Last year, Girard-Perregaux released a sportier take on its longstanding Laureato lineup in the form of the Absolute collection. This year, the brand upped the ante by featuring its cutting-edge case material called carbon glass. After all, titanium is so 2019. With the introduction of the Laureato Absolute Crystal Rock, Girard-Perregaux has managed to simultaneously devise one of the most machismo-laden model names of all time while effectively engineering the most futuristic Laureato thus far.

Despite drawing comparisons to other iconic models, such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Phillipe Nautilus, the Laureato is no more derivative than the multitudes of classic 1970’s sports watches that found commonality in their unique case shapes and heavily tapered bracelets. With ancestry dating back to the inaugural release of the Laureato in 1975, the model line has seen many changes over the years. Despite these small variations, the design language has remained consistent throughout, always maintaining a similar silhouette with the inclusion of the integrated bracelet or strap that appears to be a smooth extension of the case.

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As previously mentioned, the new Absolute Crystal Rock is comprised of carbon glass. This purportedly robust and durable material is not a combination of crystal or rock, as the name implies, but rather an amalgamation of carbon fiber and fiberglass that has been subjected to extreme heat and pressure. This process results in an extremely lightweight (94 grams, in the case of the Crystal Rock) material that can then be milled into any desired shape. In terms of outward appearance, carbon glass looks something like a cross between obsidian and a macro shot of a snowflake. The forced fusion of the two manifests as random stratification throughout the case. This effectively ensures that each of the 100 limited Laureato Absolute Crystal Rocks will differ visually; each example possesses a singularly remarkable pattern entirely its own.

Like last year’s flagship Laureato Absolute, the Crystal Rock measures 44mm in diameter and features the self-winding Calibre GP03300 movement with a power reserve of 46 hours. The black and gray sandwich dial matches the colors of the unique case perfectly, while the cutout indices provide a visually appealing dimensionality behind the sapphire crystal. The Crystal Rock features an integrated grey rubber strap, complete with a micro-adjustable buckle meant to mimic the effect of the carbon glass case. It is worth noting that, while both the original titanium Laureato Absolute and this Carbon cousin are marketed as “sports chronographs,” the water resistance has been bumped down from the previous 300 meters to a mere 50 meters. Though still plenty aquatic for the average chronograph, this is a stark contrast to the submarine-like capabilities of the predecessor.

At the end of the day, it is fair to say that the Girard-Perregaux Absolute Crystal Rock chronograph looks like little else on the market. It is always exciting to see new materials employed in the context of horology, and although the use of carbon glass seems to present some limitations that differ from titanium, there is no denying that it makes for an alluring aesthetic that is rarely replicated. Backed by Girard-Perregaux’s two-hundred years of watchmaking experience, this release is bound to live up to its name and provide rock-solid performance.

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The Laureato Absolute Crystal Rock is limited to 100 pieces and priced at $16,900 USD — available worldwide in all authorized Girard-Perregaux retailers from October 2020. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.

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