girard perregaux laureato 48

Girard-Perregaux Laureato: Back to the Future

We just couldn't pass up on the opportunity to give a hands-on review of the new Laureato, the historical watch created by Girard-Perregaux in 1975. But how do watch enthusiasts perceive the powerful lines and design of such a piece? Here is what we found out.

By Vincent Daveau

Translated from the original French text

Discussing the balanced lines of watches often results in “arguments“between watch enthusiasts due to their diverse tastes. It is hence unusual for them to unanimously agree about any piece in particular. However, sometimes they do reach a consensus about the potential of certain watches that succeed to embody the values and dreams of an entire generation. And that is unquestionably the case of Girard-Perregaux ‘s Laureato.

At the inception of an icon

Some models mark time-related milestones in a given space-time continuum and become references of specific periods. And so, in the 1970s, the watchmaking industry went through significant changes, with some pieces illustrating these changes perfectly in their design.

Due to this, they gained value in the eyes of aficionados looking for pieces that could be recognized as "game changers"; that is, elements of a changing world. Girard-Perregaux's Laureato is, obviously, one of these unmissable references. At the time it was introduced in 1975, baby boomers were rapidly rising to senior positions. As such, this futuristic watch perfectly matched their aspirations and the urban vision they had of the future.

Visionary and timeless design

Designed to be visually different to what was known until then, yet at the same time harmoniously balanced to the eye, the Laureato designers worked on their creation in the same way builders of the past used to. That is, by following the rules o fthe golden ratio aka divine proportion. In so doing, they came up with  a design that is still today regarded as contemporary as it reflects traditional models. And so, it is not surprising to find that the piece's perfect lines have been inspired by architecture seen in buildings with connections to the divine order. In this case, the design of the Laureato's octagonal bezel could well have been inspired by the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence.

Playing on the persistence of vision

The bottom line is, when a 42-mm Laureato version was unveiled as part of a collection that will forever remain in Girard-Perregaux's catalogue, we not only tested it to give our own assessment, but more so to collect the thoughts of an expert public. Before we even strapped the watch on, we had already noticed that its no-nonsense design exudes strength. Clearly, its powerful charisma does not go unnoticed. And though at first its robust look may make it appear to be a sports watch, the Laureato is more of an urban watch destined to accompany executives seeking to live their lives to the fullest.

With its powerful design, it still features the famous octagonal-shaped bezel. We therefore wondered whether it would make more of a visual impact with the alligator strap or with the famous steel bracelet with alternating polished and satiny links. In all honesty, it was difficult to decide. However, the version with an alligator strap is probably the more ‘European’ of the two, as leather is generally more sensitive to wet, subtropical or monsoon-struck climates. But since the watch is ratherlight when used with this strap, its presence is almost forgotten on the wrist. It is undoubtedly the reference that executives in large metropolitan cities will choose to wear to work.

In line with the principle of evolution

Nonetheless, the steel strap has also got its devotees and we must admit that its design enhances the watch’s head. Since it is very flexible, it settles on the wrist without any difficulties and immediately morphs into a time-telling piece of jewelry.

Robust yet chic thanks to its alternating polished and satiny links, the steel strap requires no maintenance at all and will not be affected by high levels of humidity. Needless to say, the perfect solution would be forthe new 42-mm version to come witha simple and efficient system that enabled the links to be interchanged.

While both versions have their respective qualities, the steel one will undoubtedly be more appealing to watch enthusiasts, as the unique look of the strap makes the watch that little bit more irresistible. However, the success of a creation mostly depends on the little details that will make its owners stand out. The key element of the 3-atm water-resistant watch is the deep blue dial which is adorned with the historical and traditional "clou de Paris" guilloché.

A reference heart -an in-house caliber

But what would a prestigious piece be without a unique caliber? Quite nothing, it would seem. This is why the manufacture has equipped the powerful piece with its in-house self-winding GP03300-0030 caliber. With its 11½-line diameter, 27 rubies and a 46-hour power reserve, the watch oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour to provide an accuracy which, after testing, turns out to be close to that of chronometers. Efficient and contemporary, the reference movement was produced, assembled and set at the workshops of the manufacture based in la Chaux-de-Fonds. Furthermore, the movement can be seen through the transparent back and is a more-than-adequate replacement for the quartz movement of the 1975 version.

Nevertheless, the change of calibers is not significant per se since the watch needs to embody a certain feeling. Today, people want accurate and hand-crafted timepieces; that is, those designed to last for years without becoming obsolete. By equipping the Laureato with an in-house automatic mechanical caliber, Girard-Perregaux has met all the requirements of today's consumers, and with a design inspired by the past though looking to the future, it makes the watch a traditional horological piece designed to with stand the passing of time.

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