Girard-Perregaux Laureato, one of the classic players in the league of stainless steel luxury sports watch concept emerged in the early 70s, is under the spotlight with its highly acclaimed Panda dial 42mm chronograph version from the new collection that was introduced at last year’s SIHH trade show.
Our readers who will follow my articles will remember I cannot make my evaluations sufficiently objective when it comes to certain brands and models. The most obvious reason for this situation is that I have a clear sympathy for the mentioned brands and models. The first names that come to my mind about this are Cartier and Bulgari... Rolex Day Date 36mm takes the lead if I need to choose a specific model. Right after it, comes the new Girard-Perregaux Laureato Collection.
Rolex Day-Date 36mm
GP Laureato is a collection that has been debuted back in 1975 in line with the popular stainless steel luxury sports watch trend of that era. Unlike the Gerald Genta designed big four (Patek Philippe – Nautilus, Audemars Piguet – Royal Oak, IWC – Ingenieur and Vacheron Constantin – Overseas) of the same period, GP Laureato was designed by the well-known Italian designer and architect Adolfo Natalini.
Fast forward to the present time. The model family is redesigned in 2018 to be faithful to its roots and once again presented to the appreciation of the watch enthusiasts. The new Laureato Collection has a rich variety of models. The collection includes women's models, as well as men's timepieces along with a wide variety of versions from basic three-hand automatics to Tourbillon, equipped Haute de Horlogerie style masterpieces.
The model I opted for my review is the Ref. 81020-11-131-11A model with a lovely Panda style contrasting black&white dial, which belongs to the Laureato Chronograph 42mm model family. Before proceeding to the review, I would like to thank Turkey Distributor of the brand Şark Saatçilik A.Ş. for granting me the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful watch for a long time. It was a great privilege and pleasure to experience the watch not only in the boutique or in the office, but also in my daily routine.
The model comes with a 42mm stainless steel case. On the front of the case, which represents the renewed face of the Laureto Collection, is the octagonal bezel from the signature details of the model family. Although the sapphire crystal in the front face is slightly domed, it does not give the magnifier effect from the sides, which I am obviously not a fan of. In addition, the double side anti-glare coating on the crystal allows ultra-clear visibility for the dial almost in any condition.
The case, which I found both elegant and very comfortable to wear despite its remarkable weight, is also home to a couple of drawbacks. The first one of those is about the chronograph pushers. First of all, the pushers are very small in size when compared to the large, masculine designed case. In addition to that, the pushers are designed in screw-lock style, which is a nice detail, especially for the extra waterproofness. However, the hexagonal rings around the pushers are not user-friendly at all. The second issue is the winding crown, which looks more like a two-piece modular design than a single part. Besides being small like the chronograph pushers, the coin-edge style grip area is not large enough to screw/unscrew the winding crown making it another ergonomically weak point.
Let's get to the dial. The model is equipped with a silvery white dial with contrasting chronograph sub-counters, which is known as the Panda in the world of watches. In the meantime, GP's utmost care for the contrast part is excellent. Firstly, the hour/minute scale on the outside of the dial allows a very clear reading of the time. The chronograph sub-dials also offer very good legibility as well. The Super LumiNOVA phosphor-filled hour markers and hands are finished in Breguet blue tone, which also affects both color harmony and legibility positively. The background is finished in a beautiful Tapisserie motif. Both the color tone and the pattern, which suit the model perfectly, offer a successful combination that gives an exclusive feel.
Shortly, it’s hard to find a flaw in the dial. But if you insist, I’d say “Wouldn’t it be better if that date display was located at 6 o’clock hour maker with white fonts over black background disc?”
The model is powered by the manufacture Caliber GP03300-0137. 63 jewels/419 parts self-winding movement features chronograph and date functions, beats at a frequency of 4Hz (28.800vph) and offers a power reserve of 46 hours when fully wound. We cannot enjoy the movement due to the solid case back but it is adorned with Cotes de Genève decorations that go in line with GP standards.
There are two things that I would like to say about the movement; the first one is the super-silent rotations of the oscillating rotor. Considering some movements with rotors that still rotate like a roulette, I think that is an important quality criterion. Additionally, the push feel of the chronograph pushers is also soft and solid reminding that you have an exclusive timepiece.
The model I opted for review comes on a stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet has an elegant and sporty design that looks like a three-piece at first glance but actually consists of two pieces, matt and glossy. The bracelet that successfully completes the case in terms of aesthetics, offers comfortable use as well.
Another negative aspect of the model is related to this bracelet. My positive opinion on the bracelet is unfortunately not valid for the folding clasp. First, the clasp is designed in two symmetrical pieces that open up in opposite directions. Although it is a successful choice for comfort, I think it doesn’t match the sporty character of the watch. The other drawback is the GP logo on the clasp. The logo is so finely engraved on the metal as it looks more like it’s laser-etched. I think it would be a good idea to get a little inspiration from Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or at least mid-2000s IWC Ingenieur models.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph 42mm (Ref. 81020-11-131-11A) has a MSRP of CHF 15.00.00. Considering the manufacture movement in addition to the elements such as brand prestige and build quality, I believe it is a reasonable figure. So, do I prefer this model? Before I answer, I'll talk about some of the things that I find important.
The most criticized part of the model family is its design. There is a similarity with the heavy hitters of the league, Nautilus and Royal Oak, and this leads to an inexorable criticism of Laureato or a pointless ascription as “Poor Men’s Nautilus or Royal Oak”. Well, I find Laureato original enough to like it. On the other hand, it has a significant advantage over the aforementioned models; you go to the boutique, try out all the versions you want, get a reasonable discount over the MSRP, you pay the price, put it on your wrist and you’re done. Would you please try that with a stainless steel Nautilus 5711? Without crying but...
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711
There is also the second-hand value thing, which we cannot get out of our minds. First of all, I would like to say that the prices paid for luxury watches are of course important figures and, naturally, nobody wants to make the wrong financial decisions. However, turning the meaning of watch collecting hobby from a personal accessory that defines the taste, lifestyle and at some point, the world-view of an individual to a financial investment totally breaks the spell.
Now let's go back to the initial question and give the answer; No, I don't prefer this model. Well, you didn't expect that, did you? The reason for this situation is that I am not a big fan of chronographs and the drawbacks I mentioned earlier are deal breakers for me, as they cannot be compensated. On the other hand, I would like to mention that the beige dialed version (Ref. 81010-11-231-11A), which is included in the three-hand automatic Lauerato model family, is currently in the top position in my shopping list.
Girard Perregaux Laureato Automatic