Laureato by Girard-Perregaux returned to the market in 2016, and this year at SIHH, the brand presented the Laureato Chronograph in 38 and 42 mm sizes, with a range of dial colours and strap or bracelet options: steel or pink gold, three dial colours, silver, black and dark blue. It is slim at 11.9 mm for the 42 mm version and 10.9 mm for the 38 mm version. With 100 metres water resistance for the versions in steel, this is very much a sports watch and so in addition to the competition from the Audemars Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus, it is fighting for space in this rapidly-growing sector, watches for everyday use that are robust enough for use in outdoor sporty situations. The Girard-Perregaux Laureato has an edge price-wise – cheaper than the Royal Oak and the Nautilus. Below, the 42 mm version.
Compact beauty in the 38 mm size
It’s a question of choice and personal preference, but personally I love the 38mm version (shown in the photo below). I would go for the version in gold with blue alligator strap. I like the compact feel of the dial, the way that the date window is neatly tucked in between the two hour markers, the balance of the subdials – it makes me feel that the watch was born like that, and that the 42 mm version, although equally beautiful and with a bit more space on the dial, is like a derivative, with the same movement. Like a younger, bigger brother.
Origin of the Laureato design
Which leads on to another thought. Who is the father of these two brothers? Gullible soul that I am, I was fascinated about the story told by Girard-Perregaux, about a Milanese architect who designed the Laureato but whose identity has been lost in the mists of time. As Italian is my second language, I started searching online for this elusive architect and his studio, but with no success. At a certain stage I began to wonder about the story, and I thought, OK 40 years is a long time, but to lose all trace of records, all the drawings and documents, it seems absolutely unlikely… so I guess what really happened is that Gérald Genta designed the Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet, and the people at Girard-Perregaux, their own design office, simply took inspiration from that watch for their new Laureato. I don’t think that there’s any big deal about that, but evidently at Girard-Perregaux they thought it necessary to invent a sort of paternity for their octagonal design.
A comparison with the Royal Oak
Whatever, there are now a lot of similarities between the Laureato and the Royal Oak chronograph. Apart from the octagonal bezel, the pushers and crown also share the same octagonal geometrical inspiration, and the dial texture is also similar. I like the simplicity of the dial and its uncluttered feel, with just the brand name, no “Automatic”, and just a very small Swiss made at 6 o’clock that doesn’t disturb the seconds scale. Personally I don’t like diagonally-positioned date windows at 4.30, but that’s just my thing, and I like the fact that the background for the date is the same colour as the dial.
In addition to the crocodile strap and the steel bracelet, there is also a rubber strap option. The latter is soft and comfortable, and it is provided together with every watch with alligator leather strap. The bracelet features polished and satin surfaces, and a soft and supple feel, enhancing comfort. Girard-Perregaux have also opted for a solid caseback. This is quite an unusual move but it is in line with the sports vocation of the Laureato Chronograph. The movement is perfectly finished with Côtes de Genève, chamfering and straight graining, within the Girard-Perregaux factory.
The movement is the automatic GP03300-0134/0136/0137, running at 28,800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hertz, with a power reserve of 46 hours. For the moment I don’t have any information about the movement, whether it has a horizontal or vertical clutch.
Prices and references
There are a lot of references, but the price structure is straightforward. The steel version with leather strap (which includes the complimentary rubber strap) costs €13,200 in the 38 mm size, and €13,900 in the 42 mm size. The steel version with steel bracelet costs €14.200 in the 38 mm size, and €14,900 in the 42 mm size. The pink gold version is available only with leather strap, and it costs €29,300 in the 38 mm size, and €33,500 in the 42 mm size. It’s without doubt a luxury sports watch. Further information from the Girard-Perregaux website.