Girard-Perregaux Returns To SIHH With 2017 Laureato Models, Including Elegant Editions For Women
by Nola Martin
The design and nostalgic elements of the new Laureato 34 hark back to the debut Laureato collection of 1975 with interesting modern enhancements.
To better understand this, let’s take a look at a few points of historical significance from the past four decades of the Laureato collection.
As the story goes, the cult movie classic The Graduate was the inspiration for the name of the collection thanks to a suggestion from Girard-Perregaux’s Italian distributor at the time; the movie title in Italian is Il Laureato.
The first editions of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato range were launched in stainless steel with a bold, octagonal bezel and integrated bracelet – (obvious) shades of Audemars Piguet’s uber-successful stainless steel Royal Oak from 1972 were certainly desired by its makers – strong aesthetics that still endure in the collection today.
The Laureato arrived at a time when stainless steel was in vogue for sport watches thanks to Audemars Piguet’s bold model, and this was certainly no coincidence.
The most unprecedented virtue of the first Laureato was that it was powered by Caliber 705, a modified version of the for-the-time-revolutionary Girard-Perregaux 350 quartz movement developed in 1971; it represented the all-important bridge between Swiss “mass market” quartz and the experimental Beta 21.
By 1975, Girard-Perregaux’s talented team of watchmakers had refined the in-house quartz movement so that it was thinner and more efficient than ever before. This chronometer-certified movement beat at a frequency of 32,768 Hz – a technical feat for quartz movements that has remained the universal standard ever since.
The launch of the revolutionary quartz movement was a methodical business strategy as well as the historical brand’s answer to the challenges of the quartz crisis facing the watch industry at that time.
The journey has since taken the Laureato through some transformative stages.
In 1984, the collection expanded with the addition of complications through Girard-Perregaux’s Equation movements supplying astronomical indications; the strong eight-sided bezel design remained.
It was not until 1995 that Girard-Perregaux enlarged the case to accommodate mechanical movements such as the automatic GP 3100 caliber. A chronograph version followed in 1996.
The brutally modern Laureato EVO3 appeared in 2003, heralding an appreciated facelift. This interpretation came complete with the first enlarged 44 mm case with integrated pushers, enhancing the sporty vibe. The automatic chronograph was powered by Girard-Perregaux’s Caliber GP 033CO-AOVAA. The positive reception of this timepiece led to the Laureato Tourbillon with incredible transparent bridges crafted in blue spinel.
At SIHH 2010, Girard-Perregaux introduced a limited edition of only 40 pieces of the quartz Laureato in honor of the original watch’s 35th anniversary and 40 years of Girard-Perregaux quartz. The quartz movement of this edition was exceptionally finely finished and appealed greatly to collectors and connoisseurs of the brand.
Girard-Perregaux celebrated its 225th anniversary in 2016 by releasing two limited edition Laureato timepieces commemorating the original edition: these 41 mm watches continue the lineage with sporty features that included a polished, octagonal bezel, making it a precise re-edition and an overwhelmingly identifiable feature.
Their blue and silvery white dials decorated with a hobnail motif are slightly reminiscent of the Royal Oak, however automatic Caliber GP 03300-0030 is all Girard-Perregaux – as is the Laureato bezel.
After a short hiatus, Girard-Perregaux returns to the SIHH (read more about the changing roll call over the past 25 years of SIHH at Celebrating 25 Years Of SIHH) with the release of the Laureato 34 and 38 in 2017.
A watch dedicated to women is always eye-catching, and the Laureato 34 is even more so with its eight-sided bezel alluding to the collection’s tradition yet retaining a touch of feminine aesthetic.
Adding to the allure, there are 56 sparkling diamonds (total carat weight 0.82) elegantly set along the angles of the bezel.
Complementing the shimmering bezel is a dial stamped with the hobnail pattern reminding us that this watch belongs in the same class with 2016’s offerings for men.
These aspects together with the 34 mm case and slim profile of 7.75 mm contribute greatly to the wrist comfort this watch brings with it.
On a strap or bracelet, the Laureato 34 is offered in satin-brushed steel, pink gold, or a two-tone combination of both. The integrated bracelet’s H-shaped links graduate in size down to its triple folding clasp while the alligator skin strap is available in a choice of white, black, or anthracite grey.
And though I personally prefer automatic movements, I do respect the origins of this groundbreaking quartz movement from Girard-Perregaux: during the quartz revolution of the 1970s the brand was at the forefront of research and development in Swiss quartz.
And not only was the predecessor of this advanced quartz movement a technical breakthrough, in 1978 it was also the first quartz movement thin enough to be suitable for a ladies’ timepiece. The Laureato 34 pays tribute to this heritage of Girard-Perregaux, which I certainly can appreciate.
Although my personal style for a sport-chic watch tends to lean toward a larger case size, I was pleasantly surprised with the dimensions of the Laureato 34 on my wrist. The stainless steel version with the integrated bracelet is stylish while being extremely comfortable. I am very sure lots of women will be in love with a watch this size – and who may be further swayed by the sparing yet interesting use of diamonds on this always-interesting bezel. Especially when they understand the history leading up to the creation of this particular watch.
However, once I slid the Laureato 38 in pink gold on my wrist I lit up with excitement. The larger proportions of this case are ideal, and more importantly for me it is fitted with automatic Caliber GP03300 manufactured by Girard-Perregaux.
The Laureato 38 checks all the boxes for my own sensibilities.
For more information, please visit www.girard-perregaux.com/en/laureato/laureato-34-mm.
Quick Facts Laureato 34
Case: 34 x 7.75 mm, stainless steel, pink gold, or two-tone steel and gold, bezel set with 56 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.82 ct)
Movement: quartz GP Caliber GP013100-0002/0003/0004
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: $8,800 (stainless steel, strap), $9,600 (stainless steel, bracelet)
Quick Facts Laureato 38
Case: 38 x 10.02 mm, pink gold, stainless steel, optional bezel set with 56 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.90 ct)
Movement: automatic Caliber GP03300-0030
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: $14,500 (stainless steel), $34,400 (pink gold)