Girard-Perregaux unveiled the Chamber of Wonders collection which comprises three different timepieces each representing different eras: The Pearl of Wonders, the Terrestrial Map and the New World. Each of them boosts an exceptional dial thanks to the artisans who craft fine details over the background of extraordinary materials.
The first model in this collection, the Pearl of Wonders, features the map drawn during the first half of the 13th century by a historian, Ibn al-Wardi. This atlas of the world on the dial is inspired by the theories of Ptolemy who is considered to be the father of geography.
This map demonstrates the influence of Arab culture on other civilizations at the turning point between the Middle Ages and the period of the Renaissance. Perhaps many people do not know that Arab astronomy was very advanced in the Middle Ages. In that time Arabs were the ones who described the constellations, created maps of the sky and perfected instruments, such as the astrolabe.
On this map, we can see the Arabian peninsula which is in its center and surrounded by the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf surmounted by the Indian ocean. The unlikely lines of this mythical map allow us to recognize Africa hosting the mountains where the Nile river takes its source. The river which is showed by a wide blue line suddenly flows into the Mediterranean at an abrupt right angle. Other elements that we can recognize are the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, as well as, India, Sindh and China in the distance.
The map is rendered on the sodalite stone which is known for its hardness, with its isometric structure which is composed of silica-poor minerals. The characteristic blue color and its open crystalline structure are incentives to plumb the depths of knowledge further. This stone comes from a block from which a disk 0.70 mm high is cut and polished by hand. It is painstakingly carved and engraved manually and about four hours of scalpel work were needed for it to house the fragmented mosaic of a papyrus which is 0.25 mm thick.
Once when it is locked between two steel plates, to provide that its surface is perfectly flat, the parchment, like an unexpected territory of expression, can accommodate the talent of a miniature painter who reproduced the contours of the ancient map for approximately 28 hours. After that, a coat of lacquer covers the work of art with a thin protective and stabilizing veil. To resume, it took circa 50 hours of work to create a single timepiece.
The Pearl of Wonders (ref. 49534-52-R04-BB60) is housed in 18-karat pink gold case which measures 40mm in diameter. The case is shielded with anti-reflective sapphire crystals and it provides water resistance up to 30 meters (100 feet). The watch is produced in limited series of 18 timepieces.
From the rear, the view through the transparent case back shows the GP03300 caliber with its mainplate and its bridges that are carefully drawn, chamfered, circular-grained and encrusted with Côtes de Genève. The impeccable mechanism highlights Girard-Perregaux’s tradition of watchmaking and guarantees reliability and precision. The movement is composed of 205 individual parts and it provides no less than 46 hours of power reserve. The beating pace is 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz).