INTRODUCING: The dark horses of 2020 are Girard-Perregaux’s Laureato Infinity Editions in 38mm and 42mmZach Blass
Girard-Perregaux was established in 1856 in the watchmaking town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, thanks to the marriage of Constant Girard and Marie Perregaux. The workshops origins were actually as early as 1791, but were not acquired by Girard-Perregaux completely until 1906. Though its history and heritage is in line with brands such as Patek Philippe (1839), Vacheron Constantin (1755), and Audemars Piguet (1875), Girard-Perregaux has not necessarily achieved the same brand power as the holy trinity mentioned prior. That being said, the brand has always made great watches both aesthetically and horologically — and the new Laureato Infinity Editions are a powerful case that the brand deserves a seat at the top table.
A year before the introduction of the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and three years after the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Girard-Perregaux was one of the first to offer a sporty elegant model equipped with an octagonal bezel and an integrated steel bracelet in 1975. The design of the Laureato stands out in this category with contrasting lines and curves through a blend of polished and satin-brushed surfaces. Girard-Perregaux’s goal was to create a ‘sporty-chic’ watch, complementing both casual/sporting and formal attire. It is an extremely versatile watch in function, form and fashion.
Both versions are housed in stainless steel cases. The 38mm version differs from the 42mm version through its bezel adorned with 56 brilliant cut diamonds (totalling ~0.90 ct.). The 42mm version has a circular satin brush around the top of the octagonal bezel, with its thin sides mirror polished. The base of the bezel mount is also mirror polished, and beneath that circular step of metal, the satin brush returns. The case bands are satin brushed, but the flanks are hairline mirror polished, giving a nice shine to the edges. This layering is extremely pleasing to the eye, and is an organised symphony of finishes that plays really well under the light.
The black onyx dial has great depth, like staring into the abyss of space. While colourful dials are fun and playful, the rich deep black of the Infinity will pair well with any wardrobe. It provides a superb backdrop to the rhodium-plated and baton-shaped hour and minute hands. The central seconds hand, applied indexes, and GP logo, however, are all fashioned in pink gold. If I am being totally honest, I initially thought that the two-tone hands would really irk the horophile in me. But as I look at the watch, I am convinced — it actually provides great subtle contrast for increased legibility. It somehow just works and makes for a unique configuration.
The date wheel was meticulously considered in the overall design and aesthetic of the watch, perfectly matching the hue of the dial with white numerals set against a black disc. The date window complication can be a source of frustration for those in the hobby when present, and a dealbreaker to the mainstream marketplace when it is not. The execution here will definitely please both camps of consumers as it is highly visible without being a severe interruption to the beautiful black onyx dial.
The bracelet continues the theme of contrasting satin and mirror finishes. The hairline mirror polish found on the case flanks extends perfectly into the bracelet, creating a fluid tapering line from the case to the clasp. The centre oval-shaped links are also mirror polished, with the outer top and entire side profile rendered in a crisp satin brush.
The 42mm version is powered by the in-house manufacture caliber GP01800-1404. It is an automatic movement, nicely embellished with straight lines of Côtes de Genève that contrasts with the circular lines found on its pink gold oscillating weight. It ticks aways at a sporting 28,800 vph (4Hz), and is made up of 191 components with 28 jewels. It has a good amount of power reserve, with approximately 54 hours before the watch will need to be wound again.
The 38mm version is powered by the in-house manufacture caliber GP03300-1409. Like the above, it is an automatic movement with pink gold oscillating weight embellished in a similar fashion. It ticks away at 28,800 vph (4Hz), like the movement in the 42mm edition, but actually has more components — totalling 203. The movement has 27 jewels and a little less power reserve, at an approximate minimum of 46 hours. The Laureato Infinity Editions will be sold exclusively across select Wempe points of sale in Germany as well as its New York and London flagship stores for a limited period, marking an exclusive agreement between both companies.