Unfortunately, Jean-Francois Bautte did not have a successor or heir to take over his company when he retired. The problem of what to do with the company was quickly solved when a merger was arranged with another watch manufacturer. In 1854, Constantin Girard married Marie Perregaux. As both came from watchmaking backgrounds, it seemed perfectly natural to use both names when they formed their own company. So it was that the Girard-Perregaux brand was born, in 1856.
More than just a famous watchmaker, Constantin Girard was also a patriot committed to the republican cause and always ready to devote time and energy to his beloved town of La Chaux-de-Fonds. Only a few years were needed to establish a reputation that spread as far as the New World. His technical and aesthetic masterpiece, the "Tourbillon Sous Trois Points d'Or" (translation: Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges), was unquestionably the greatest achievement of a life largely devoted to the research and development of the art of watchmaking. This amazing pocket watch won Girard-Perregaux two gold medals at the Paris Universal Exhibitions in 1867 and 1889, and is considered one of the most desirable mechanical watches ever made.
The tradition of innovation initiated by Jean Francois Bautte has been perpetuated to the present day by Girard-Perregaux. Throughout its long history, the Manufactory has made a number of exciting and innovative contributions to the world of watchmaking. Foremost among these is the concept of the wristwatch. Although a few pocket watches had already been modified to be worn on the wrist, Girard-Perregaux was the first watchmaker to produce this kind of timepiece in a series, around 1880.
In addition, Girard-Perregaux has developed several revolutionary movements, the most notable of which have been the Gyromatic, the high-frequency mechanical movement that has become collectible in their own right, as well as the quartz movement, whose frequency of 32,768 Hertz has become the universally accepted standard. In fact, it was Girard-Perregaux's innovations in the realm of quartz timekeeping that allowed it to survive the Swiss watch industry's economic crisis during the 1970's and 1980's.