Girard-Perregaux Debuts the Casquette 2.0 Wristwatch

Limited to 820 pieces, this digital timepiece reimagines the Swiss brand's legendary '70s launch

Sponsored by Girard-Perregaux

Very few timepieces have influenced the industry quite like Swiss watch brand Girard-Perregaux‘s reference 9931, produced between 1976-78. Nicknamed the “Casquette,” this Quartz watch married an unexpected and now iconic case shape and a digital LED display to form a retro-futuristic package. People who were looking for innovation from the industry at that time bought them. Ultimately, 8,200 watches were produced before the Casquette was discontinued. This week, Girard-Perregaux brought the design back with the officially titled Casquette 2.0, limited to 820 watches, and featuring a new in-house movement, the 3980. The new iteration is sleek, light and unlike anything currently available. It’s also in very high demand, and the 100 units available in the brand’s online store sold out hours after being announced. Understanding why it is still so coveted requires looking back to the original.

Original 1976 Casquettes in stainless steel and Makrolon flank the 2022 ceramic version, by Chris Coe for COOL HUNTING

Upon its launch, the Casquette’s design immediately drew associations with science-fiction architecture, from its red LED display to its tapered bracelet from case to clasp. Ergonomic design makes legibility easy while simultaneously creating a curiosity given the display’s side-view position. And, unlike the movements found in most other digital watches of the era, it featured one created in-house. The Casquette was produced in three materials: stainless steel (reference 9931), 18k gold-plated (reference 9934) and Makrolon, a polycarbonate (reference 9939, which also included the updated in-house 396 calibre). The latter was unusual in the era and extremely lightweight at only 37 grams / 1.3 ounces.

Original 1976 Casquette in stainless steel, by Chris Coe for COOL HUNTING

The first LED watches became available in 1973; made by American brands, they quickly took the market by storm and caused a bit of concern in Switzerland. It wasn’t long before Swiss manufacturers got into the digital watch craze, nearly all of them using modules available from industry-wide suppliers, meaning that despite a custom case functions were consistent across brands and models. Girard-Perregaux, which was founded in 1791, was not the largest maison but it was always an innovator. From its iconic three bridge tourbillon to its quartz movement that beats at 32,768 hertz, launched in 1971 and still the industry standard, they desired and were able to produce their own in-house movement for the Casquette.

Archival image courtesy of Girard-Perregaux

Interest in the watch did not cease when production ended. In fact, the Casquette became highly sought after on the secondary market and continues to be a darling for collectors. Max Busser of MB&F always admired the watch and acknowledged its influence in his HMX in 2015. Architecture like that of Zaha Hadid was clearly influenced as well, with graceful, rounded lines and modernist momentum.

Archival image courtesy of Girard-Perregaux

Over 25 years ago, COOL HUNTING’s founders acquired all three versions of the Casquette and they still hold one in steel and one in Makrolon. When invited to  join Bamford Watch Department founder George Bamford on episode 14 of his podcast they were asked to surprise him by speaking about any watch they loved. Seeing that he had recently received a vintage Casquette for Christmas they thought it would be a good topic. Only later did they find out that Girard-Perregaux collaborated with Bamford Watch Department on a mesmerizing one-off Casquette composed of forged carbon and titanium. The watch sold for CHF 100,000 (about $108,000 USD and roughly 10 times the initial estimate) at the Only Watch charity auction, in support of research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Some fans noticed that the brand had created a new movement for the watch, and rumors naturally started about a potential re-release.

Girard-Perregaux collaboration for Only Watch with Bamford Watch Department, image courtesy of the brands

Though the iconic design remains mostly unmodified for this brand new iteration, the Casquette 2.0 swaps out all previous materials for a high-performance, scratch-resistant (and hypoallergenic) ceramic case and bracelet (with rubber support), accented with a grade five titanium caseback and titanium pushers. It’s easy to distinguish the Casquette 2.0 as it has a few straight edges on the top and around the bezel, it’s just a little bit larger and the LED display is larger too. It’s darker than the vintage Makrolon version, and the bracelet has polished edges. The inside gets an upgrade as well, thanks to a new Quartz movement (reference 3980) granting it extra functionality—notably a “secret date” reminder, along with a second timezone, chronograph and low-battery indicator. Still light on the wrist, it weighs only 107 grams.

Casquette 2.0 by Chris Coe for COOL HUNTING

The Casquette 2.0 became available to purchase online this 22 February, and they quickly sold out. Starting 7 March 2022 the remaining watches will be available at select global Girard-Perregaux points of sale, for $4,700.

Hero image of the Casquette 2.0 by Chris Coe for COOL HUNTING