The first chapter of the Girard-Perregaux Richeville line started in 1964. It had a very short life span, only a couple of years. One might say that it was like a dress rehearsal for the more famous Chronometer HF.
Girard-Perregaux released reference 8444 without date and 8445 with date, then the line vanished only to be resurrected again in 1993…
This report will be focusing on the 8444 and 8445.
The first one, the 8444 was produced in total 5600 pieces of which 500 in gold plated,100 in solid gold and the rest in stainless steel.
The base are same for both references – sunburst silver dial, hands and applied index matching the case material.
The case is 34.5 mm in diameter, 40.5 mm lug to lug and 18 mm between the lugs. The long lugs almost completes the C-shape that can be seen on the most famous Chronometer HF – the 7895 which was released only a couple of years after the 8444.
Even if its quite short lifespan, the movement inside the 8444 was changed – at first Girard-Perregaux used the automatic movement Calibre GP 31.09 based on the AS 1649, later changed to the Calibre GP 31.19 based on the AS 1737.
Except for the different case material already mentioned, there are T.W.O dial versions – one more traditional semi-flat and one pie-pan like this one below.
And just to make it even more complicated – both dial versions exists with Chronometer and without Chronometer certification, but no records of how many of each.
The only exterior difference that I have been able to find between the 8444 and the 8445 is the date window at three o’clock.
I don’t have any production numbers for the 8445 but guess they were similar to the 8444.
As for versions, same versions exists for both references –
Dial: semi-flat / pie-pan
Case: stainless steel / gold plated / solid gold
Movement: Chronometer / non-Chronometer
As you might have noticed, differing between the semi-flat and the pie-pan dial versions are not only the dial shape but the hands and index shapes as well.
What is consistent regardless of version for both references is the “Richeville” and the tower logo at six o’clock.
One of the reasons mentioned by the curator at Girard-Perregaux why the Richeville model didn’t stay in the catalogue very long was that the name had a negative tone on the American market – “coming from richville” was not used as a positive expression back in the 1960’s…
The first logo made for this new line even spelled “Richville” instead of “Richeville”:
Another interesting detail is that even if both the 8444 and the 8445 have Gyrotron movements inside, Girard-Perregaux chose to write “Automatic” on the dials instead of their classic “Gyromatic”.
Inside the 8445 is the automatic movement Calibre GP 32.19 which is based on the AS 1738.
As said – the Richeville is close related to the later reference 7895, Chronometer HF. Here seen side-by-side, on the later, the C-shaped case is completed and Girard-Perregaux is again using the “Gyromatic” instead of “Automatic”.
On the wrist both references are very comfortable and quite elegant – yet a bit sporty. A great mix for both office and leisure…
The reference 8444 and 8445 represent the first chapter of the Girard-Perregaux Richeville line:
Next chapter of the Richeville line didn’t appear in the Girard-Perregaux catalogue until 1993 – to read more about the return of the Richeville line, please visit the GP Chronicles!
Stay tuned for more!