I’m excited to introduce the newest member to the fold: a Girard Perregaux “Casquette” LED watch. For a brief time in watchmaking history the light emitting diode (LED) display watch was in vogue. In 1972, the Hamilton Pulsar was the first to come out with such technology and, although expensive, caught on big time, with Hamilton selling 10 000 watches/month at its peak. A year later Seiko came out with the first watch with a liquid crystal display (LCD). The two technologies battled for market share during the 1970’s. Alas, LCD consumed much less power than LED technology and proved to be more convenient. The LED watch consumes several tens of milliamperes of current when displaying, a thousand times that of the LCD, so to save battery power it could only be displayed for a few seconds after pressing a pusher. By the end of the 1970’s the LED watch had pretty much disappeared from the market. The Girard-Perregaux (Ref. 9931) LED watch (a.k.a. Casquette) is arguably the most attractive of the LED watches. Produced only for less than three years, it was quite innovative: custom integrated circuit, flexible circuit board, aged quartz crystal, etc. The design of the case oozes geeky 1970’s space theme, which would fit perfectly on the set of the TV show Space 1999. The substantial stainless steel case has three finishes: polished bezel and pushers, brushed sides and matted area surrounding the synthetic sapphire window. The stainless steel bracelet is brushed, heavily tapered and has scalloped links. GP also produced the watch in a gold capped version and a cool looking polymer material called Makrolon. Despite the heavy investment done by GP, only a few thousand were produced during 1974-1976. I had to do some work on mine because of issues in the battery compartment and the watch was generally dirty. It now looks terrific and works as new! A few references on the GP Casquette can be found here, here and here.