WATCH REVIEW

Borrowed Time: Girard-Perregaux Laureato in Steel with Rubber Strap


Girard-Perregaux has a long and prestigious history, but the brand over the past decade or so has been, to put it bluntly, a bit hard to pin down as far as its focus and identity. It has produced everything from high-complication masterpieces (the La Esmeralda Tourbillon) to racing-inspired sports watches (Competizione), to vintage-look dress pieces (the 1966 collection) to a buildout of out its classic Three Bridges Tourbillon into entire new lines (à la the Neo-Bridges). Now it seems to have found some solid footing with the revival of a luxury sports watch from the 1970s — the same sweet spot from which icons like the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak emerged — the Laureato.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato - steel - flat
The Girard-Perregaux Laureato is the modern descendant of a 1970s classic.

Since its debut in 2016, the back-to-basics version of the Laureato has been successful enough to expand into a fairly wide-ranging and versatile collection, now encompassing multiple dials and case materials, a skeletonized model, and as of this year’s SIHH, a chronograph. It’s my fervent wish to review them all eventually, but we’ll start here with the flagship three-hand version, the one most directly descended from the original. The Laureato model that I acquired for a wrist review from Girard-Perregaux was in stainless steel, with a clean white dial and attached to a black rubber strap. The case channels the look of the 1975 original, with rounded, curved sides flowing elegantly into the lugs and the hallmark octagonal bezel. Up close, one can see the elaborate finishing — satin brushing on the sides and top surfaces of the case and the top surfaces of the bezel, complemented with a mirror polish on the bezel’s eight sides, all with a slight inward curve. The case measures 42 mm in diameter — a nice contemporary size, large and noticeable on the wrist but smaller than the dimensions of some of the Laureato models that preceded it, most of which were not as directly influenced by the vintage model as this one. The polished finish extends to the rounded caseback bezel that holds the sapphire exhibition window and is held in place by six (not eight) screws. Adding to the complexity, the top surfaces of the movable center lugs are polished while the bottom halves are brushed.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato - dial CU
The white dial has a clous de Paris checkerboard pattern.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato - bezel CU
The hands and indices are pentagon-shaped.

The case is relatively thin, just shy of 11 mm, with the side lugs curving somewhat sharply toward the wrist. The fluted crown, whose polished surface bears a relief “GP” logo, is large enough for most fingers to grasp easily but small enough not to aesthetically mess with the overall elegant symmetry of the case and dial. The crown screws down to help ensure the case’s 100-meter water resistance and it is notably longer than many other screwed crowns I’ve encountered, extending out fairly far to engage its second position for setting the time (its first position advances the date window on the dial at 3 o’clock.)

Girard-Perregaux Laureato - crown CU
The screw-down crown pulls out farther than the norm.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato - side - crown
A relief Girard-Perregaux logo appears on the crown’s rounded surface.

About that dial: this watch’s handsome look is greatly aided by the clous de Paris checkerboard pattern that underpins the hands and applied elements — a remnant of, and homage to, the motif on the original models from the ‘70s. Whereas the octagon is used for the bezel, a five-sided pentagon is used for the major dial elements — the baton hands, the applied hour indices (10 of them, with 12 o’clock represented by an applied GP logo and 3 o’clock by the aforementioned date window) — even the counterweight of the central seconds hand (but on closer examination, this element might actually be more hexagonal). Two other elements break the plane/flow of the decorative dial — a tiny plaque reading “Girard-Perregaux 1791” below the 12 o’clock position and another reading “Laureato Automatic” above the 6 o’clock index. The presence of the latter two features is understandable — branding and all that — but I couldn’t help musing how the dial would have looked even more cleanly elegant without them.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato - dial CU - top
The “Girard-Perregaux 1791” (above) and “Laureato Automatic” (below) indications are on tiny plaques that rise above the dial’s surface

Girard-Perregaux Laureato - dial CU - bottom

Peering through the sapphire caseback we find the movement, Girard-Perregaux’s manufacture Caliber GP03300-0030 (below), a self-winding movement with 27 jewels, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 46-hour power reserve. The rotor is adorned with the circular côtes de Genève pattern characteristic of Girard-Perregaux’s movements, along with an inscribed golden “Manufacture Girard-Perregaux” emblem. Another engraved gold “GP” symbol appears on one of the plates, which are embellished with the more traditional, straight-lined Geneva waves. Perlage decorates the outer edges of the movement.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato - back
The Laureato is powered by Girard-Perregaux Caliber GP03300-0030k (above) which features a rotor with circular côtes de Genève and a golden engraved logo (below).
Girard-Perregaux Laureato - back - movement CU

The movable center lug, as mentioned before, helps this watch to conform comfortably to just about any wrist size and the black rubber strap, with a large groove in the center, is quite comfy also, though the inner edge is simple and unadorned with any particular embossed or relief motif other than an indented “GP” logo on each side of either lug, inside a hexagonal box clearly reminiscent of the venerable brand’s “Golden Bridges.” The elaborate double-folding buckle mechanism has lots of polished surfaces, as does the clasp, which carries on the motif of the bezel’s curved, polished edges.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato - reclining
The emblematic octagonal bezel boasts an eye-catching combination of polished and brushed finishes.

Were I to consider extending my relationship with the Laureato to a more permanent one, I might take some issue with the price. It’s definitely a sport-luxury watch with an emphasis on the luxury, and as I hope I’ve made clear, the attention to detail on the case, dial, and movement is impeccable across the board. But $11,000 for a steel watch, even one with an in-house movement and a prestigious pedigree, with no complications other than a date display, might strike some as fairly steep. Still, it can’t be argued that this watch looks expensive — even with the fairly simple and sporty rubber strap. Many might find the cost of admission to this horological club of simple, classical elegance to be well worth it.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato - wrist
A movable center lug helps the watch conform nicely to most wrists.
6 Responses to “Borrowed Time: Girard-Perregaux Laureato in Steel with Rubber Strap”

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  1. Jac Hatton

    This pictured GP is way too large for the modelling person…

    Reply
  2. Lori Thomas

    Beautiful watch with an impressive horological pedigree but the $11K retail price is too steep for this offering. I loved this watch on a croco or alligator leather strap offered by the Grey markets for approximately $8K. To now pay $3K more for a rubber strap seems to defy explanation and all logic.

    Reply
  3. Selman Russ

    I’ve had poor experience with my Laureto: twice I’ve had the date stop advancing and returned for repair. Unsuccessful both times. So the date is correct 12 times a year. GP is a never to be repeated experience for me.

    Reply
  4. Debashish

    Girard-Perregaux Laureato is certainly a classic, yet this watch is almost always under-rated by majority of the watch lovers, especially compared to Patek’s Nautilus or AP’s Royal Oak.

    Reply
  5. M A Khan

    can I get this watch with a stainless steel bracelet? Please let me know.

    Reply
    • You can. It is shown like that on the GP website. They also list a retail price and gives it as
      CHF 11600

      Reply
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