Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Chronograph

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Chronograph was unveiled at SIHH 2018. Angus Davies examines the watch at close quarters and reveals its many attributes.

This detailed watch review of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Chronograph includes live pictures, specification and pricing.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph with Clou de Paris hobnail dial

Every watch manufacturer desires an iconic watch whose legend distinguishes it as special. Unusually, Girard-Perregaux, the Swiss watch brand founded in 1791, has two iconic watches, the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges and the Laureato.

Today’s version of the Tourbillon With Three Gold Bridges can trace its origins to ‘La Esmeralda’, a pocket watch that won an award at the 1889 Universal Exposition. Over the years, Girard-Perregaux has released various wrist-worn versions of the Tourbillon With Three Gold Bridges. Despite the passage of time, each subsequent iteration of this wristwatch has continued to share key design elements of ‘La Esmeralda’. The design of the Tourbillon With Three Gold Bridges continues to stand out from the crowd and attract the appellation of ‘icon’.

The 1970s was an interesting period in watchmaking. At the time, the Swiss watch industry was reeling from the advent of quartz watches, with demand for its highly-prized mechanical watches suffering decline. The imperative to find new customers led to the advent of some memorable sports watches. Audemars Piguet released its venerable Royal Oak (1973), IWC unveiled the Ingenieur SL (1976) and Girard-Perregaux launched the Laureato (1975).

Initial versions of the Laureato were quartz and sported slender cases, however, the maison went on to release mechanical versions which, by default, were thicker. The octagonal bezel, richly textured dial and integrated metal bracelet have been consistent features throughout the life of the Laureato. Indeed, it is this consistency and notable allure which has led to the Laureato’s iconic status.

In 2016, Girard-Perregaux released a new Laureato. This version featured refined lines, optimally matching modern tastes. The watch continued to retain the very essence of the original Laureato of 1975 and featured indications for hours, minutes, central seconds and date.

This year, the watch company from La Chaux-de-Fonds unveiled its latest version of the iconic timepiece, the Laureato 42mm Chronograph, enlarging its extensive range still further. This model is offered in steel with an integrated steel bracelet, consistent with former Laureato models. The chronograph is also offered in a pink gold case, paired with an eye-catching blue leather strap. Personally, I find this latter version especially appealing.

The dial

The first distinguishing feature of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Chronograph is the surface of the dial. It is adorned with a wonderful dark blue ‘Clou de Paris’ hobnail motif with the epidermis covered with small pyramidal structures. The facets of the pyramids cast different levels of shade, imbuing the dial with an incredible richness and eye-catching allure. The Clou de Paris motif provides a fascinating background for the various indications presented.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph with Clou de Paris hobnail dial

Baton-style hands, lined with luminescent material, succinctly convey the prevailing time. The indexes share the same style and width as the hands, capably fulfilling their role whilst adding to the cohesion of the dialscape.

Located between each index are short white strokes. These grant ease of interpretation and prove especially useful when reading-off elapsed seconds. The central chronograph seconds hand is presented in white and features a counterweight.

Three snailed subdials populate the dial. A small seconds display at 3 o’clock, a 12-hour chronograph register at 6 o’clock and a 30-minute chronograph register at 9 o’clock.

The date display is positioned at 4:30 and completes the list of indications.

Girard-Perregaux has delivered a highly legible dial with each indication sufficiently spaced apart to aid interpretation. Beyond its functional prowess the dial deftly manipulates light to glorious effect.

The case

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph is offered in two sizes, 38mm and 42mm. I am surprised that the Swiss firm has chosen to incur the additional expense of offering two case sizes, but I applaud any watch company striving to offer greater customer choice.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph with Clou de Paris hobnail dial

The octagonal bezel is brushed with a gleaming bevelled edge. Beneath the bezel is a highly polished circular plinth which in turn sits upon the brushed gold case. The interplay of polished and brushed surfaces is sublime and collectively confers a handsome mien.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph with Clou de Paris hobnail dial

A guard partially envelops the crown and the push-pieces echo the profile of the bezel with their octagonal profile. The design of each push-piece surpasses mere utility, delivering an abundance of eye-appeal. 

The strap eschews conventional lugs, drawing the sumptuous blue strap close in integrated union.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph with Clou de Paris hobnail dial

Surprisingly, and contrary to many watches positioned at this level, the Laureato Chronograph is equipped with a solid case-back. Knowing that Girard-Perregaux execute their movements to a high standard, I do feel frustrated that I am unable to see the added value within the case.

The movement

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Chronograph is endowed with the calibre GP03300-0138. The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and contains 63 jewels. The power-reserve is sufficient to provide 46 hours of autonomy.

The movement is adorned with Côtes de Genève, perlage, blued screws, chamfering and straight graining. Furthermore, the watch features an 18-carat pink gold oscillating weight.

Girard-Perregaux point out ’the particularly smooth activation of the pushers’. Having pressed the push-pieces, I can support the brand’s claim, the push-pieces do indeed deliver a pleasing tactile encounter.

Closing remarks

Although the Laureato Chronograph’s design is based on a 1970s timepiece, it looks decidedly modern. While displaying an overtly masculine nature with robust case elements the watch remains elegant. It is this mixture of seemingly disparate characteristics which make the styling of this timepiece particularly interesting.

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Chronograph feels exceptional. It surpasses its role as a mere timepiece, revealing wonderful episodes of delight. For example, while its dial imparts time, it also proves a beautiful canvas, masterfully manipulating light. The case shape sets aside the well-worn styling of others and delivers something unique.

Will the Laureato Chronograph go on to share the iconic status of the 1975 original? It is difficult to say, but based on this performance I would not be surprised.

Further information

Technical specification

  • Model: Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Chronograph
  • Case: 18-carat pink gold; diameter 42mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 10 ATM (100 metres)
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
  • Movement: GP03300-0138; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 63 jewels; power reserve minimum 46 hours
  • Strap: Dark blue leather with triple folding pink gold buckle
  • Price: CHF 32,500 including tax (RRP as at 19.2.2018)

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