In the United Kingdom, the summer months in journalism are often referred to as the ‘silly season’, a period generating very little newsworthy material, with journalists relying on more frivolous news stories to fill the pages. Well, 2021 seems to have reversed that trend. With the 2020 Olympics and a flurry of novelties from watchmakers who were not able to showcase their goods at the traditional venues (Watches & Wonders and the now-defunct Baselworld watch fair), not a day goes by without a new release. Just ahead of the only ‘live’ watch fair to be held this year (Geneva Watch Days from 30 August – 3 September), Girard-Perregaux has released a version of its popular Laureato Absolute in titanium. Apart from the handsome rendition of the Laureato Absolute in this distinctive lightweight metal, there’s a nice bit of synchronicity in this story. The latest Laureato Absolute models are made of Ti 230 (titanium) and come with either a gradient blue or grey dial.
The Laureato is the GP’s take on the luxury sports watch and made its first appearance in 1975, just three years after Audemars Piguet launched the groundbreaking Royal Oak. With its raised octagonal bezel, sleek lines, hobnail engraved dial and integrated bracelet, the only downside of the first Laureato was that it was powered by a slim, ultra-precise quartz movement. However, that was the trend in the mid-1970s, and after a period of hibernation, the Laureato was reanimated in 2016 in a 41mm diameter with an automatic movement and a year later appeared in a larger three-hand 42mm diameter model and a 45mm tourbillon.
The Laureato has expanded considerably since 2017 offering models ranging from skeletonised flying tourbillons to chronographs and world timers and from perpetual calendars to classic time & date models. The Laureato Absolute sub-line was released in 2019 and is a beefier, bolder and sportier iteration of the Laureato in a 44mm case with 300m water-resistance, which has been interpreted in a host of innovative materials, including carbon glass, titanium and PVD-coated titanium and sapphire.
Girard-Perregaux is one of the oldest watchmakers still in operation today with roots stretching back to 1791. It so happens that in 1791, a British clergyman and mineralogist, William Gregor, was out scouting for minerals in Cornwall and discovered what would eventually be known as titanium in the mineral menachanite. That same year, another German mineralogist, Martin Klaproth came across a similar metal and named it titanium after the Titans of Greek mythology. Gregor, who christened his metal maccanite in honour of his parish Manaccan, was credited with the discovery, although the metal retained the name titanium selected by Klaproth.
The other news at GP is that 2021 marks the 230th anniversary of the brand that celebrates its birthday by dressing up the Laureato Absolute in a Grade 5 titanium (Ti 230) case that combines strength with resistance to corrosion and an unbeatable lightweight sensation that is much appreciated in a watch measuring 44mm across with a height of 14.65mm.
One of the advantages of selecting Grade 5 titanium is that it can be polished. The commanding architecture of the 44m case, with its large case middle surmounted by the octagonal bezel, displays matte sandblasted surfaces with contrasting polished facets. Another novelty of the latest Laureato Absolute is the octagonal-shaped crown with a rubber ring matching the colour of the rubber strap, which is also new and made of a rubber alloy containing titanium.
The dial is made of different layers and features a pronounced sloping flange for the minutes track. Similar to a sandwich-type construction, there are apertures for the indices and date window cut out from the grey or gradient blue material used on the top layer of the dial. The cut out areas corresponding to the indices reveal the lower luminescent-treated layer adding depth to the dial. The hands match the style of the baton indices and are also treated with luminescent material.
GP’s reliable manufacture automatic movement beats at a frequency of 28,000vph/4Hz and has a power reserve of 46 hours. Measuring 25.95 x 3.36mm, the movement has 218 parts and displays refined finishings on the plate and bridges including bevelled edges, engraved inscriptions, perlage and classic Côtes de Genève stripes.
New Reinforced Rubber Strap
Like other Laureato luxury sports watch models since 1975, the strap is fully integrated. Marking a world first, the rubber straps used on these two Laureato Absolute models are, in fact, rubber alloys injected with titanium. To be precise, GP has selected FKM (fluorocarbon) rubber for the strap providing greater suppleness and resistance than conventional rubber. Matching the colour of the dial, the rubber straps display a fabric texture with grey stitching and are attached to the wrist with a titanium folding clasp with a micro-adjustment system for an optimal fit.
The Laureato Absolute Ti 230 is limited to 230 pieces in each colour. As mentioned, the blue dial Laureato Absolute will be sold exclusively by Wempe for one month in its ten boutiques across Germany and flagship stores in New York and London. Following this period, it will be available in all authorised GP retailers and on the brand’s e-commerce site. The grey model is available now at authorised GP retailers and online. Both models retail for EUR 9,400.
For more information, please consult Girard-Perregaux.