Girard-Perregaux collection found: the official press release

Ritrovamento collezione Girard-Perregaux: il comunicato ufficiale

All the watches stolen on 5 July from the Girard-Perregaux Museum in La Chaux- de- Fonds were found by the police on 7 July. This exceptional collection, testimony to the heritage of Swiss Haute Horlogerie, will soon be returned to the Villa Margherita.

Following a thorough search, the watches were found on Saturday, 7 July. The loot was found under a tree, south of Valdahon, in neighbouring France, hidden under branches.

On Thursday, 5 July, the French gendarmerie had stopped two suspects who had broken through the checkpoint near Valdahon. That same morning, the thieves had broken into the Girard-Perregaux Museum, kidnapping the employee present and stealing around 100 watches. Immediately after the theft was reported, an international warrant was issued. The close cooperation between the Neuchatel and French police was the key to the success of this operation.

The news was greeted with emotion and relief by Girard-Perregaux. President Luigi Macaluso (pictured) said: "On behalf of the whole of Girard-Perregaux, I would like to thank the Swiss and French police from the bottom of my heart. In recovering these prestigious watches, they have returned a unique and priceless heritage to Swiss Haute Horlogerie. These antique and contemporary watches bear witness to more than two centuries of watchmaking art. We are extremely pleased that the Girard-Perregaux Museum has been able to recover them so that it can continue its mission of promoting watchmaking culture.

These timepieces are the fruit of the work of generations of craftsmen who have contributed to the development of Girard-Perregaux from its origins in the 18th century to its most recent innovations. This authentic Manufacture develops and manufactures watches in their entirety, from the mechanical movement to the external components. The collection famously includes marvellous pocket watches made by Jean Francois Bautte who, at the end of the 13th century, created extra-flat movements housed in refined guillochés cases sumptuously decorated with enamels and gold.

The thieves also stole different versions of Girard-Perregaux's most famous watch: the Tourbillon sous trois Ponts d'or, an extraordinary combination of design, aesthetics and the most sophisticated mechanics, first produced in the 19th century and still in production in the brand's Haute Horlogerie department. The bag found in the forest contained the entire heritage of horological savoir-faire: timepieces with great complications, historical pieces (such as a model dating back to 1820 with Arabic numerals or another decorated with turquoise stones and pearls), watches with great innovative value (such as the first watch with a digital time display dating back to the early 19th century and the first wristwatch ever mass-produced dating back to 1880).

After a careful and precise revision, the watches will return to complete the collection of the Girard-Perregaux Museum. They will once again arouse the emotions of collectors and visitors alike and will once again inspire Girard-Perregaux in its contemporary creations.