Introducing the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Gold Fever

A modern take on a luxury sports watch, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Gold Fever is a design full of dynamic tension.

Who would have thought that the seminal sports watch designs of the 1970s would create such a seismic uproar a full half century later? But what is irrefutable is that watches like the Royal Oak created in 1972, the Nautilus created in 1976 — both designed by Gérald Genta — and now the reference 222, genetic forefather of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas, launched in 1977 and designed by Jörg Hysek, have become the most sought-after timepieces of today.

The first two watches are each selling at a 100-thousand-dollar premium, such is the craze around them, and for the first time ever, the Overseas is out of stock and trading at a premium on the secondary market. This has compelled savvy collectors to search elsewhere for their integrated bracelet sports chic watch, pushing watches like Moser’s Streamliner, Czapek’s Antarctique and even Laurent Ferrier’s Grand Sport — if only it came without a tourbillon — directly into the crosshairs of the smartest watch snipers. A case in point was my friend Robert-Jan Broer’s collaboration with Czapek, which resulted in him selling 50 Fratello special edition Antarctique Passage de Drake watches in 39 minutes. His story behind this was one of the most amusing anecdotes of recent memory. He said, “I was so nervous about the launch I couldn’t sleep all night. Then in the morning, we launched the watch, and I saw a few pieces transact. I couldn’t help it and crashed. I fell asleep. When I woke 30 minutes later, I rushed to the computer, and I saw that all the pieces had sold.” So it seems that shaped bezels and integrated bracelets, born in the era of where luxury and sports first merged, are hotter than ever.

But there is one watch that has as much authenticity as the entrenched Royal Oak, Nautilus and Vacheron 222. It was born at the same time, was a success in its era and, to me, has immense potential to return as an icon. That is the Girard-Perregaux Laureato. But before we get into the history and latest evolution of this watch, let’s talk about Girard-Perregaux. Back in the day, Girard-Perregaux was the most badass watch manufacture, in particular when it came to watch accuracy. Its battleground was the observatory trials conducted in places such as Neuchâtel. Why was accuracy so important? Well, today we are basically inundated with electronic devices that feed us perfectly accurate time. But before the advent of quartz technology, humankind depended on mechanical timepieces for everything from navigating the oceans to transcontinental flight. Any deviation in accuracy could mean the difference between life and death. Girard-Perregaux made a name for itself as the first brand to submit a fast-beating movement called the caliber 32A to the Bureaux Officiels de Contrôle de la Marche des Montres, predecessor of the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres or COSC. Watches with this movement were subsequently submitted for testing and certification as “Observatory Chronometers.” But at the same time, Girard-Perregaux was not blind to the revolution represented by quartz technology. In 1975, it introduced its in-house quartz movement, the caliber 705, with an oscillation speed of 32,768Hz. The home for this movement was an incredible, futuristic, slim integrated bracelet sports watch with an octagonal bezel named the Laureato.


    November 2021


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