He created his first watches in 1791 and, since his talents as a craftsman were matched by a sound commercial instinct, he soon developed his own manufacturing company, bringing together under a single roof all the watchmaking trades of the time. Here he organized the production of timepieces, jewels, animated dolls, music-boxes and other objets de vertu.

The second legendary figure in the history of Girard-Perregaux was a native of the Swiss locality of la Chaux-de-Fonds. Born in 1825 in this small city in the Neuchâtel Mountains, Constant Girard founded the firm of Girard & Compagnie in 1852. Two years later, he married Marie Perregaux (1831-1912), who came from a well-established family of merchant watchmakers in the neighboring city of Le Locle. The Manufacture Girard-Perregaux was created from the combination of their two last names, in 1856, in la Chaux-de-Fonds.