Girard-Perregaux is among the oldest of watchmakers, founded in 1791 in Switzerland and now headquartered in La Chaux-de-Fonds. It’s celebrating its 230th anniversary this year and there’s two new luxury sports watches to mark the occasion. Also in 1791, titanium was discovered in Cornwall by William Gregor, an English clergyman. Titanium is a very durable and lightweight metal, but difficult to work with and has only been utilized in modern times (starting around 1940 for practical applications). Although widespread use started with aeronautics, it’s now a popular metal for watches.
The GP Laureato luxury sports watch first debuted in 1975 with a quartz movement, which was the latest craze in the 1970s. It disappeared for quite some time before reemerging in 2016 as an automatic. In the last few years, the collection has expanded considerably with multiple case sizes and styles, including tourbillons, perpetual calendars and chronographs. The new Laureato Absolute Ti 230 celebrates both the 230th anniversary of Girard-Perregaux and the discovery of titanium (Ti in the name is the metal’s symbol). Of course, the case is made from grade 5 titanium and is sizeable at 44mm in diameter and 14.65mm in height. The sports watch aesthetic integrates the case with the strap, so it wears a bit smaller than the measurements suggest. The bezel has two parts – an octagon with polished edges over a thinner circle. Narrow grooves from each corner of the top and bottom bezel edge extend to the strap. The right side of the case forms a crown guard and the crown itself is an octagon with a rubber ring matching the respective dial color. A lot of thought went into the design.
As for the dial, there are two gradient color options, grey or blue. These are sandwich dials (a la Panerai) with the indices cut out to reveal a light grey luminescent layer below. The baton-style hour and minute hands have lume inserts as well, and the seconds hand is lacquered.
A date window tastefully sits at 6 o’clock and matches the dial color, while an angled minute track spans the perimeter and adds additional depth to this multi-layer setup. An anti-reflective sapphire crystal protects the dial, while the case back is secured via six screws. Water-resistance is an impressive 300 meters, adding sport to this luxury sports collection.
Powering the watches is the GP03300-1060 in-house automatic with 218 parts. It has 27 jewels, beats at 4Hz (28,800vph) with a 46-hour power reserve. Decorations include perlage, Côtes de Genève and blued screws. The color-matching straps are made from GP Rubber Alloy, which is FKM rubber injected with titanium. They have a fabric effect texture and grey stitching, and come with titanium folding clasps with micro-adjustments.
The GP Laureato Absolute Ti 230 retails for USD 9,300 and are limited to 230 pieces each, matching the 230th anniversary. The blue dial variant will only be available at Wempe’s ten boutiques in Germany, London and New York for the first month, but will then be sold by authorized Girard-Perregaux retailers and via the brand’s website. The grey model will have immediate availability at authorized retailers and the website.