Times change ... and the same goes for timepieces. At one time, making a precision wristwatch and tucking the works into an elegant case was enough. But in the 21st century, a mechanical watch has to show off the gubbins inside to get any cred, so Girard-Perregaux is updating its Vintage 1945 model by adding a transparent sapphire dial to reveal the secrets behind the 69-year old classic.

The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 is one of those classic watches that most people recognize even if they don't know the name. First released in 1945, its simple art-deco style and lozenge shape hit the sweet spot between practicality and elegance that marks the classic if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it ideal of industrial design. However, the Swiss haute horlogerie company has decided that, with the 2014 Vintage 1945 Large Date and Moon-Phases watch, it was time to raise the curtain on the workings of the timepiece.

The most obvious difference in the new Vintage 1945 is that the previously opaque dial has been replaced by a transparent one made of sapphire that's been treated with a surface metallization process to give it a smoky appearance. The whole thing is designed to not just reveal the works, but also to provide a sense of depth by means of multiple contrasts along with the embossed and polished Dauphine-style hands, In addition, there's a jumping date display that operates in 5 milliseconds, a moon-phase dial at 6 o'clock, and the 32-jewel movement is designed to exactly fit the case. On the reverse is a window to show the rotor for the automatic winding mechanism.

The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Large Date and Moon-Phases is available in either stainless steel of pink gold with a black alligator strap. Both are water resistant to 30 m (65 ft, 3 ATM), and have a 46-hour power reserve. The stainless steel version costs US$16,000 and the pink gold goes for US$33,800.

View gallery - 10 images