Since its debut in 1975, the Laureato has been a model of deftly blending seemingly incompatible materials into a whole that is both beautiful and functional. The Laureato Absolute Light & Shade, housed in a metallized sapphire crystal shell, is a study in contrasts: curves and lines, modern and traditional, and, finally, form and function.
To celebrate the arrival of the Chinese New Year, Girard-Perregaux has also designed a unique reference with a transparent red casing. The Laureato Absolute Light & Fire, of which there are only 18 pieces, will be released all over the world for the occasion.
The original Laureato, introduced by Girard-Perregaux in 1975, was immediately recognisable for its unusual yet harmonious blend of forms. Its style was adaptable enough to go with anything from a lounge suit to jeans.
Even as the Maison has experimented with new complexity and other materials and hues, the Laureato has remained instantly recognisable and has aged gracefully. This case is state-of-the-art, but it was nonetheless made with the utmost regard for tradition.
The casing of a watch made from sapphire crystal starts with a boule of sapphire crystal grown using the Kyropoulos growth method. It can take up to 8 weeks for the alumina powder to be transformed into a solid block of sapphire crystal using this method of slow development. After the block is sliced into discs, the bezel, case centre, and caseback are carefully machined. Following this stage, heat treatment and polishing must be performed on the components. Only parts that are in accordance with the requirements and free of defects are chosen for further inspection.
A metallization process is applied to the sapphire crystal parts. Surface treatment is applied to the components in a vacuum environment. In the end, this gives them a smoked hue. This sapphire crystal housing was made with 170 hours of painstaking labour.
Bringing together form and function
Since Girard’s creation of La Esmeralda, the Maison has constantly combined form and function, producing a wide range of timepieces that exhibit their horological expertise and design prowess.
The sapphire crystal case of the new Laureato Absolute Light & Shade remains true to this principle. The Calibre GP01800-1143 is an in-house movement with an octagonal mainplate to pay homage to Laureato’s iconic bezel. When stripped down to its bare bones, a machine’s inner workings present a stunning panorama of arcs and lines, accentuated by striations of light and shadow.
The openworked design of the barrel allows the user to observe the mainspring under varying loads. The balance wheel, likewise, swings seductively back and forth. The gold pendulum’s openworked design lets the user take in a view of the river below the bridges.
In keeping with Girard-tradition Perregaux’s of meticulous craftsmanship, the NAC-treated bridges and mainplate feature sandblasting, traits-tirés, circular satin finishing, bevelling, and no fewer than 55 hand-polished inner angles.
The Calibre GP01800-1143 is characterised by its refined nature. A variable-inertia balance is installed. The index regulator, a standard function on most timepieces, allows the wearer to change the watch’s speed by adjusting the effective length of the hairspring. Adjusting the inertia weights attached to the balance wheel’s spokes changes the rate of a variable-inertia balance, which has a set hairspring length. This setup provides increased steadiness and excellence.
Hour and minute hands are openworked and powerful, making them easy to read. The GP logo, located at 12 o’clock, and the remaining 11 indexes are displayed on a three-dimensional ring between the bezel and the movement.
Using their own innovative approach, Girard-Perregaux has built its watches without the need of a traditional casing ring. From the back to the front of the watch, the case and the mechanism are attached using a single axis of screws. These screws have a rigorous design that necessitates micron-level precision to keep the various parts together.
The watch face is joined to a black rubber band by two PVD-coated titanium lugs built into the case. Not only does this set up look great, but it also keeps the strap in a natural and comfortable position on the wrist. Satin finishing and polished angles are included into the lugs.
The strap’s FKM rubber construction provides more comfort and durability than that of standard rubber. In order to increase the strap’s visual appeal, a fabric-like exterior was added to its design. The buckle features a micro-adjustment technology that allows the wearer to get a customised fit between the strap and their wrist. The PVD-treated titanium crown is finished with polishing and sandblasting to mimic the look of the lugs.
In the world of opposites, these striking contrasts truly stand out!