The Laureato luxury sports watch was introduced by Girard-Perregaux in 1975 and tentatively revived in 2016 as a limited edition before becoming a full-fledged collection in 2017. Within the Laureato family is the burlier, sportier Laureato Absolute sub-collection, the brand’s playground for innovative materials and bolder 44mm cases. The two new models joining the Laureato Absolute line-up are housed in transparent metallised sapphire crystal cases to reveal their skeletonised in-house movements. One of the models is picked out in a red translucent case to mark the upcoming Chinese New Year (22 January 2023).
The Laureato is Girard-Perregaux’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.
Sapphire cases and skeletonised movements are not new to the Laureato family. We saw the GP Laureato Skeleton Earth to Sky in 2019 and a combination of a skeletonised movement and sapphire case in the Laureato Absolute Light model of 2020 and a model with blue accents for Bucherer in 2021.
Sapphire crystal cases are challenging creatures. To create the case for the Light & Shade model, a boule of sapphire crystal is formed using the ‘Kyropoulos growth method’. This technique involves different heating points to produce large, high-quality cylindrical crystals. In a process that can take eight weeks, the alumina powder is transformed into a solid block of sapphire crystal that is then cut into small discs, machined to form the bezel, case middle and caseback, and then thermally treated and polished. The subsequent metallisation treatment is applied to the surface and gives the sapphire its smoky appearance. According to the brand, creating the sapphire crystal case takes 170 hours.
The red glow of the Light & Fire case to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which also measures 44mm across with a height of 11.56mm, is made from a polycrystalline material known as YAG. Similar to sapphire crystal, the material is translucent, hard and scratch-resistant but can be produced in darker shades.
Like former editions of the Laureato Absolute Light, titanium is used for the lugs and crown, and the watch weighs just 85 grams. Treated with black PVD, the titanium lugs, which are also brushed and polished, blend in perfectly with the dark grey tones of the movement. The hallmark octagonal bezel of the Laureato is reworked in sapphire crystal with eight screws that traverse the case to secure the octagonal caseback.
In deference to the Laureato’s octagonal bezel, the mainplate of the automatic movement also has an octagonal shape. The inner flange features a scalloped 12-sided design and eleven polished triangles that double as hour markers complemented by the GP logo at noon hovering just above the exposed balance wheel.
The off-centred barrel and the gold rotor are openworked, revealing a network of elegant, curved bridges. The skeletonised central hour and minute hands and the smaller hand of the running seconds at 10 o’clock are treated with luminescent material. The finishings are meticulous, and the NAC-treated mainplate and bridges feature sandblasting, traits tirés, circular satin finishing and bevelling, with 55 hand-polished inner angles.
The reverse side is as well-executed as the dial revealing its openworked gold rotor and high-grade finishings. The skeletonised GP01800-1143 calibre, a 30mm automatic movement beating at 28,800vph with a decent 54h power reserve, is an openworked version of GP’s 1800 automatic calibre with hours, minutes and seconds.
Continuing the flowing, modular aspect of this watch, the black rubber FKM strap with a fabric effect is seamlessly integrated under the titanium lugs. It comes with a black PVD titanium folding buckle with a micro-adjustment system.
Availability & Price
The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light & Shade is not a limited edition and retails for CHF 95,000. The red-toned Laureato Absolute Light & Fire for the Chinese New Year is limited to 18 pieces and retails for CHF 95,000. Both models will be available worldwide in all Girard-Perregaux retailers from April 2023.
For more information, please visit girard-perregaux.com.