The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light & Shade is a luxury watch that embodies the brand’s commitment to combining contrasting elements to create a unique and visually striking design. The watch is housed in a metalized sapphire crystal case that is 44mm in diameter, making it a statement piece on the wrist. The sapphire crystal case is an impressive technical feat, as it is both transparent and reflective, giving it a light and dark appearance. The watch is also lightweight, weighing only 85 grams.
Creating a sapphire crystal case requires a complex process known as the Kyropoulos growth method. This method transforms alumina powder into a solid block of sapphire crystal, which takes up to 8 weeks. Once the block is created, it is cut into small discs, and then skilfully machined to form the bezel, case middle, and caseback. These parts are then thermally treated and polished, and only the ones that meet the specifications and have no inclusion are selected. Finally, the sapphire crystal components are subjected to a metallization treatment which gives it a smoked appearance. The process of creating a sapphire crystal case takes about 170 hours of work.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light & Shade also features an in-house movement, the Calibre GP01800-1143, which is skeletonized to reveal the inner workings of the watch and has a variable inertia balance for greater stability and shock resistance. The mainplate of the movement is octagonal-shaped, a nod to Laureato’s famous bezel. The openworked movement allows for a fascinating view of the curves and lines of the movement, and the pockets of light and shade created by the skeletonization. The barrel is also openworked, allowing for a view of the mainspring in various degrees of tension, and the balance wheel can be seen oscillating to and fro in a mesmerizing dance. The gold oscillating weight is also openworked, inviting the wearer to admire the bridges below. The movement also boasts of refined finishing, with NAC-treated bridges and mainplate incorporating sandblasting, traits-tirés, circular satin finishing, and bevelling, with no less than 55 hand-polished inner angles.
The watch also features powerful and elegant, openworked hour and minute hands for excellent readability. The watch has a three-dimensional ring that sits between the bezel and the movement. There is a GP logo at 12 o’clock, along with 11 indexes. The construction method is unique, so there is no conventional casing ring. The case and the movement are assembled on a single axis, from the caseback to the bezel, by very specific screws. The screws require micron-level precision to hold different components together, so they must be made with care. The watch has two black PVD-treated titanium lugs that are integrated into the case and a black rubber strap with a titanium folding clasp.
The new Laureato Absolute Light & Shade is limited to 18 pieces and is being presented worldwide to mark the Chinese New Year. The watch is a perfect blend of aesthetics and functionality and showcases Girard-Perregaux’s commitment to creating watches that are not just timekeepers but also works of art.
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