This beauty was a delight to review – which is often the case with high-end Swiss pieces from brands such as Girard-Perregaux. Called the “Shadow” this watch is a unique sports version of Girard-Perregaux’s iconic ww.tc watch collection. “ww.tc” stands for “world wide time control.” It should however be called “world wide time viewing,” but the Swiss are sort of control freaks. If they are able to come out with a watch that controls time, I will certainly be asking to review one.
For years I have looked at the ww.tc watches with respect. There have been a number of versions released coming with different dial styles, case materials, and functions. This model for example has a chronograph, but some others offer a more clean and simple dial with a less complicated movement. What puts all of these watches in the same family is the true world time function.
The 24 hour scale ring that goes around the dial moves like a GMT hand. It make a full revolution each 24 hours and is connected to the passing of the time. Think of it as a synchronized GMT hand. When you use it in combination with time zone reference city ring, you can know the time (based on the 24 time zone scale) all over the world. To set it properly you must first select the time zone you are currently in using the reference city indicator. This is done with the crown on the left side of the case that turns the city ring. Place your reference city at the top, and then you can use the 24 hour ring to know what the times are in the other zones, as well as whether they are in AM or PM time (which is shown by the light or dark color on the ring). Being able to know the time all over the world at a glance is useful and very convenient when presented like this. You can find complications such as this in other high-end watches combing from brands such as Patek Philippe and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The chronograph complication includes a flyback feature and the dial also has a date window. These functions are part of the in-house made Girard-Perregaux caliber GP03387 automatic movement with a power reserve of about 46 hours. You can view the movement through the case back. Finishing is good with a mixture of polishes, and operation of the movement as well as winding was smooth. GP makes movements for other brands as well, and as a whole their movements are regarded well by the watch community.
Everything about this watch feels very precise. This includes the fit and finish as well as the attention to detail in the design. The dial for instance is incredibly well printed with everything being proportional and in the right place. This is very important as the dial is busy, but must retain a high degree of legibility. The hands and hour markers are coated in luminant for darkness viewing. Compared to other ww.tc models the Shadow certainly has the sport style dial – which includes the design of the hands and hour markers. The black and white tones with a hint of red (and yellow) on the dial are conservative but not boring. Overall the dial is about functionality and quality.
The case of the ww.tc Shadow is 43mm wide in black ceramic. This is easily one of the best ceramic cases I have seen. Not only does it look beautiful with a slightly shiny brushed finish, but it is soft and very pleasant to the touch. It almost feels oiled – it is that smooth. The caseback and interior housing of the case is titanium, while the pushers and crowns are all coated in rubber. Over the dial is a really high-quality sapphire crystal that is AR coated. Domed, you do get light reflection, but otherwise it looks like you can touch the dial with your finger. Not all sapphire crystals are equal. The best quality ones are also the most clear, and have the least distortion.
Girard-Perregaux has a long history of sport pieces, especially with their Sea Hawk diving watch collection. So pieces like this ww.tc Shadow are not totally out of the ordinary for the typically conservative brand – though this is a very restrained and subtle sport watch. It feels mature and composed, but also very satisfying and capable. Attached to the watch is a rubber strap that must be cut to size. The titanium butterfly push-button clasp is nicely engineered. I like how the strap is curved to match the shape of the case but there is a little gap between the case and the strap. I think it would have looked just a bit more refined if the strap was totally flush with the case. My only other issue is that I would have liked for the watch to have at least 100 meters of water resistance (it has 50 meters). OK to get wet in the rain and wash your hands with it, but not too much else.
In all the Girard-Perregaux ww.tc Shadow is a wonderful watch with a great pedigree, fantastic movement, and useful complications. While there are other world-time style watches, I tend to like these the most. Plus, they look pretty cool as well. Price for the ww.tc Shadow is $23,850.