August 17, 2020
by Ariel Adams
The watch that got me interested in Girard-Perregaux was a previous generation ww.tc. Standing for “world wide time control,” the ww.tc was a high-end traveler’s watch with classic personality and a well-made mechanism. It was very much designed for the gentleman on the go. Flash forward to today, and that same man on the go isn’t necessarily wearing the same clothing. That suit and tie with a leather briefcase may be replaced with an athleisure wardrobe, high-tech electronic gear, and minimalist soldier-inspired luggage. If that same type of person is going to enjoy a ww.tc watch today, it will probably look different from a Girard-Perregaux meant to be more in style yesterday.
This is where not only the larger Laureato Absolute timepiece collection comes in, but more specifically what I believe the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute WW.TC (now uppercase) is trying to be an answer to. This is meant to a prestigious Swiss Made mechanical traveler’s watch, but for the jet-setter of our modern era.
Girard-Perregaux begins with the still-fresh Laureato Absolute collection. An analogy that might help explain what the Absolute (not Vodka) is: The Laureato Absolute is to the Laureato what the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore is to the standard Royal Oak. That means the Laureato Absolute has the same style of octagonal bezel as the Laureato Absolute, but with a thicker, beefier case, and with its own style of integrated strap. The Laureato Absolute in this form is 44mm-wide and quite comfortable on the wrist, as I praise Girard-Perregaux once again for getting the ergonomics right. The watch is also relatively lightweight, being black PVD-coated titanium.
The case is water-resistant to 300 meters and is topped with an ever-so slightly domed sapphire crystal. There is a welcome low level of dial glare, which I find is common in GP watches as they typically get things like the sapphire glass correct on their products. The caseback of the watch is, however, a bit on the uninspired side. I believe a view of the movement would have been welcome, and the existing “Laureato Absolute” logo looks like something from a Marvel Comics movie.
A sort of odd thing about the Laureato Absolute, especially Laureato Absolute WW.TC version is that the dial itself is appreciably narrower than the overall diameter of the watch. This is perhaps further emphasized on the WW.TC because so much of the dial is taken up by the inner rotating bezel that serves as the reference city ring. That means that the effective dial to read the time is only roughly 55% the size of the entire top side of the case — this is as compared with most watches that I would estimate have bezels that take up from about 5-15% of the surface area of the case. That said, world time watches of this ilk have always needed to have designs where the actual effective dial is rather narrow, due to how the city rings must necessarily be designed.
The watch dial itself is actually quite pretty, being done in a metallic blue with sunken-cut hour markers that add depth and play with the light nicely. Above them are lume-painted markers. Legibility is OK, but could have been improved if the base hands themselves had been a lighter color. If there ever was a sort of minimalist world timer dial, then this is it. Girard-Perrgaux favors symmetry and simplicity over complication, cramming in the Laureato Absolute WW.TC. That means the dial has just the time with second and the world time 24-hour ring. The watch also features a single crown with no pushers. To adjust the city ring, you must unscrew the crown to the first position, and move the crown the opposite way you would if you were manually winding the automatic movement.
World time complications can be tricky to understand if you aren’t used to them, but in reality, they are simple. Once the time and ring have been properly set, all the user needs to do in order to read the time in any of the 24 major time zones is to look at the number next to the reference city name. If I am in Los Angeles at 12pm and I want to know the time in New York, I would simply look over to the city ring, move my eyes over from Los Angeles (placed at the top position as you set the watch to the time zone you are in) to New York. Then you look to where New York aligns with the 24-hour ring, and see that it says 15, implying that it is 3pm in New York. This system was developed over 100 years ago and is still useful today not only because of the informational utility but also because of how it helps visualize the differences in time zones around the world.
Powering the Laureato Absolute WW.TC watch is the in-house-made Girard-Perregaux caliber GP03300-1056. The automatic movement is finely decorated (not that you can see it) and operates at 4Hz with 46 hours of power reserve. The fitted black rubber strap is of high quality and has both nice texturing and a pleasant design. It comes on a fold-under deployant buckle. Nothing wrong with the strap and buckle, but also nothing original or standout about them, either.
To some people the Laureato Absolute WW.TC will be Girard-Perregaux’s “black beauty” of the year because it is an uncommon complication to find in a sports-style luxury watch. In a lot of ways the Laureato Absolute WW.TC is quite unique. At the same time, it isn’t an immediate answer to what most consumers are asking for, especially when compared to models such as the more mainstream-appeal Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph. This means Girard-Perregaux will have to wait for the right kind of people to approach them for whom the Laureato Absolute WW.TC an ideal watch. And I think that there will be more than a few regular travelers who want to wear expensive yet youthful watches in these deep blue and black tones. Price for the reference 81065-21-491-FH6A Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute WW.TC is $13,300 USD. See more at the Girard-Perregaux website here.
>Model: 81065-21-491-FH6A Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute WW.TC
>Price: $13,300 USD
>Size: 44mm-wide, ~14mm-thick, and 54mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As slick-looking and refined modern-looking travel watch from a prestigious Swiss brand.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone young at heart and also of means; someone who frequently wants to know what time it is in other time zones.
>Best characteristic of watch: Laureato Absolute case is lightweight, solidly made, and really comfortable. This type of complication is needed in more sports watches. Minimalist style grows on you.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Dial appears quite small in the context of the overall diameter of the case. Caseback doesn’t feel that luxurious. Frame of hands could contrast more. Is a niche-appeal product.