Girard-Perregaux is releases a new timepiece created exclusively for the Chinese market: the Laureato Absolute Infrared.
Press Release with commentary in italics.
It is clear that the watch world is highly dependent on the Chinese market. And have been for the last decade or so. Before the pandemic cut down travel to a bare minimum, Chinese buyers were consuming luxury watches not only within their vast country, but were also major customers in most markets around the world, notably in Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe and even in US. However, since COVID-19 hit, initially very hard on China, travel is severely restricted. China seemed to have emerged COVID free since late 2020, while the rest of the world continue to battle the pandemic. And with the depressed travel possibilities, renewed interest in domestic buying surged. Many brands are reporting record sales since November 2020 through to April 2021, and the momentum does not seem to slow down. Strong interest and buying activity continue to stimulate the domestic Chinese market, and have given cause to many maisons to re-focus on the market.
GP seems to be no different. They first introduced the Quasar Infrared earlier this year in time for Chinese New Year of the Ox. And with this new release continue with the infrared theme with the new Laureato Absolute Infrared. While the Quasar had round sapphire case, this latest novelty is in the Laureato case and carries the nomenclature Absolute, which in GP-speak means the use of exotic materials. See our hands-on reviews of the Absolute Rock and the Absolute Light for examples of their use of innovative new materials. In this case a titanium case with PVD treatment and a forged carbon dial. The infrared label signifies that it uses red accents. Red is perhaps the most popular colour in Chinese tradition. And the watch is limited to 88 pieces, another nod to the penchant for Chinese culture in attributing double eights to mean double prosperity. The number 8 sounds like the word for prosperity in Cantonese and close enough in Mandarin.
The high resolution photographs (resized for web as we show it here) shows a very handsome watch. The dark carbon and PVD titanium contrasting nicely with the brilliance of the red accents. The dial’s forged carbon patterns is unique to each piece adds to the personality of this watch.
The pricing below CHF 11k also means that GP sees this new watch as a commercial release, rather than a statement of capability. And widely in line with recent GP pricing targets.
New: Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Infrared
World Price: CHF 10,680 / RMB 79,330
2021 marks an interesting time for the Manufacture. Indeed, this year, coinciding with Girard-Perregaux’s 230-year anniversary, will see the opening of a new boutique in China, a first for the brand. Consistent with other Absolute models, the new Laureato Absolute Infrared features contemporary materials. In this instance, the 44mm case is formed of Grade 5 titanium dressed with a PVD treatment and paired with a distinctive forged carbon dial with prominent red accents. Lastly, despite its avant-garde appearance, the watch is fitted with a Manufacture movement, drawing on the brand’s vast watchmaking expertise.
Girard-Perregaux has a long history of supplying the Asian market, dating back over 160 years when Franiçois Perregaux, the brother-in-law of Constant Girard, one of the Maison’s founders, lived and worked within the region. China has always been a dynamic market and of huge significance to the Maison. A few months ago, the brand released the Quasar Infrared made exclusively for the Chinese market. Now, it returns with a new model, the Laureato Absolute Infrared, again produced exclusively for mainland China. Later this year, Girard-Perregaux will open a boutique in China, a first for the company and a further demonstration of its commitment to this important region.
The Laureato Absolute Infrared is housed in a 44mm, Grade 5 titanium case suffused with PVD. Titanium was selected for the case as it is lightweight, augmenting wearer comfort, while the PVD treatment endows the model with a sublime stealthy appearance. Despite its modernity, the case also showcases matchless traditional craftsmanship with polished and satin finishes skilfully applied throughout. The model has an octagonal bezel, a design feature first seen on the legendary Laureato of 1975 and a characteristic that continues to proffer much eye-appeal.
The dial of this latest creation is made from forged carbon, an ultra-modern material that is produced using a time-consuming process. Everything starts with carbon fibre thread, cut into lengths, precisely weighed and placed in a mould. Liquid resin is added to the strands of carbon fibre and thereafter subjected to heat and pressure. The resultant material is then milled to the desired shape and thickness to form a strong and light dial. Owing to the random alignment of the carbon fibre strands, each dial has its own unique appearance.
Baton-style hour and minutes hands, enlivened with red tips, collaborate with bold red indexes to enunciate the prevailing time. Unlike other Laureato Absolute models, the new Infrared version eschews a sandwich dial construction, presenting the technical forged carbon epidermis as a captivating canvas of randomly aligned patterns. The indexes are not affixed to the dial in a conventional way, but emanate from the flange, angled downwards towards the fulcrum of the dial. A lithe central sweep seconds hand glides over the minute track, presented on the flange, and the date is shown at 6 o’clock. Similar to a painting by an Old Master, the dial of the Laureato Absolute Infrared is endowed with becoming textures and depths.
At the heart of the Laureato Absolute Infrared is a Manufacture movement, the self-winding Calibre GP03300-1060. It is comprised of 218 components, all produced to Girard-Perregaux’s exacting standards.
The watch is presented on a black rubber strap which incorporates red stitching. The strap is integrated into the case delivering an impressive ergonomic relationship with the wearer’s wrist. A folding buckle with a micro adjustment system provides the owner with the means to fine tune the strap size, delivering the optimum fit. The buckle, like the case, is formed of titanium with PVD treatment, contributing to the model’s harmonious aesthetic.
The Laureato Absolute Infrared, limited to 88 pieces, is available in Girard-Perregaux official retailers across Greater China from June 2021.
GP Laureato Absolute Infrared Technical specifications
Limited edition of 88 pieces, not numbered
Material: Grade 5 titanium with PVD treatment Diameter: 44.00 mm
Height: 14.65 mm
Glass: Sapphire anti-reflective
Case-back: Secured by 6 screws, engraved Laureato Absolute logo
Dial: Forged carbon, applied ‘baton’ type indexes with PVD treatment and luminescent material, applied rhodium-plated GP logo
Hands: ‘Baton’ type with PVD treatment and luminescent material Water resistance: 300 metres (30 ATM)
Self-winding mechanical movement Diameter: 25.95 mm (11+'”)
Height: 3.36 mm
Frequency: 28,800 Vib/h – (4 Hz) Number of components: 218 Number of jewels: 27
Power reserve: min. 46 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, central second, date
Material: black rubber with a fabric effect, red stitching
Buckle: folding with micro-adjustment system, titanium with PVD treatment