By TLex INTRODUCING the new Girard-Perregaux Sea Hawk, the divers model of GP's new 'HAWK' sports collection, the other model being a sports chronograph called the Chrono Hawk.
We were lucky enough to get a preview of the new Sea Hawk last week, which I found to be a bit of a departure from the previous Sea Hawk models, the designs of which date back to the 2004 SHII Pro, which boasted 3000m of water-resistance and dual Helium escape valves.
I have now had time to look at the new design in more detail and digest some of its more radical features that were at first a little inexplicable; at least I was not sure what to make of them myself.
Let's start of with the 1000m water-resistant watch case, which has been constructed from Stainless steel and measures an optimal 44mm in diameter. It has a prominent brushed finish, not a polished surface in sight!
It features just one HEV (two would have been overkill, right?), which has been moved back to a more traditional position on the left lateral side of the case; previous SH Pro models had the HEV placed on the right side of case at 2:30.
Further features of the case include: a domed Sapphire crystal with AR-coating (on both sides hopefully) and a unidirectional rotational divers bezel of which there are two versions: one in rubber Ref. 49960-19-631-FK6A and one in steel Ref. 49960-11-131-FK6A. Interestingly the bezel sits on a rubberized portion of case - almost like a shock-absorbing cushion. GP have not spoken about the reasons for using rubber for the top of the case. I really hope that it serves some purpose other than just looking cool?!
The crown position and the caseback engraving seem to be the only two features that have been carried over to the new case design. It's great to see the porpoise take its rightful position on the caseback. And I still hold the belief that 4 o'clock crown position is one the most appropriate for a dive watch. The rubberized crown is protected by an elongated angular crown guard. It looks like it's separate rather than a part of the main case, but there is no word from GP to support this.
The design of case is not sleek or classic nor is it particularly sober rather a striking mixture of angles and curves. It has the same polarizing, ugly beauty that watches like the Ploprof process. I can't think of any others at the moment, but there must be more.
Although I personally love this look, it does surprise me that GP didn't take the more predictable walk down memory lane as is the fashion these days, but instead headed boldly into the future. The first generation of Sea Hawks were launched in the 1940s. Perhaps an additional model will come later that will be more heritage influenced. This would make sense to me.
If you look at competitors such as JLC or IWC, they have both contemporary and vintage style divers collections. On the other hand if you like more classic designs, JeanRichard, GP's sister company have both the Aquascope and Diverscope.
Onto the dial, which has a honey-comb
pattern with clear, luminescent markers, and indications in relief,
which GP say are inspired by the famous Girard-Perregaux Bridge creating
a striking three-dimensional effect.
When I first saw the dial, I have to admit I felt is was over-designed. I missed the simpler sandpaper-like textured dials of the previous SH Pro models that have now been inherited by the ZEGNA High-Performance SEA DIVER, also recently designed by Girard-Perregaux.
But after watching the dials being assembled by hand at the GP Manufacture in the video. I have a new found appreciation for them. Let's hope that they have received the same legendary lume application that previous models had.
Features of the dial include: a power-reserve indicator (6 o'clock), hours, minutes and sub-seconds (10 o'clock) and the quirky 1.30 date position. A remnant dial set up left over by previous SH Pros and one that is very nicely balanced despite its slight idiosyncrasies. My only gripe is that GP have still neglected to lume the sub-seconds.
Some regulations for divers watches stipulate that there should be some way of knowing that the movement is running. It is not enough to see a fully charged power-reserve indicator is it?. Surely if the movement dies it would remain where it is - giving a false scene of security, no? Movement geeks, please feel free to chime in on this.
Speaking of the movement. Girard-Perregaux's in-house calibre GP3300 powers the new Sea Hawk as it has done for that last few generations of SH models. It is a very robust and reliable self-winding mechanical movement with 46hrs power-reserve.
The new Sea Hawk is available with either a rubber or hand-stitched leather strap. These are integrated into the case, which is not an issue for me because I wouldn't dream of using a third party strap on my GP, but for others this will greatly limit strap options. This is even more the pity, when you consider that the new SH finally uses screwed lugs! I hope that GP make a bracelet for the watch, but it's unlikely.
So what do I think? As mentioned earlier, it's a 'love it' or 'hate it' kind of design. Ultra-modern and rugged and not particularly elegant. A bit of an anomaly, too. Whilst it can appear to be a little awkward and clumsy on first inspection, it is actually a very beautifully sculpted design. It's a bit of a dive watch cliche, but it's very 'toolish' and well, yes - it's cool, too!
My only misgiving is that whilst it has been painstakingly designed and engineered it has been for the sake of looks alone. There is no evidence so far that the new Sea Hawk has pioneered or incorporated any new dive watch technologies, which is a bit of a shame. My final judgement shall be reserved for when I get a chance to spend some quality time with one!
Case in steel
Bezel: rubber or steel
Diameter: 44.00 mm
Crystal: anti-reflective sapphire
Water resistance: 1,000 meters
Self-winding mechanical movement
Caliber: 11 ½ ’’’
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations/hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: min. 46 hours
Functions: hour, minute, date, small second, power reserve indicator
Strap in black rubber
Steel folding buckle