Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute – Ref. 81070-21-491-FH6A
The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute was launched at SIHH 2019. While it shares much of the same DNA as its sibling, the Laureato 42mm, it exhibits a very different character. Angus Davies explores this latest version of the revered icon.
In 1975, Girard-Perregaux, the luxury marque based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, unveiled its first Laureato model, featuring a quartz movement. This was an era when mechanical watches were considered passé and quartz represented progress, courtesy of its impressive precision. Thankfully, the appeal of quartz subsequently waned and a new generation of watch enthusiasts have since discovered the delights of mechanical timepieces.
The advent of the original Laureato roughly coincided with the arrival of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (1972) and the IWC Ingenieur SL (1976). At that time steel sports watches were very much en vogue, albeit sales of these particular models was initially underwhelming.
In 2016, Girard-Perregaux unveiled a new Laureato in a 42mm case and it remains a popular member of the current range. This model encompasses some of the much-loved design codes first seen on its forebears, such as a Clous de Paris dial and an 8-sided bezel. Although inspired by the iconic watch of the 1970s, the 2016 model looks contemporary and of the moment. Moreover, despite the sporty side to its character, it exudes a high quotient of elegance, making it the perfect accompaniment to casual or formal attire.
Image – Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute WW.TC – Ref. 81065-21-491-FH6A
Earlier this year, Girard-Perregaux launched the Laureato Absolute, a triumvirate of neoteric timepieces, including a chronograph, a worldtimer and, the focal point of this review, a simpler model displaying hours, minutes, seconds and date. Confusingly, this latter watch shares the same name as the collection, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute.
Image – Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph – Ref. 81060-21-491-FH6A
When I first saw the Laureato Absolute, I thought of my two children. Despite them both sharing the same gene pool, they remain very different. Likewise, the Laureato Absolute shares its forename with the 1975 classic, yet it possesses a an alternative appearance and exudes different personality traits. I felt compelled to take a closer look at this interesting new model.
The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute eschews the Clous de Paris dial of its older sibling. The younger watch looks different, wholeheartedly embracing modernity and evincing an extraordinarily sporty appearance. Its youthful complexion pairs a sunray finish with a predominantly blue dial that fuses with black tones near the minute track. Despite my best efforts, I found it difficult to convey the exuberance of the dial with mere pictures. There is no substitute for viewing the watch whilst affixed to the wrist.
Baton-type hands pronounce the hours and minutes with clear tone. Both hands feature a liberal application of Super-LumiNova, assisting readability in dim light. The Swiss brand has endowed this watch with a cheery red central sweep seconds hand, infusing the dialscape with a dose of flamboyance. Each hour is denoted with a baton-type index, juxtaposed with a rectangular section of luminescent coating.
A date indication is positioned just above 6 o’clock, employing a black date disc marked with white numerals.
Reinforcing its sporty nature, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute is larger than its forebears, measuring 44mm in diameter. Its scale, consistent with the rest of the watch, is likely to attract attention. The persona of this watch is overtly extrovert. Clearly, its significant presence may dissuade meek wearers from selecting this watch. Moreover, its very notable scale may well prove too great for buyers of diminutive build. However, should the wearer possess sufficient wrist circumference and enough confidence, this watch may well prove ideal.
Personally, I found the scale and design of this watch very agreeable, perfectly suiting my redwood wrists and lively persona.
The case is formed of polished and satin-brushed black PVD-treated titanium. Its stealthy tones act as a counterbalance to the vibrant conduct of the dial. The pairing of the dial and case proves cohesive and has been judged to perfection.
Consistent with the inaugural version of the Laureato (1975), the bezel is octagonal. The straight facets provide a tasteful contrast with the myriad of circular lines gracing the case and dial. The bezel looked superb in 1975 and it continues to proffer much eye-appeal today. Again, similar to the case, the bezel is presented in black PVD-treated titanium.
Where the case of this newer watch differs from the Laureato 42mm (2016) is that it forgoes the exhibition caseback. Instead, the dorsal flank of the case eschews glazing and the model’s nomenclature is declared in bold text. This decision could be attributed to its impressive water resistance of 300 metres, however, I would have preferred to have seen the movement. Indeed, I know from experience that the movement within a Girard-Perregaux watch will inevitably be executed to the Maison’s exalted standards. Therefore, I feel a pang of disappointment that I can’t view the model’s impressive finissage in all of its technicolor glory.
The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute has a tough side, hence unsurprisingly the crown nestles within a protector. However, the Swiss Maison has bestowed the case with gently curving lines adjacent to the crown. This blend of character traits augments interest while remaining harmonious.
The watch is supplied on a black rubber strap which has been injection moulded with the company’s name and enriched with prominent blue stitching. A black PVD-treated triple-blade folding clasp affixes the strap to the wrist of its fortunate wearer.
The Calibre GP03300-1060 sits behind the solid caseback. This self-winding movement contains 27 jewels and will run autonomously for 46 hours. The movement has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the balance if fitted with a raquette in order to alter the rate.
Having seen an exposed example of the movement, I can attest that the mainplate is adorned with perlage and the bridges are embellished with straight Côtes de Genève and bevelling. The oscillating weight is also decorated with circular Côtes de Genève and blued screws abound.
While the Calibre GP03300-1060 remains hidden, its excellence upholds the venerable Maison’s reputation.
The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute shares several design codes with its older sibling, the Laureato 42mm. However, despite both watches sharing the same name, ‘Laureato’, they are quite different. Certainly, there is a family resemblance but both models have their own respective qualities and, on balance, each makes a compelling case for ownership. Indeed, I would be happy to wear either watch.
However, at this juncture, you may wonder which ownership proposition I would select in preference. My answer is straightforward. While my children are very different, each with their own distinct characters and attributes, I love them equally. Likewise, I am left with a similar feeling when appraising the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute and its older sister, the Laureato 42mm. I just can’t favour one over the other, a sentiment most parents will understand.
- Model: Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute
- Reference: 81070-21-491-FH6A
- Case: Polished and satin-brushed black PVD-treated titanium; diameter 44mm; water resistance 30ATM (300 metres) sapphire crystal to front and solid case back
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
- Movement: Calibre GP03300-1060; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 27 jewels; power reserve 46 hours.
- Strap: Black rubber strap, injection moulded with the company’s name and paired with a black PVD-treated triple-blade folding clasp
- Price: £7,300 (RRP as at 14.12.2019)