We all know that watches and cars go hand in hand and that sealing a deal with a prestigious car manufacturer can heighten the appeal of a watch brand. Girard-Perregaux, probably not the first name that pops up when you think about cars and watches, was a precursor of the trend and manufactured pocket watches for Shell in the 1930s. Last year, GP joined forces with the reputed British performance car manufacturer Aston Martin, forging a two-pronged alliance that covers Formula 1 (AM Aramco Cognizant F1 Team) and road cars. Its first watch to mark this partnership was the openworked Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges, a nod to Aston Martin’s iconic DB cars of the 1950s and 60, followed by the sportier Laureato Chronograph with a classic Aston Martin green dial. The third watch to leave the pit box is the Laureato Absolute Chronograph AM F1 Edition with an exceptionally lightweight case forged from titanium powder and carbon elements taken from two F1 race cars used during the 2021 season.
F1 cars are a delicate balance between aerodynamics, engine power and weight. Research into innovative materials that can reduce weight to shave off seconds is part of the extensive R&D behind every F1 car. Carbon fibre is the most prevalent material thanks to its combination of lightness and strength. For its latest collaboration watch, GP has sourced carbon elements from two F1 race cars used during the 2021 season and mixed them with titanium powder to create the lightweight yet resilient 44mm case of the Laureato Absolute Chronograph. Using a high-tech manufacturing process, the components are mixed with a tinted resin producing a unique mottled effect with green flecks that differ from watch to watch. According to the brand, this titanium and carbon case is an industry first.
The bold angular architecture of the 44mm Laureato Absolute Chronograph case, with its octagonal bezel, contributes to the 15.15mm height of the watch. The two rectangular pushers are curved to match the contours of the case, and the slight indentation in the middle features a strip of yellow (top pusher) and lime green (lower pusher) to distinguish their functions. The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating; the sapphire crystal on the caseback has a white Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team decal. Water-resistance is 100m.
Aston Martin’s signature Racing Green colour appears on the dial with its crosshatch motif that dates back to the Aston Marting AM badge of 1921. The openworked hands are another nod to Aston Martin’s openings on cars to facilitate cooling, and the chronograph hands are picked out in lime like the speed lines on the AMF1. The counterweight on the central chronograph hand imitates the side strakes used on several Aston Martin road cars.
The sloping flange hosts thick markers treated with luminescent material that glows green in the dark, like the hour and minute hands. A 30-min counter at 9, running seconds at 4 and a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock make up the tricompax display and are framed with a black ring with white markings and snailed interiors. The angled date window between 4 and 5 o’clock has a black background and white numerals.
The GP Rubber Alloy used to create the strap is a mixture of carbon elements taken from the F1 cars and FKM rubber, aka fluorocarbon rubber. More expensive than neoprene and rubber elastomers, FKM rubber is more resilient to heat and chemicals. Marking a first in the watch industry, the high-tech composition of the strap offers increased suppleness and resistance compared to conventional rubber straps. An interior strip of Aston Martin Racing Green – that looks like fabric – is flanked on either side by the FKM and carbon rubber composite with green stitching. The folding clasp, made of titanium with a black PVD treatment, has a micro-adjustment system to extend or contract the length of the strap.
Powered by GP’s in-house automatic chronograph calibre GP03300-1058, the movement is based on the brand’s three-hand self-winding calibre 3300 with a chronograph module on top. Operating at 4Hz/28,800vph, this manufacture movement will keep the time, date, small seconds and chronograph functions ticking for 46 hours. Beneath the Aston Martin decal, the movement is decorated with Côtes de Genève on the steel rotor and bridges and circular graining on the plate.
Availability and Price
The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph Aston Martin F1 Edition is a limited edition of 306 pieces (not numbered) and retails for CHF 26,500. The limitation is a reference to the 306 kilometres of the upcoming Silverstone Grand Prix, a final nod to the Formula 1 inspiration. For more information, please visit Girard-Perregaux.com.