First of all, let’s review our knowledge for watchmaking history. In 1972, Audemars Piguet introduced one of the most successful stainless steel luxury sports watches ever; Royal Oak Jumbo. The sales figures of Jumbo was so great that it practically saved AP from bankruptcy. In 1976 Patek Philippe introduced the Nautilus model, which was also in the same category. Today, Nautilus continues to maintain its legendary status in the league of stainless steel luxury sports watches with very little visual changes for the past 40 years.
To get back to the Laureato; In 1975, Girard-Perregaux introduced the first Laureato model equipped with a Quartz movement. With its octagonal bezel, integrated case and bracelet design and micro-embossed dial, the model’s similarity with the Royal Oak was obvious. Girard-Perregaux, which underwent radical changes in 1984, designed different versions of the Laureato model updated with the "H" shaped metal bracelet. In 1995, the model, which was equipped with an automatic movement for the first time, got updated once more. But hey, what the...? Royal Oak Jumbo inspired bezel had now been accompanied by a Nautilus inspired metal bracelet!
Fast forward to 2016... The iconic model family of the brand got its up to date design with the final revision. In short, Laureato, which took the bezel of Jumbo that has been issued before itself, saw no harm in giving up on its unique bracelet design for a new one inspired by Nautilus that has been introduced after the Laureato Collection. If such a move would have been made by mid or entry level manufacturer, we would be blaming them for copying etc. So, what’s the difference when it’s done by a brand like Girard-Perregaux? For me, nothing.
Laureato has grown considerably in size over the years. The dimensions of models with stainless steel cases are 42mm x 12.01mm for the chronograph version and 42mm x 10.88mm for the standard version. Luckily, the dimensions are different from the competitors. While the chronograph version is designed with a solid case back, the standard model has a sapphire crystal display one. Both versions are water resistant to 100 meters. Opting the "clou de paris" pattern instead of "micro-tapisserie" adds some uniqueness to the model. Screw-free bezel boosts the elegance of the design. The screw-in octagonal chronograph pushers also look familiar to me but I can’t put a name to it. The date displays are exactly where you would expect, 3 o’clock for the standard model and 4:30 for the chronograph. Girard-Perregaux, horizontally satin brushed the case and bracelet in the in the Laureauto instead of vertical. Wow, now that’s what I call originality! Bracelets are made of stainless steel, like the rest of the watches. The size of the glossy center links in the bracelet is bigger than in Nautilus’s.
Movements, luckily, are manufactured in-house. Caliber Ref. GP01800-0013, powering the standard model, has 28 jewels, beats at a frequency of 21.600vph and offers a power reserve of 54 hours when fully wound. Caliber Ref. GP03300-0138, used in the chronograph version, has 63 stones, beats at 28.800vph and offers a power reserve of 46 hours. I condemn Girard-Perregaux regretfully for opting a modular chronograph movement instead of an integrated one in order to save space but more importantly the cost.
Thank you for your patience till we get to the most important part. The list price for Girard-Perregaux Laureato Automatic is 11,600 CHF and for the chronograph model it is 15,000 CHF. So, who do these watches with those prices address to? Adventurers looking for something new after owning. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Patek Philippe Nautilus, and even Vacheron Constantin Overseas models, which are the leading models in their own category? I do not think so. Those who find the above mentioned watches expensive? Then the right address for them will be the IWC Ingenieur. To tell you the truth, I am unable to work that out.
With my sincere affection and respect to all Laureate owners whom I put a smile on their faces with this provocative article...