It was a logical move. At the SIHH, less than one year after the launch of the limited edition 41 mm Laureato, Girard-Perregaux unveiled an entire range dedicated to its ’70s icon. A number of now legendary watches were born in the 1970s, and continued their growth into the following decade. They include the Royal Oak, the Nautilus and the Overseas, and they have more in common than just their age, such as their sporty appearance, their steel case and bracelet, and the way the two fit together to form a coherent whole. The rest is different.
Girard-Perregaux chose the Laureato to showcase some of its finest inventions, including quartz chronometers, the tourbillon with three bridges (in a sapphire variation), flyback chronographs, etc. The model which first saw the light of day in 1975 has since gone through three generations, and its history is familiar. After a number of evolutions, it was finally dropped from the current collection. When the company itself was rebooted, this iconic model was also treated to a makeover (or perhaps a remake, as they say in Hollywood). The constants remain the perfectly angular octagonal bezel, hobnail-patterned clous de Paris dial, and a bracelet with convex central links.
The latest-generation Laureato is the most versatile we have seen, not least because it explicitly targets women. The first approach is the most obvious. The 34 mm Laureato is sized for a woman’s wrist, and the choice is reinforced by the use of a quartz movement, of which Girard-Perregaux was a pioneer, and a diamond-set bezel. With the option of gold, two-tone gold and steel, or steel, the Laureato can comfortably be dressed up or down.
A second variation comes in a 38 mm diameter. In many cultures, this measurement signals a unisex watch, and everyone can take from it what they like. It is an exclusively automatic model, with an entirely in-house Girard-Perregaux movement. It is wonderfully ergonomic, not too deep, with a smooth and flexible bracelet. The remaining models come mainly in the larger diameter of 42 mm. As this model is intended for men, there are no more diamond-set bezels, but the two-tone titanium and rose gold case hints at a 1980s aesthetic.
At the very top of the range, Girard-Perregaux can be forgiven for giving pride of place to the tourbillon, whose renaissance in the 1980s the company helped to bring about. The company also makes a virtue of the distinctive architecture of its signature gold bridge. But rather than using three, as is the rule for its classic haute horlogerie models, the firm decided to add just one, as we have already seen on several occasions. The Laureato Tourbillon thus positions itself as a sporty tourbillon with an assertive design, offered at a restrained price point, well under the symbolic six figures. It comes in a diameter of 45 mm, with a choice of case materials: titanium and rose gold, or titanium and white gold. The range has never been so broad or so varied. The only thing missing is a couple of chronographs, to make the Laureato a universal icon. But the adventure is far from over.