For Geneva Watch Days, Girard-Perregaux just dropped what might be my favorite watch of theirs in recent memory. Done in collaboration with Wempe, GP released a series of three “Infiinty” series watches, but the one I’m taken with is the classic steel Laureato 42mm (there’s a 38mm with diamond bezel, as well). Limited to 188 pieces, the Laureato Infinity features a series of design choices that both bolsters and shows a fresh side of the collection.
The Laureato was reintroduced back in 2016 as a limited edition run, with the standard production collection arriving a year later. I’ve found the Laureato to be a real sleeper gem in the luxury sports watch category, but I have a feeling these 188 Infinity pieces will be scooped up pretty quickly because that Onyx dial is just killer even with the couple extra thousand premium over the standard model.
The black onyx dial with pink gold indices creates something that can’t be faked: mood. I look at it and see the dial the modern Laureato should have always had, and not only because it distinguishes itself from Nautilus/Royal Oaks of the world. There’s a beauty to the dial’s stark simplicity, like a deep black mirror, matched with the stylized octagonal bezel and case. To my sensibilities, it’s just right. I can’t say that I’m too familiar with how onyx is worked and treated, but I do know that it’s not the easiest material to work with, which is believable when you consider how rarely it is actually used in watchmaking. In fact, the whole Infinity series is distinctive simply by its use of the material. On working with onyx, Girard-Perregaux says “The black onyx used for the dial draws on the expertise of time-served craftspeople who shape and polish the material by hand. Creating thin dials from onyx requires no fewer than 15 different operations…”
The date window appears to almost be absorbed into the smooth, lustrous dial. The appeal isn’t simply the novelty of the onyx, because it’s actually quite subtle but actively contributes to and enhances all the aspects of a great dial.
I was initially reticent about the two-tone dial, with the rhodium-plated hour and minute hands and pink-gold seconds hand and applied indices. Now, I appreciate it as an offbeat design choice that I have gradually grown fond of. In fact, imagining everything on the dial in pink gold would make it appear random and arbitrary. Rather, the hour and minute hands echo the steel case (and dial text, helping create cohesion.
Other than some text on the case back, the case, integrated bracelet, and movement are all identical to the standard Laureato. I think that’s a wise move, actually, though some subtle onyx design touch or embellishment on the movement could have helped elevate the overall piece.
I have to admit that I was briefly excited when I saw the first images of the Laureato Infinity, as it had the balance bridge logo as opposed to the “1791”, perhaps hoping it was a nod to a movement with a balance bridge. That’s obviously not the case, though the GP1800 is a well-regarded veteran. Featuring a pink-gold rotor, it operates at 28,800 vph and has a 54-hour power reserve. The slim 3.97mm height of the GP1800 allows for the Laureato to have a slim 10.7mm case thickness.
The octagonal bezel, handsomely finished 100M water-resistant case, and fantastically made integrated bracelet make for an excellent foundation for the Infinity series design. It’s certainly my favorite of the three models that Girard-Perregaux released. Limited to 188 pieces, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Infinity 42mm is priced at $13,200. You can learn more at girard-perregaux.com.