Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph 8Tech
La Chaux-de-Fonds, 29th August, 2023 ‒ Since unveiling the ultra-modern Laureato Absolute collection in 2019, Girard-Perregaux has continuously explored cutting-edge materials. The new Laureato Absolute 8Tech, the latest addition to the Laureato Absolute collection, draws on the Manufacture’s amassed knowledge. Using 8Tech, a groundbreaking technique, the case is formed of octagonal carbon parts, creating a random structural pattern. Once again, the Laureato Absolute showcases Girard-Perregaux’s ability to optimise avant-garde materials to breathtaking effect.
When the inaugural Laureato was released in 1975, it cleverly tapped into the horological zeitgeist of the 70s. The advent of quartz movements caused many individuals to question the relevance of mechanical watches when battery-powered watches proffered such incredible precision. Moreover, the watch-buying public appreciated the styling of sports models featuring integrated bracelets that looked equally at ease with jeans as well as cocktail attire.
Girard-Perregaux, a Manufacture known for its inventive spirit, was at the forefront of quartz technology. Indeed, the frequency of 32,768 Hz was set by the company and was subsequently adopted as the universal standard for quartz watches. Ultimately, the mechanical watch enjoyed a renaissance and is now highly prized by legions of watch aficionados. The Laureato is the first watch with an integrated bracelet to bear an in-house design and movement since day one.
A masterful play
The styling of the Laureato masterfully unites differently shaped components. From the outset, the model was designed in-house. It features an octagonal bezel, positioned above a circular plinth, which in turn rests upon an angular tonneau-shaped case. While these different forms are juxtaposed, they coalesce harmoniously.
High performance materials
In 2019, the Maison released a new expression of the 1975 classic, the Laureato Absolute. Sharing the same genetic codes as the Laureato, the Laureato Absolute collection embraces avant-garde design, bestowing each reference with an overtly sporty appearance.
Since the advent of the Laureato Absolute, Girard-Perregaux has repeatedly employed a variety of groundbreaking materials, including metallised sapphire crystal, carbon glass and rubber alloy. Now, the Maison perpetuates this philosophy with a new model, the Laureato Absolute 8Tech, a watch housed in a carbon/titanium composite made using an innovative and unique process.
Courtesy of its high-tech housing, the 44mm Laureato Absolute 8Tech delivers much wrist presence while remaining incredibly light. The featherlight mass confers excellent wearer comfort, a characteristic which makes it ideal for daily wear.
The case material is composed of unidirectional, non-braided and pre-impregnated carbon fibres, combined with lightweight titanium powder to form extremely thin layers, measuring just 0.05 mm in thickness. These layers are superimposed upon one another, each orientated differently to form ‘stacks’ which are then cut into octagons, an industry first.
The octagonal shapes are placed in a mould and subjected to heat and extreme pressure. Thereafter, the case components, including the bezel, are milled from the material and then subsequently refined by hand. This one-of-a-kind technique endows the case with a shimmering appearance.
While Girard-Perregaux could have created circular shapes, the octagonal form is close to the heart of the Maison, it’s a shape that has become a brand signature since the release of the inaugural Laureato in 1975. In addition, the octagonal shape, featuring eight sides, is a symbol of luck for billions of people.
Five times lighter than steel but with comparable strength and rigidity, the high-tech case material provides a compelling case for selection. Interestingly, it has a wavy appearance, reminiscent of Damascus steel.
A sandwich-type construction method is used for the dial. The upper surface is sandblasted and presented in a gradient grey finish, echoing the tones of the case and bezel. The lower layer is formed of Grade 5 titanium, partially revealed via a series of apertures in the upper surface. These arrow-tipped openings serve as indexes, while rectangular markings positioned adjacent incorporate luminescent treatment, delivering a white emission in restricted light.
The dial incorporates three sandblasted counters along with a date display positioned between 4 and 5 o’clock. Baton-type hour and minute hands, presented in a grey titanium hue, are lined with luminescent material (white emission). The fine central chronograph seconds hand, used in conjunction with the crisp minute track, presents elapsed seconds in an intelligible form. The dial composition plays with textures, colours and depths to provide peerless readability and a handsome, neoteric appearance.
but infused with traditional craftsmanship
The Laureato Absolute 8Tech is endowed with a Manufacture movement, the self-winding Calibre GP03300-1058. A smoked sapphire crystal positioned to the rear of the watch subscribes to the same monochromatic tones employed elsewhere on the case and bezel. The movement comprises 419 components and features exemplary finishing, including Côtes de Genève, chamfering and straight graining, perpetuating the traditional skills practised by Girard-Perregaux since 1791.
The Laureato 8Tech is presented on a black rubber strap featuring a fabric-effect look and incorporating grey stitching. Upholding Laureato tradition, the strap is integrated within the case, a characteristic that confers superb wearer comfort. The strap is paired with a folding titanium buckle with black PVD treatment that also incorporates a micro adjustment system, allowing the wearer to fine tune the sizing of the strap, granting the optimal wrist fit.
Founded in 1791, Girard-Perregaux is one of the oldest fine watchmaking manufactures still in operation and is appreciated by those in the know. Indeed, the firm’s history is dotted with exceptional creations that skillfu- lly blend aesthetics and functionality. These models include the iconic Laureato, born in 1975, as well as the legendary Tourbillon ‘With Three Gold Bridges,’ a watch that made the invisible visible, transforming bridges from just a technical element to an integral part of the timepiece - a first in watchmaking. Girard-Perregaux’s place at the vanguard of horological innovation is confirmed by over one hundred recorded patents together with numerous prizes and distinctions.
It remains one of the few watchmakers to retain Manufacture status for over two cen- turies by mastering all the required horolo- gical skills in-house and making watches in- fused with a notable degree of authenticity. While Girard-Perregaux respects its heritage, it continues to look ahead, embracing new technologies, state of the art materials, and fresh takes on iconic shapes.As of 2022, Girard-Perregaux and sister Maison Ulysse Nardin have formed an independent collective of high horology Manu- factures.