If you want a digital watch that doesn’t look like a miniature smartphone on your wrist, there aren’t a lot of stylish options. One alternative to Timex and Casio’s offerings is from Girard-Perregaux, which is resurrecting a classic digital design from the ‘70s in which displaying the time almost seems like an afterthought.
The first true digital watch to use an electronic display and a quartz crystal to keep accurate time was the Hamilton Pulsar P2 2900 LED released in 1972. It helped kick off a new era of timepieces that was not unlike the pre-iPhone smartphone days when companies experimented with unique designs in an attempt to find something consumers would wholeheartedly embrace. Back in 2020, Hamilton released an updated version of the Pulsar P2 2900 LED with an updated LCD-OLED hybrid display that recreated the appearance of the original’s now antiquated display. Continuing with that trend, Girard-Perregaux is doing the same with another ‘70s-era digital wearable.
The Hamilton Pulsar P2 2900 LED looked more or less like a traditional watch with the moving hands replaced by a digital screen. Girard-Perregaux took advantage of the unique watchmaking opportunities that electronic innovations offered at the time and in 1976 created the Casquette with the time displayed on the bottom edge of the watch’s main body.
Girard-Perregaux is re-releasing the Casquette 44 years later as the Casquette 2.0, and while it features more modern electronics inside, it still sports a charmingly retro lo-fi LED display with glowing red digits. As with the original, pressing one of the buttons on the Casquette 2.0 displays the time for a couple of seconds, which the company claims will provide around two years of battery life with average daily use. But the new version doesn’t just tell the time and date anymore. The Casquette 2.0 adds the ability to keep track of the time in a second time zone, a chronograph, and a peculiar “secret date” function that automatically displays a specific date once a day for 20 seconds at a specified time to remind you of a special anniversary.
The Casquette 2.0 also features a scratch-resistant case and bracelet made of ceramics that’s paired with grade 5 titanium used for the buttons, case back, and the Girard-Perregaux logo on top. The original Casquette was limited to an 8,200-piece run over the two years it was produced, but the new 2.0 version is being limited to just 820, with a price tag of $US4,700 ($6,525). Expensive, yes, but believe it or not, the new edition is already sold out online.
Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.