|History of Girard-Perregaux
Founded: 1791 (origin), officially in 1856
Founding place: Geneva (origin), officially La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Founded by: Jean-François Bautte (origin), officially Constant Girard
Current headquarters: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Owned by: Kering Group
Official name: Girard-Perregaux
The history of Girard-Perregaux starts in the 18th century. In 1791, Jean-François Bautte (22 March 1772, Geneva – 30 November 1837, Geneva) establishes a manufacturing company in Geneva. Bautte was a watchmaker and goldsmith. He groups all the watch making facets of that time in one company.
That moment in 1791 is seen as the founding year of Girard-Perregaux. Although there was no one with the name Girard or Perregaux involved. In fact, the name of Bautte’s company is unknown to us. Only in 1852, the watchmaker Constant Girard founds the Girard & Cie Firm in La Chaux-de-Fonds. He marries Marie Perregaux and the Girard-Perregaux Manufacture was born in 1856.
In 1906, Constant Girard-Gallet, who took over control of the manufacture from his father, takes over the Bautte House. He merges it with the company Girard-Perregaux & Cie. You could say that Girard-Perregaux was founded in 1852 and by acquiring a company founded in 1791 they ‘borrowed’ their founding year. Although on the website of GP they say: “Haute Horlogerie Suisse depuis 1791”. So they don’t claim to be founded in 1791, but claim to make serious Swiss watches since 1791.
Constant Girard starts the first ever major commercial production of a wristwatch in 1880. In that year the German Kaiser Wilhelm I orders two thousand of these watches for his naval officers. This German order represents the first important commercialization of wristwatches.
The history of Girard-Perregaux:
1772 – Birth of Jean-François Bautte in Geneva
1791 – Jean-François Bautte starts a company in Geneva
1852 – Constant Girard founds Girard & Cie Firm in La Chaux-de-Fonds
? – Constant Girard marries Marie Perregaux
1856 – Founding of Girard-Perregaux Manufacture
1880 – Commercial production of the wristwatch starts
1906 – Constant Girard-Gallet (son of Constant Girard) buys the Bautte House
1906 – The Bautte House is merged with Girard-Perregaux & Cie
? – Girard-Perregaux possibly becomes the owner of Jeanrichard
? – Sowind Group buys Girard-Perregaux
2008 – Kering Group buys a 23% stake in Girard Perregaux
2011 – Kering Group becomes the owner by a 50.1% stake in Sowind Group
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