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Review: Girard-Perregaux Laureato

Once the best solution to a crisis, can it have the same success as before?
by Dan-Andrei Kluska on August 25, 2017
Positives

• Beautiful and classic design from the 70s’
• Inhouse calibre
• Lovely dial
• Variety of choices inside collection

Negatives

• Price could be considered high

On their 225th anniversary in 2016, Girard-Perregaux brought back one of their iconic pieces – the Laureato. A 225 pieces limited edition piece, the Laureato was continued this year with not one, but four different sizes: a 34mm quartz version, a classic size of 38mm and a modern 42mm, both with automatic movement.  The fourth version, in 45mm, is the GP Laureato Tourbillon which we reviewed after this year’s SIHH. Today we take a closer look at the Girard-Perregaux Laureato in 42mm steel.

Review: Girard-Perregaux Laureato

The Laureato was born in the thick of the full quartz crisis of the Swiss industry. It was a time when many brands struggled to find not the key to success, but the key to survival. Girard-Perregaux turned to an Italian architect, to design a new piece. He used this opportunity to reveal part of the beautiful Italian design. The inspiration came from a Florence cathedral, the Santa Maria del Fiore. This was built adopting an octagonal structure as support for the circular dome. This construction idea was used in the watch as an octagonal bezel “nested” inside of the round shape. The design was taken to the next level by the harmonious integration of the bracelet in the case, creating one complete, iconic and elegant piece. Interestingly, the case was not the only new development in this watch. The new quartz movement, back then just a few years old novelty in Switzerland, was redesigned to a compact, thinner version. 40 years later, Girard-Perregaux turned again to Italy, this time to Gino’s son, Stefano Macaluso to design the new Laureato Collection.

What we didn’t mention is how the watch got its name. At the time, the movie “The Graduate” enjoyed great success. Launched in 1967, the movie starred Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross and Dustin Hofmann and it was wildly popular in Italy. Due to the Italian origin of the design, and love for that cult film, the watch was named Laureato, after the Italian translation of the movie title – Il Laureato.

We review today Girard-Perregaux Laureato Ref. 81010-11-431-BB6A in steel with a black leather alligator strap.

The case, dial and hands

The look of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato follows closely along the lines of the original piece but is reinterpreted with a modern flavour. The 70’s were a time when many iconic watches were born, the GP Laureato being one of them. The new Laureato is a nice combination of sportiness with a classic and elegant design. As was intended from the beginning, the Laureato manages to fulfil the requirements of an allrounder watch.

 

Girard-Perregaux Laureato

The Laureato’s case is a good example of a harmonious combination of different types of finishes.

 

The 42mm steel case is a real eye catcher, and its strong character is highlighted by well-finished details. Most of the surfaces are very finely brushed horizontally, while the case edge is delicately finished with a subtly chamfered polish. This brings two positive aspects: the case is not sharp-edged and there is a nice contrast and optical enhancement of the entire case. It might be said that this small detail places better the watch in the surrounding space.

With the bezel, there is another story. The finishes’ contrast between polished and brushed areas is spectacular and defines the watch. The bezel is the main point of attention when beholding the watch. At the base, the bezel is round and polished. From the bezel’s cylinder, an octagonal shape is cut. The soft, curved edges are polished. There is nothing sharp, nothing incompletely finished. On the top, the face of the octagonal shape is circularly brushed with fine granulation. Seen from above, the watch has a warm pleasant combination of circular brush, polished surface and horizontal brush. What a delightful contrast of finishes! We appreciate just how much attention to detail Girard-Perregaux have shown in the finishing of the Laureato.

 

Girard-Perregaux Laureato

The crown’s side of the case has the same visual impact as the front of the watch. The attention to details in designing and executing this watch justifies the price

 

The crown is another aspect where GP lavishes its expertise and experience in watchmaking. The shape is excellently designed for grip and features an octagonal cut, the same as the bezel. The crown is decorated with the GP logo embossed on a polished background, offering the same great playful contrast as the watch’s face.

The case back offers a great view to the in-house movement. The six-screw mounted steel case-back displays the name of the brand, reference number and the 100m water resistance. The water resistance strengthens the all-rounder character of the watch.

 

Girard-Perregaux Laureato

The patterned dial offers a great view in any light condition. The text on the dial, however, are a little excessive for our taste

 

The blue dial is a marvel. The “Clou de Paris” pattern fits excellently the 70s’ inspiration. This pattern has the ability to play with the light. Depending on the light source’s angle and viewer’s angle, the dial tends to lighten or darken the blue shade in a charming game of shades and shadows. The dial’s face is “interrupted” by the Girard-Perregaux name and founding year under 12 o’clock and watch name “Laureato” and “Automatic” above 6 o’clock. This writer feels that the latter two elements as unnecessary. An iconic piece like this does not need extra reminders to broadcast its heritage, and only serves to detract from the beautiful dial.

The applied “GP” placed traditionally at 12 o’clock makes a good impression. The dial is further adorned with applied baton indexes. These arrowhead-shaped indexes are filled with Super LumiNova. We have noticed a trend of baton indexes filled with lume from other brands, though the need for lume is questionable on the GP Laureato, but it does look nice and offers great low light visibility. The baton hour markers marry the well-polished baton steel hands well, as the hands are also Super LumiNova filled. Together with the hour indexes, forms a harmonious appearance.

The date window is discretely executed at 3 o’clock on the Laureato. The date wheel, thankfully, has the dial’s colour scheme of white on blue. We feel that this is one of the better date windows on the market as it blends well into the base colour of the dial thanks to its coloured background, rather than stick out like a sore thumb as some do.

 

Girard-Perregaux Laureato

The classic lines empowered by an excellent execution, makes from GP Laureato not only a great companion but also a spectacular one.

 

The movement: Calibre GP01800-0013

Girard-Perregaux Laureato uses the in-house calibre GP01800-0013. The movement is based on the Calibre 1800, the workhorse movement used in several GP watches with appropriate modifications. For instance, the GP01800-0006 is the calibre used in the Laureato Skeleton and comes with small seconds, rather than central seconds, as our reviewed piece. The 30mm movement fits well in a 42mm case. A smaller calibre simply would not look at home in the modern sized case.

 

Girard-Perregaux Laureato

GP Laureato GP01800-0013 is visible through the sapphire back crystal. The view reveals excellent finishes of the in-house movement (please note that the crystal is covered with a transparent sticky label)

 

On the technical front, the GP01800 is a modern 4Hz movement with an admirable power reserve of 54 hours.

The movement is nicely decorated with perlage (circular graining), Côtes de Genève (Geneva waves), and bevelling (chamfering). The movement is entirely made and finished in-house. From designing to producing and adjusting, everything is done on site at the Girard-Perregaux manufacture. There are small details that make this movement not just agreeable, but beautiful. For instance, the balance wheel cock alone boasts 3 different finishes.

 

Girard-Perregaux Laureato

The greatness of the GP01800 consists not only in robustness but also in beauty and richness of details. (the crystal is covered by a transparent protective film)

 

The steel oscillating weight is decorated with circular Côtes de Genève and proudly engraved with “Manufacture Girard-Perregaux” in golden text. And why shouldn’t they be? To be around for as long as they have while maintaining high standards over all the years is nothing to be sniffed at.

Competitive landscape

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Ref. 81010-11-431-BB6A has a retail price of S$15,300 (including GST) or CHF10,400 (tax included). This price might be considered high, but taking into account some of the competitors, one might reconsider it as a great deal.

One of the direct competitors is Piaget Polo S, reviewed in December 2016. The watch was first released in 1979 and revived last year. At 9.4mm thickness, the watch is seen as a dress watch but the 42mm steel case is a rather sporty size. The dial style goes to a more quadratic shape, but share similarities with our review piece. The dial features applied indexes filled with Super LumiNova and a trapezoidal date window at 6 o’clock. Piaget Polo S is powered by the Piaget in-house movement – the calibre 1110P. This also operates at 4Hz (28,800bph) with a slightly lower power reserve of 50 hours. The watch offers a water resistance of 100m. Piaget Polo S is priced at US$9,350.

 

Piaget Polo S

Piaget Polo S features many resemblances with the Girard-Perregaux Laureato. One of the reasons is the fashion style used in watches in the 70’s (in this picture, the watch is covered by a protective film)

 

Another similarly powerful design is featured on the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatique. With a price tag of S$17,700 on alligator strap, the Octo offers a magnificent 40mm titanium case. The simple dial has a matt finish and tall Arabic numerals for 12 and 6 o’clock. The 5,15mm height contributes to a great wrist feel. The watch is powered by a magnificent decorated Calibre BVL138. This ticks at a low 3Hz but it keeps beating for 60 hours.  The watch has a water resistance of only 30m, which is a shame given how we can see this watch being a part of a sporty and active lifestyle.

 

The ultra-thin Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatique.

A bold, masculine watch, the Bulgari Octo is a beautiful watch with great finishes.

 

Not to forget, there is of course the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Ref. 5711. The Nautilus was released a year later after GP Laureato, in 1976. This watch features a great interplay of polished and brushed finishes and is one of the most desired pieces designed by the great watchmaker Gerald Genta. The watch is powered by a Patek in-house movement that stands out with the usual exceptional finishes. For more about the Patek Philippe pieces is available The Vertical Collection article.

Other Genta-inspired watches are the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or the IWC Ingenieur. Both watches have recent reissues and are iconic pieces designed in the 70s’.

Concluding thoughts

Girard-Perregaux Laureato in 42mm steel case and blue dial is a lovely piece. The watch is a well-balanced combination of classic elements and modern design, and is an excellent finished piece in its own right, topped with a great heritage. Even though it doesn’t receive as much attention as some of the other pieces released in parallel in the 70s’, GP Laureato is a great looking watch. The decision of the oldest Maison to bring back the collection and to extend it is, without a doubt, a sound decision. The GP Laureato wrist presence is cosy but exudes a gentle aura of power. We think the Laureato is, and will continue to be, a classic in the years to come.

Some may consider Girard-Perregaux  Laureato to be just one of the Gerald Genta-inspired pieces, and lacks originality. On the contrary, the Laureato and other watches from the 70’s, including Genta’s, were simply following the fashion style of that years. In that sense, neither copied the other. They were all following the same trend, somewhat like the trend of re-issuing classic pieces today. Nevertheless, the GP Laureato is a magnificent all-rounder, pulling off a sporty or elegant look with ease.

 

Girard-Perregaux Laureato

Could the modern Laureato be the answer for GP’s today market. The watch is lovely: many details on case, dial and movement, excellent execute finishes of the in-house movement. The price is the only one that could be an issue.

 

Specification and Price: Girard-Perregaux Laureato

The Ref. 81010-11-431-BB6A has a retail price of S$15,300 (including GST), CHF10,400 (tax included). The price is for the reviewed piece with an alligator strap. Included in the retail package is a rubber strap. The watch is also available with a beautiful steel bracelet with polished and brushed links at a price of CHF11,200 (tax included).

 

Movement

Calibre: GP01800-0008

Type: mechanical self-winding movement

Dimensions: 13 1⁄4 lignes, 30mm

Thickness 3.97mm

Jewels: 28

Power reserve: 54 hours

Frequency: 4 Hz / 28’800 bph

Functions: hours, minutes, sweep seconds, date

 

Case

Material: steel, titanium or 18K pink gold

Diameter: 42mm diameter; 10.88mm thickness;

Crystal: sapphire crystal with AR coating

Caseback: see-through sapphire

Water resistance: 100m

 

Strap

Material: black alligator strap with topstitching for the presented model or anthracite grey alligator strap (the watches with alligator leather straps are delivered with an additional rubber strap). Metal bracelets are available in steel, or titanium and 18K pink gold

Buckle: Titanium triple folding clasp

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