks, it is a great piece that shows that even when they were an assembler Girard Perregaux still added fantastic touches big and small to make pieces their own.