This year, the manufacture Girard-Perregaux, known for its impressive tourbillons (under three bridges or working on several axis), its minute repeaters but also for the iconic 1966 collection, is celebrating its 225th anniversary. As you might expect (this is the rule in the watchmaking industry), the brand will come with several special watches dedicated to its rich past. The first one we’re about to show you is rather surprising (and rather refreshing too) as it is not another 3 Gold Bridges watch but a throwback to the golden age of sports-watches, the 1970s. Here is the re-birth of the Girard Perregaux Laureato with the 2016 edition, ref. 81000.
The history of the Girard Perregaux Laureato
As you probably already spotted, the Girard Perregaux Laureato has this rather unique 1970s shape, a mix of octagonal and round for the bezel, an integrated bracelet and a rather slim profile. This description might sound familiar and refers to several watches: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, the Vacheron Constantin 222, the IWC Ingenieur SL Jumbo or the Rolex Oyster Quartz. However, before we hear you start screaming “copy” / “rip off” / “lack of inspiration” in seeing this new Girard Perregaux Laureato 2016, we have to give you some clues about the past of this watch, as the Laureato is far from being a new collection.
Of course, the pioneer watch, the one that launched the concept of luxury sports-watches was the 1972 Genta-designed Royal Oak, with its iconic octagonal bezel secured with 8 gold screws and a guilloché dial. After that, came in 1976 the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the IWC Ingenieur SL Jumbo, in 1977 the Vacheron Constatin 222 and the Rolex OysterQuartz 17000. However, keep in mind the Girard Perregaux Laureato. Yes, it looks close to the 5 others, yes it shares the same design codes BUT it was introduced in 1975, making it one of the first watches with this inspiration and thus, not a copy of the Nautilus or the OsyterQuartz. However, if AP, PP or VC opted for an ultra-thin mechanical movement, GP found another technical solution.
The first Girard Perregaux Laureato, as said, was launched in 1975. Its name, suggested by Girard-Perregaux’s Italian distributor, referred to Mike Nichols lm the Graduate (Il Laureato in Italian). However, this watch was not mechanical and GP decided to go for modernity and precision (at that time) with an in-house Quartz Chronometer movement – a solution also chosen by Rolex with the OysterQuartz. This Girard Perregaux Laureato followed the 1970s trend, with a tonneau-shaped case and an integrated bracelet – with a gold bezel mixing round and octagonal shapes and a steel bracelet with gold inserts.
The first upgrade came in 1984 with the arrival of movements with complications (equation of time and date for example). The bezel was still octagonal and the integrated bracelet enhanced with domed inter-links with a polished surface (that could be in gold for a two-tone look – very 1980s). In 1995, Girard Perregaux re-designed the Laureato, including their newly developed in-house Calibre 3100 – with the need of larger dimensions but a slimmer profile. The watch came for the first time with the H-shaped bracelet and even included several new complications, like a chronograph or a tourbillon. The watch was sportier, bigger and bolder.
Finally, in 2003, Girard Perregaux launched the Laureato EVO 3, a large sport-watch, with a 44mm case and integration of rubber in-between the case and the bezel (reminiscent of the ROO). It was also available with chronograph or the complicated edition of the GP 3300, with moon, small second, power reserve and large date. Finally, GP launched the Laureato tourbillon with three Bridges, with a transparent look due to the sapphire bridges. The collection stopped however, even if we can find some elements in the actual Hawk collection.
The Girard Perregaux Laureato 2016, ref. 81000
With the new collection, Girard Perregaux looks back at the past rather than creating an evolution of the previous EVO 3 models. The Girard Perregaux Laureato 2016 is a tribute to the early editions; a more luxurious and slim watch that clearly plays on the 1970s trend. The case, which of course is made of stainless steel, shows a typical tonneau shape with an integrated bracelet (the bracelet here starts far away with lugs directly integrated to the case) and the specific round bezel with 8 angles and a round glass – that clearly pays tribute to the earlier edition. The surfaces are treated as you might expect from such a watch: sporty satined finish on the case, polished angles and polished intermediate links on the bracelet, which show the typical H-links. A concession to modernity is the transparent caseback, which reveals the automatic movement.
Unlike the previous EVO 3 models, the new Girard Perregaux Laureato 2016 ref. 81000 keeps a reasonable and rather elegant size: 41mm for the diameter and only 10.10mm for the thickness. GP had the wish for a luxurious sports watch, not a rugged sports watch. This can also be found on the dial and on the display. The dial shows a “clou de Paris” pattern and is available in blue or silver. Furthermore, GP focuses on the essential (and we like this) with this watch: 3 hands and date. Not more. The batons hands and the applied indexes are polished and filled with luminous paint. The overall design is masculine, inspired and luxurious. Well done (and whatever people say, it has some credibility and it isn’t a copy of a RO or a Nautilus. It is a re-edition of a vintage watch).
To power this Girard Perregaux Laureato 2016 and to keep a slim profile, the manufacture opts here for the well-known calibre 3300, an in-house, automatic movement, decorated with circular Geneva stripes and polished bevelled angles. It ticks at 4Hz and boasts 46 hours of power reserve. The same movement, with a gold rotor, can be found here. However, like in the stainless steel 1966, the rotor is here rhodium-plated. This movement is thin at 3.20mm but rather small (25.60mm diameter). If this can be problematic in some of the dress watches of GP (with a date too close from the axis of the hands), considering the shape and size of the new Laureato, we can’t complain here.
The Girard Perregaux Laureato 2016, ref. 81000 is a commemorative piece for the 225th anniversary of the manufacture, available in blue or in silver. Unfortunately, it will remain a limited edition of twice 225 pieces. However, it is only one of the pieces that GP will introduce this year for their jubilee – and something tells me that it will be a great year for the brand. More on www.girard-perregaux.com.