Girard-Perregaux graduates (again) with the new Laureato

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March 2016

Back in 1975 Girard-Perregaux introduced the Laureato, a timepiece that broke a lot of watchmaking conventions at the time. First was the name: the watch was christened by Girard-Perregaux’s Italian distributer, who was apparently a bit of cinephile; he took the name from the Italian title for the classic 1967 film The Graduate.

The Laureato represented a watershed moment for the watch industry; its polished octagonal bezel and integrated bracelet were pioneering at the time. And back when making a stainless steel watch was considered a bold move, the brand chose to use steel to make its high-end watch look sportier. But they still used gold throughout, which was unusual for watches of this type.

And as soon as the Laureato was introduced, it became the leader of an emerging trend for two-toned watches.

Girard-Perregaux graduates (again) with the new Laureato

Since then, the Laureato has received some facelifts along the way. In 1984, complications were added to the model that increased its appeal across different market segments.

A decade later, the watch took on more complications and larger proportions, in part to accommodate the slim, self-winding mechanical GP 3100 movement. By 1996, a chronograph version led to the creation of the Olimpico collection, and in 1998 the design was changed again in order to encase the famous Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges movement.

Girard-Perregaux graduates (again) with the new Laureato

But for the special 225th anniversary of Girard-Perregaux, the brand has returned to the original design premise of the watch - steel. Marking 40 years after the first steel Laureato was introduced, the brand has released a new, 225 piece limited edition model.

Once again we have the familiar bezel and the integrated flexible bracelet, which now features a new clasp. It is no more than 41 mm diameter, returning the watch to the reasonable sizes of it past. The baton-shaped hands also come from the original model, which have been embellished with a hint of luminescent material.

Girard-Perregaux graduates (again) with the new Laureato

The dial – which sometimes appears as gray and sometimes as navy blue, depending on the angle - is stamped with a Clou de Paris small checkerboard pattern, much like the models of the 1970s.

The new Laureato is powered by the GP03300-0030, an in-house movement which is now considered a must for any serious watch brand. Vibrating at a relatively high frequency (28,800 vibrations per hour), the 27 jewel movement boasts a 46-hour power reserve.

Girard-Perregaux graduates (again) with the new Laureato

Overall, then, the latest rendition of the Laureato can be summarized as “post-vintage”. While it draws on key elements from the first model, it certainly a good fit for 2016 wrists. But the Laureato line has always been a bit under-appreciated by watch lovers, which makes me wonder if this watch will be a future classic.

Although the Three Golden Bridges Tourbillon is the brand’s most recognizable model, it is really at the high end of the market. Rich in history and embodying quality throughout, the Laureato is definitely making a case to be the flagship model for the brand going forward.