In celebration of Girard-Perregaux’s 225th anniversary last year, the company reintroduced its Laureato watch. The last time the Laureato was updated was way back in 2003 with the sporty and aggressive Laureato Evo 3. Last year’s Laureato watch was a much more refined and elegant model that is based very closely on the original Laureato watch from 1975. Limited to 450 pieces in total (225 in blue and another 225 in white), the Laureato 2016 was apparently very well received, so much so that Girard-Perregaux decided to revamp the entire collection for 2017. The Laureato collection now consists of quartz and mechanical pieces for ladies and men, with sizes ranging from 34mm up to 45mm. The largest Laureato model also happens to be the flagship and it is the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon, which we will be taking a closer look at here.
All images by Ariel Adams
The Laureato Tourbillon comes in a 45mm large two-tone titanium case with either rose gold or white gold. Despite the sizable width, the watch itself is actually quite thin at just under 12mm thick. The design of the case is similar to the Laureato 2016 with a striking octagonal bezel and integrated lugs. Comparisons with Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak are unavoidable, but while the watch from Le Brassus is all sharp angles and clean lines, the Laureato from La Chaux-de-Fonds has a softer form. At this point, it is probably worth recapping the history of the Laureato.
The Girard Perregaux Laureato from 1975 – image source: timezone.com
The original Laureato came out in 1975, just three years after the Royal Oak, and during a time when watch buyers were warming up to the idea of a luxury watch in stainless steel. The Laureato was, therefore, Girard-Perregaux’s entry into the luxury stainless steel watch market. However, unlike the Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus that came out a year later, the first Laureato was quartz. And it wasn’t just any old quartz, it was a quartz movement of Girard-Perregaux’s own design. So while the Laureato does share some similar design elements, it stood out for its groundbreaking (at that time) movement.
The decision to go with a titanium case is a wise one as the watch feels quite light on the wrist. Gold is used for the bezel, crown, end-links, and for the hands and indices on the dial. Since titanium and white gold are quite similar in hue, the titanium and rose gold model that we handled is easily the most striking of the two. The case is exceptionally finished with beveled edges and clean lines. The bezel construction is particularly interesting as it begins as a polished circle at the base and then raises into an octagon with a satin finish. The signed crown is unprotected and easy to operate. Water resistance is just 30m.
The dial is perhaps the most attractive feature of the watch. It has a Clous de Paris hobnail pattern, a large logo of Girard Perregaux Fine Watches Since 1791 Replica at 12 o’clock, and rose gold appliques filled with luminescent material for the hour markers. The thick hour and minute hands are made of rose gold too and are also filled with luminescent material. At 6 o’clock, you have the star of the watch, a large aperture that reveals the tourbillon with a prominent bridge that has been executed in a similar style to Girard-Perregaux’s Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges. All components on the dial are expertly finished. The hands are almost knife sharp, and the large tourbillon bridge has a nice, even brushed finish with beveled edges. Legibility is certainly not an issue with the watch.
The movement is Girard-Perregaux’s in-house caliber GP09510. It is a self-winding movement with a micro-rotor and it is visible through the watch’s sapphire display caseback. Despite having a tourbillon, the caliber GP09510 measures just 6.05mm thick, which also explains why the Laureato Tourbillon is so svelte. As you would expect from the flagship of the Laureato collection, the movement is well finished with beveled edges and polished screws everywhere you look. Côtes de Genève and perlage dominate the bridges and mainplates. Power reserve is 49 hours and it beats at 3Hz.
It’s obvious to anyone that the finish, design, quality, and movement are top notch here but at a price just inches from $100,000, it’s normal to wonder just who the audience for this piece is. There are many iconic luxury sports watches out there and there are even more high-end tourbillon watches, so why select this one? Well, obviously a brand loyalist is the first type of buyer that comes to mind but it will be interesting to see how much of this niche market the Laureato Tourbillon will capture.
This timepiece uses a fresh case construction that combines the mainplate and situation so the audio wave can spread straight from the gong-ring through to the mainplate and then to the outside of this watch. This eliminates the need for a good relationship between the striking gong along with the exterior of the watch. The motion, Ref. GP09560-0001, steps in at 37.50 mm, and is visible through two box-type sapphire crystals which are presented on the front and back of the watch. It employs an original dial structure that enables the minute repeater mechanism to control the top half of this watch. The GP team divided the dial region into two parts using a very long bridge positioned in accord with the winding crown. That is reminiscent of the Girard-Perregaux “La Esmeralda” pocket opinion that won the Gold Medal in the 1889 Paris Universal Exhibition. Under the bridge, it is possible to locate the tourbillon. This is not any normal tourbillon, rather it’s based off a reinterpretation of the tourbillon patented by A.L. Breguet at 1801. What is special about this is that it features original multi-axis kinematics that are more suitable for a modern way of life. The 1.24-gram carriage is comprised of 140 parts and plays a first rotation in 2 minutes, another in one minute (the same as a conventional tourbillon carriage), and a third in 30 seconds. This protects the balance wheel from the forces of gravity by enabling the defects in balance to successively occupy all points on this sphere within a relatively brief period of time, in effect, canceling out each other.
Overall, I found the Laureato Tourbillon to be an attractive watch with lots of nice qualities. The dial is harmonious and attractive, and the overall level of craftsmanship is very high. Though it is a little large, its thinness means that it is easy and comfortable to wear. The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon in titanium and rose gold is priced at $93,700, while the titanium and white gold model is $98,400. girard-perregaux.com