Girard-Perregaux’s luxury-sports watch is available in the usual range of materials, as well as some unusual carbon-glass composites, and now sapphire with the Laureato Absolute Light.
At first glance it appears to adhere to a common formula – executing a well-known case design in sapphire – but Girard-Perregaux has tweaked a few elements to make it a little more interesting, while maintaining transparent-mechanical look prized in such watches.
Ultra-luxe sports watches with sapphire cases are surprisingly common, despite the accompanying price tag. Typically the design can be varied little, since what most brands do is produce their signature style in sapphire. So the way to stand out is to make the details a little bit more interesting, and the price tag a little less high.
Girard-Perregaux has succeeded in the former – amongst the interesting details here are the movement and hours chapter ring – while doing so-so on the latter. At 85,000 Swiss francs, the Laureato Absolute Light is a lot of money, but amongst sapphire-case sports watches, the price is middle of the road.
Framed by lugs
The 44 mm case is typical Laureato, which is a circle within an octagon within a tonneau-shaped case. Admittedly the standard Laureato does bear a strong resemblance to a handful of famous Gerald Genta case designs, but when rendered in sapphire the Laureato does look quite original.
The case construction is unusual in that the titanium lugs bookend each side of the sapphire case middle. In most sapphire cases, the metal lug attachments are either inside the sapphire, as Hublot does it, or extend into the strap as in the Richard Mille sapphire cases; a necessity because the strap cannot be attached directly to sapphire, which is too hard and fragile to resist the torsional or tensile force of a strap.
At first glance the titanium lugs seem out of place, but they actually work well, being neutral in colour and finish. And they also serve to echo the metal parts of the movement.
As a consequence of Girard-Perregaux being a comprehensively, vertically-integrated manufacture – and has been for some three decades – the movement is smartly executed, and significantly customised for this watch.
Most notably, the base plate is octagonal, tracing the shape of the bezel. More novel is the integration of the base plate into the case – all eight screws that run from back to bezel also secure the main plate, which means the movement does away with the usual (and usually ugly) clamps found in standard cases.
The movement is a skeletonised version of the GP01800 automatic, which has the advantage of having its balance wheel positioned at 12, and the barrel almost at six, giving the open-worked version a strong visual balance.
Beyond the skeletonised movement, the dial also has an unusual detail, a wave-form ring that frames the movement, while also serving as a subtle hour chapter ring, with each hour represented by a polished, flat top on each crest of the wave.
Going by the photos the movement finish appears done well, incorporating a handful of inward angles amongst its bevelled edges, which unsurprising given the typical quality of Girard-Perregaux movements.
Key facts and price
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light
Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 11.56 mm
Material: Sapphire and titanium
Water resistance: 30 m
Features: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 54 hours
Strap: Black rubber with titanium folding clasp
Limited edition: 88 pieces
Availability: Already at retailers
Price: 85,000 Swiss francs; or 120,000 Singapore dollars
For more, visit girard-perregaux.com.
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