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Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition was launched in August 2020. It comes in two variants, 38mm and 42mm, and harnesses many of the existing model’s attributes. However, these two new references are also endowed with black onyx dials which bestow an amazing glossy appearance.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition - 38mm & 42mm

In August 2020, during The Geneva Watch Days, Girard-Perregaux unveiled a plethora of new models. Several of these novelties featured familiar names, but with the addition of two important words, ‘Infinity Edition’. Indeed, the Free Bridge, Cosmos, 1966, Vintage 1945 and Laureato are all now available in the new ‘Infinity Edition’ specification.

The historical Manufacture has chosen to dress the dials of the aforementioned models with black onyx. The resultant dials are incredibly black with an extraordinary profundity, suggesting boundless depths. On reflection, the word ‘Infinity’ seems most apt.

Personally, I am drawn to two new versions of the Laureato, both with the ‘Infinity Edition’ specification. One version features a 38mm case set with 56 diamonds, while the second option is housed in a 42mm case sans gems. Indeed, such is my fondness for the Laureato, that I felt compelled to look at these two versions more closely.

The Laureato

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato was launched in 1975. It joined a small number of dressy sports watches that were on-trend at the time. Steel was de rigueur and integrated bracelets seemed to be an essential prerequisite for sales success. During the 70s, the models which tapped into this niche included the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the IWC Ingenieur SL, the Patek Philippe Nautilus and, of course, the Laureato.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition - 38mm & 42mm

What differentiated the Laureato from its contemporaries was that initial versions were powered by quartz movements. This may sound like a strange choice for a brand considered a paragon of fine watchmaking, however, at the time quartz was regarded by many as horological utopia. Mechanical movements were fitted to the Laureato for the first time in 1995. Today, the brand offers both mechanical and quartz versions of the Laureato.

In 2016, to critical acclaim, Girard-Perregaux released a limited edition Laureato as part of its 225th-anniversary celebrations. Two years later, a swathe of new, non-limited Laureato references arrived. Irrespective of the model, each design element was beautifully executed and every facet felt wonderfully refined. Models ranged from a three-hander with date to the firm’s sublime Tourbillon Skeleton. Since 2018, the brand has not rested on its laurels, releasing additional variations on the Laureato theme, including the neoteric Absolute models (2019).

The dial

The dial of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition is not encumbered with superfluous details. The inventory of functions is limited to hours, minutes, central seconds and date. Quite simply, there is a welcome efficiency in the way it converses with the wearer.

However, with prolonged examination, subtle details make their presence known. The baton-style hour and minute hands are rhodium-plated, while the central sweep seconds hand is presented in a luxurious golden hue. This juxtaposing of golden and silvery shades proves both eye-catching and harmonious.

The tip of each pink gold index points to the centre of the dial and denotes the prevailing hour with a notable sense of style. The date is shown at 3 o’clock using white numerals in a traditional font set against a black background. The prestigious Maison has ensured the colour of the date disc and dial hue match, upholding fine watchmaking etiquette.

The GP logo is presented below noon, executed in tasteful golden tones. Beneath the firm’s initials, the brand’s name and bridge logo are presented in white. In the lower portion of the dial, the words ‘Laureato’ and ‘Automatic’ remind the wearer of the model’s legendary name and the convenience afforded by its movement.

Ultimately though, all roads lead to the distinctive onyx dial. Similar to a painting by an Old Master, the dial possesses a richness and wonderfully plays with depths. However, such beauty necessitates much time and skill.

Making an onyx dial

Onyx plates are produced over an eight week period after being submerged in a special black liquid. Thereafter, the plates are slowly dried over a one week period.

These plates are closely inspected, ensuring there are no surface imperfections. A skilled craftsperson marks the plate with an outline of a disc which is then cut and shaped by hand. The protracted nature of making the basic disc demands great care is exercised at all times.

Next, the onyx discs are precision sliced and machined to form thin dials. The transition from disc to dial sees the thickness of the material reduced from 4mm to 0.4mm. Again, care is needed when handling the dial to prevent it from suffering any damage.

The dials are then polished using an elaborate technique, ensuring they are homogenous, of equal thickness and free of imperfections. The finished dials exhibit a mirror-like appearance. Thereafter, white text is pad printed onto the dials and the pink gold GP logo and indexes are applied.

The case

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition is available in two case options. One version is presented in a 42mm stainless steel case without any case adornment. It is aimed primarily at male wearers. The second model is housed in a 38mm stainless steel case and features a diamond-set bezel. It is primarily intended for women, albeit I can imagine some male wearers also succumbing to its charms.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition - 38mm & 42mm

Apart from the diameter and the presence/lack of diamonds, the two models are virtually the same. The bezel features a circular satin brush with a polished bevelled edge. The bezel’s octagonal form has eight elongated, straight edges and encompasses eight rounded corners. The octagonal bezel sits upon a gleaming round plinth. The different shapes, along with the two forms of polishing employed, deliver sublime contrast.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition - 38mm & 42mm

This policy of placing contrasting finishes in close proximity extends to the stainless steel bracelet. The central sections of the bracelet are presented are highly polished, while the other surfaces are satin-brushed. The resultant appearance looks incredible.

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition is equipped with an exhibition caseback, affording views of the in-house self-winding movements found within both models.

The movements

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato 38mm Infinity Edition is equipped with the brand’s GP03300 self-winding movement (diameter 25.95mm). The balance has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and is regulated using an index adjuster. As one would expect of a Manufacture of GP’s standing, the finishing is excellent with Côtes de Genève motif and perlage much in evidence. The oscillating weight is formed of pink gold and features circular Côtes de Genève. Assuming the watch is fully wound, it will run autonomously for a minimum of 46  hours.

Owing to its greater size, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Infinity Edition is equipped with a different movement, the GP01800, which measures a more suitable 30mm in diameter. Some bean-counters may have been tempted to use one movement, saving a few Swiss francs in the process. Thankfully, there is an overriding sense of horological propriety at the historical Maison, hence the firm would never countenance such penny-pinching. Instead, it has chosen to use optimally sized movements.

In other respects, there is little to differentiate the two movements. Both feature a 4Hz, index-adjusted balance and both calibres share the same refined finishing.

The only area where the GP01800 eclipses its smaller sibling is that the power-reserve is greater, delivering a minimum of 54 hours autonomy (assuming the watch is fully wound).

Closing remarks

The Laureato is widely regarded as a legend. Its octagonal bezel and sophisticated blend of polished and satin-brushed surfaces will be immediately recognisable to any self-respecting watch aficionado.

The bezel and steel integrated bracelet of the 1975 original have retained their eye-appeal. Indeed, when appraising a Laureato it sometimes proves difficult to determine its year of manufacture owing to the model’s timeless appearance.

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition enunciates the time wonderfully. However, beyond such practical considerations, the judicious blend of golden, silver and white dial elements imbues this composition with an elegant mien.

In particular, the onyx dial exhibits a remarkable depth, almost inviting the wearer to dive in and escape to another world. Indeed, the appearance of the onyx dial is quite different from other examples I have seen, justifying the brand’s protracted production technique. Onyx dials, especially of this high quality, are costly to produce, however, as I go to explain later, these two models prove remarkably good value.

The bracelet fuses with the case almost seamlessly, while the octagonal bezel masterfully blends convex and concave surfaces. Furthermore, the case harmoniously blends polished and satin-finished surfaces, heightening the model’s overall allure. While the Laureato dates back to 1975, the Manufacture has a long history of making form watches and exploring different shapes. It has amassed much expertise conceiving new forms and exciting shapes, something that is manifest with the contemporary Laureato.

Girard-Perregaux is synonymous with Haute Horlogerie. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the materials used, skills employed and the quality of execution are all first-rate. However, it is surprising to learn that the 42mm model is offered for the keen price of £10,800 (RRP as at 20.1.2021) and the 38mm model with diamond-set bezel retails for just £13,600.

Perhaps excellence doesn’t always have to be prohibitively expensive.

Further reading

https://www.girard-perregaux.com/

Technical specification

  • Model: Girard-Perregaux Laureato 38mm Infinity Edition
  • Reference: 81005D11A631-11A
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 38 mm; height 9.80 mm; water resistance 10ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and exhibition caseback
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
  • Movement: Calibre GP03300; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 27 jewels; power reserve minimum 46 hours; components = 203
  • Strap: Steel bracelet – polished and satin finished
  • Price: £13,600 (RRP as at 20.1.2021)

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition - 38mm & 42mm

  • Model: Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Infinity Edition
  • Reference: 81010-11-635-11A
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 42 mm; height 10.70 mm; water resistance 10ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and exhibition caseback
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
  • Movement: Calibre GP01800; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 28 jewels; power reserve minimum 54 hours; components = 191
  • Strap: Steel bracelet – polished and satin finished
  • Price: £10,800 (RRP as at 20.1.2021)

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity Edition - 38mm & 42mm

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