In preview of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), which will open its doors on January 14 in Geneva, the Girard-Perregaux manufactory presents in preview a new perpetual calendar reference that will enrich the emblematic Laureato collection.
The Laureato collection, which remains as successful as ever, reinterprets the great watchmaking classics while remaining faithful to its contemporary spirit and sporty chic. To tackle the masterful complication represented by the perpetual calendar, Girard-Perregaux has designed a Laureato that is all about subtle positional shifts arranged in a dynamic equilibrium. Driven by a purpose-built automatic movement, and unique in its kind, the Laureato Perpetual Calendar combines intensity of style with the pleasure of daily wear. Simple to read and easy to adjust, it is the result of an ergonomic approach to operation and wearability pushed to its uttermost limits.
Carved from a 42 mm diameter steel block, alternately polished and satin-finished with the characteristic care demonstrated by the Manufacture Girard-Perregaux, it is attached to the wrist with a bracelet of the same nature, finish and quality. Thus appearing in this unique, all-steel and asymmetrical configuration, the Laureato Perpetual Calendar asserts its status as a watch exuding a strong, architectural presence. Its blue dial adorned with a Clous de Paris hobnail pattern, against which the white indications stand out in striking contrast, sets the final touch to this resolutely modern timepiece.
Laureato was born under the finest auspices. Designed by a Milanese architect in the 1970s, it immediately established itself as an object of art, history and form, a watchmaking icon. The spirit of this creation is intact and continues to progress in the latest generation of Laureato, launched in 2016 and further enriched in 2018. Its metallic bracelet with alternating polished and satin-finish surfaces; its case featuring lugs seamlessly integrated into its design; its octagonal polished bezel inscribed in a circle: everything about this model reveals a quest for pleasing proportions and ergonomics.
This approach to watch design has given rise to an intense ‘envelope’ with its own unique style, which both protects and contains functional components. This vision is identical to that of an architect. Here, the challenge is concentrated within the few cubic centimetres of the Laureato Perpetual Calendar, which one observes and experiences close up, directly on the skin. The stakes are all the higher given the numerous indications involved in a perpetual calendar, which raises the question of their readability, their adjustment as well as their ability to fit into the daily life of the watch wearer.
At the heart of the Laureato Perpetual Calendar beats a new Fine Watchmaking movement, specifically created to equip this watch, Calibre GP01800-0033. It is entirely developed, produced, finished and assembled within the walls of the Manufacture Girard-Perregaux. In addition to the hours and minutes, it indicates the day, date, month and nature of the current year, whether leap or not. The perpetual calendar is indeed able to follow the irregular cycle that governs the length of months, whether they last 28 or 29 days in the case of February, 30 or 31 days for the other eleven months. It requires only one manual correction every 100 years.
One of the technical challenges of this complication lies in its display mode. In view of the profoundly architectural inspiration of the Laureato collection, Girard-Perregaux has equipped the Laureato Perpetual Calendar with subdials arranged in an unusual order. The days are thus shown at 9 o’clock and the pointer-type date display between 2 and 3 o’clock, while the month appears through a large window at 6 o’clock, marked by an off-centred pointer at 5 o’clock. Just above it, a smooth textured area divided into four sections reveals the nature of the current year. The balance prevailing on this dial is not determined by symmetry, but instead by a layout based on harmoniously offset indications. Through this break with conventional aesthetic order, Girard-Perregaux signals the uniqueness of Laureato and of this new movement.
Calibre GP01800-0033 is an exception to generally accepted watch industry rules. With its four indications, a perpetual calendar naturally takes a while to set when the watch has stopped and must be reset to the current date. Instead of the usual configuration, which provides each calendar indication with a separate corrector, the Laureato Perpetual Calendar uses a single pushbutton, located at 8 o’clock, which controls the day cycle. The setting of the date, month and type of year (leap or non-leap year) is directly accessible by the crown and operates in both directions, thereby ensuring exceptional user friendliness.
Calibre GP01800-0033 does not however deviate from tradition as far as its finishes are concerned. The movement’s baseplate is entirely circular-grained and decorated with Côtes de Genève executed in the Manufacture Girard-Perregaux in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The bridges and the oscillating weight, which ensures the automatic winding of the calibre, also feature a Côtes de Genève motif, as well as entirely hand-crafted bevelling. Among the many elegant and refined aspects of this innovative Haute Horlogerie movement is its finesse. At only 6 mm high, it helps confine the case to an overall thickness of 11.84 mm.
Its harmonious proportions, refined and contrasting colours, along with its ease of adjustment and reading, all contribute to the easy-wear look and feel of the Laureato Perpetual Calendar. Fully attired in steel, it is capable of adapting to every situation, whether dressy, casual or informal. This is the very nature of the sporty chic style, which simplifies the life of its wearer by its versatility. It is indeed the nature of Laureato, which draws its strength from the values of the Manufacture Girard-Perregaux, while looking resolutely to the future.