Sailing in luxury sports watch waters is a devilishly tricky, competitive manoeuvre. Every last detail of an aspiring candidate is invariably compared to the forefather(s) and accusing fingers decry any hint of resemblance or likeness. When Girard-Perregaux reintroduced its Laureato collection in 2016, many indignant reactions and copycat accusations arose. However, the irony is that the Laureato did not spring out of the blue and was originally released in 1975, three years after Audemars Piguet’s groundbreaking Royal Oak (1972) and a year before the Patek Philippe Nautilus (1976). Since its return as a fully-fledged collection in 2017, the fifth-generation Laureato has become the brand’s best-selling family and is available in different case sizes and materials. One of the latest additions to the Laureato family is this 42mm steel model with an on-trend green dial complementing the classic blue, silver and black time-and-date models. Costing about half the price of a Royal Oak Selfwinding, the Laureato is a solid luxury sports watch proposition and, more importantly, is readily available.
The 1970s are recalled as the decade of bell bottoms, disco fever, the Watergate scandal, anti-war protests, the oil crisis, détente, The Godfather, and in the niche world of watches, the birth of the luxury sports watch in the shape of the Royal Oak. When Girard-Perregaux released its luxury steel sports watch in 1975, it had a two-tone tonneau-shaped case with integrated bracelet and octagonal bezel, a Clous de Paris dial decoration, an ultra-thin quartz chronometer movement (calibre 705) and was named after the 1967 film The Graduate (Il Laureato). You have to remember that quartz was cutting-edge technology back then. Not only was Girard-Perregaux a pioneer in the development of quartz movements and set the standard frequency of 32,768Hz for quartz watches, but it had mastered the serial production of quartz movements by the 1970s.
Although the bezel of the Laureato was octagonal, like the Royal Oak, it couldn’t have been more different and looked more like an intertwining band of gold ribbons. Another differentiating factor that set the two watches miles apart was the fact that the Laureato was a two-toned watch with a steel case and gold trimmings and gold inserts on the bracelet, a trend that took off in the late 1970s.
Eventually transitioning from quartz to mechanical in 1995, the Laureato was taken off the shelves for a decade or so and rereleased in 2016 with a limited edition to celebrate the brand’s 225th anniversary (see below). From 2017, the Laureato graduated to offer a host of case materials, including a luxurious pink gold and onyx model, skeletonised iterations and straightforward time-and-date models all the way up to chronograph, perpetual calendar and tourbillon complications. Admittedly, the look of the fifth-generation Laureato is not a replica of the 1975 model but rather a reinterpretation.
The classic time-and-date Laureato in a 42mm steel case with a height of 10.68mm is revisited with an attractive green dial. It’s not the first green dial Laureato; we saw a darker green dial on the Aston Martin Edition last year. Like other stainless steel Laureatos, the architecture of the 100m water-resistant case is highlighted with a mix of satin-brushed and polished finishings. The tonneau-shaped case features a horizontal brushed surface with bevelled edges, which continues down the integrated bracelet with its brightly polished central links. The octagonal bezel, which sits on top of a polished circular plinth, reveals a circular brushed finish.
Differing only in dial colour from its siblings, the Clous de Paris or hobnail pattern on the dial is now a fresh green colour that changes according to the light. The black minute flange with white markings matches the black PVD-coated indices and the baton-style black hour and minute hands with white luminescent material. In contrast, the central sweep seconds hand is rhodium-plated. In low light conditions, the hands and 10 hour markers emit a white glow (the markers at noon and 3 o’clock are replaced with the brand’s initials and date window, respectively). Fortunately, the rectangular cutout at 3 o’clock for the date has a green background and white numerals.
A relatively uncluttered dial with excellent legibility, in my view, the GP initials at noon and perhaps the bridge logo (referring to its historic Bridges collection) are more than enough branding on the dial, but that is entirely subjective, and many will appreciate the brand name spelt out in full and the Laureato Automatic inscription at 6 o’clock. Looking at earlier editions of the Laureato 42mm with black or silver dials, for example, you will see that the year 1791 (the foundation of brand) is referenced under the brand name instead of the newer bridge logo on this model.
Inside the case of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm is the in-house, self-winding GP01800 movement (30mm x 3.97mm) with its rhodium-plated oscillating weight decorated with circular Côtes de Genève. Other refined finishings, which can be appreciated through the sapphire crystal caseback, include the perlage on the mainplate, snailing, bevelling and the Côtes de Genève on the bridges. Beating at 4Hz, the movement delivers a maximum power reserve of 54 hours.
The Laureato is a strong and valid candidate for those on the hunt for a luxury sports watch and ticks all the right boxes regarding the genre: dynamic integrated architecture, sporty robustness and plenty of style. If a blue or silver dial might seem too conventional, this attractive green dial is livelier and gives the watch extra wrist presence.
Availability & Price
The Laureato 42mm Green goes on sale in November 2022 and will be sold exclusively by Wempe for one month. From December 2022, the watch will be available at all authorised Girard-Perregaux dealers. The price is CHF 13,700 / EUR 14,400.
For more information, please visit girard-perregaux.com.