1791 was an eventful year in world history. The United States ratified the Bill of Rights, the French Revolution raged on, Haiti began its fight for independence, and famed classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart passed away of illness at his home in Vienna at only 35 years old. While the world underwent dramatic changes that would help to shape the modern era, 1791 also brought two other events that would go on to shape the future of watchmaking. The first was the discovery of titanium by English clergyman William Gregor, and the second was the founding of Girard-Perregaux. As Girard-Perregaux celebrates its 230th anniversary in 2021, the brand also turns its attention on the light and durable metal with a special pair of designs in its cornerstone Laureato series. The new limited edition Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Ti 230 gives the brand’s refined integrated bracelet sports design a bold and purposeful new look that showcases the versatility and beauty of titanium.
With a 44mm diameter and a sizeable thickness of 14.65mm, the Grade 5 titanium case of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Ti 230 should carry a serious wrist presence. The Laureato Absolute Ti 230’s sense of bold solidity is reinforced by the deeper shade of its case material in images, with the brand using the complex blend of sharply faceted angles to showcase its finishing prowess. Most of the integrated design uses a classic matte blasted titanium look, but Girard-Perregaux complements this tough and even finish with difficult-to-achieve mirror polishing. The chamfer surrounding the octagonal top layer of the signature Laureato multi-level bezel adds a subtle bit of flash this way. While this naturally draws the viewer’s eye towards the dial, the broad beveled angle running from integrated lug to lug atop the case sides provides both a bolder visual highlight and a curvaceous quality to a design that might otherwise feel too blocky. The crown adds a pop of dial-matching color to the equation in either blue or black, courtesy of a coin edged rubber grip ring that should keep the octagonal titanium form easy to operate. Interestingly, Girard-Perregaux opts for a solid caseback for the Laureato Absolute Ti 230, resisting the temptation to display its usually impressive movement finishing. With or without a display caseback, however, the watch lives up to the sporty and durable reputation of titanium with a robust 300 meters of water resistance.
Girard-Perregaux offers the Laureato Absolute Ti 230 with a pair of grainy matte degradé dial options. The nuanced smoky effect is consistent across both variants, with a smooth moderate gradient that avoids the histrionics of fading to a pure black or white. Like other members of the Laureato Absolute family, the Laureato Absolute Ti 230 uses a sandwich-style dial with pointed cutout indices that reveal a brightly polished lower dial layer for miles of visual depth in images. The straight sword hands with their mix of brushed and polished surfaces are likewise a staple of the Laureato Absolute line, but from here both dial variants forge their own character. The gray dial model is the cleaner and more reserved of the pair, with a texture and gradient pattern that gently transitions from ash gray to a deeper granite tone in a way that calls to mind worn asphalt in images. The use of brushing for the steep outer chapter ring should add a handsomely contrasting highlight on the wrist, without conflicting visually with the brighter polished sandwich indices. To maintain the monochrome look, the dial text and seconds hand share the same muted white color. The blue dial variant is undoubtedly the bolder of the two, simultaneously sporting brighter highlights and deeper shadows in images. The main dial color here is a rich oceanic blue with a touch of green, darkening to navy at the edge. Against this deeper and more colorful backdrop, the optic white dial text provides a striking contrast in images, while Girard-Perregaux deepens the marine theme with a seconds hand in cool battleship gray. Both versions use dial-matching date wheels for the 6 o’clock date window, minimizing the overall impact on visual balance and symmetry.
Girard-Perregaux powers the Laureato Absolute Ti 230 with its in-house GP03300-1060 automatic movement. Performance for this 218-piece powerplant is solid if unspectacular, with a power reserve of 46 hours at a 28,800 bph beat rate. The brand pairs the watch with a sculpted integrated strap in its proprietary Rubber Alloy material with a titanium deployant clasp. While Girard-Perregaux gives few details about the specifics of making the material, according to the brand this particular use of Rubber Alloy combines FKM rubber with an injection of titanium to fit the metallic theme. The strap itself flows handsomely into the integrated case design in images, continuing the tapering line of the case side chamfer and introducing an added sense of texture with a fabric effect central insert.
Tasked with commemorating both the 230th anniversary of Girard-Perregaux and titanium’s discovery, the limited edition Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Ti 230 delivers a charismatic and nuanced take on the brand’s more aggressive integrated design that smartly highlights both the strength and style of the case material. Only 230 examples of each dial color will be made, for a total edition size of 460 watches. Although the gray dial version is available now through all authorized dealers, the blue dial model will remain exclusive to Wempe boutiques in Germany, New York, and London before becoming available through all Girard-Perregaux dealers in September 2021. Both variants of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Ti 230 carry an MSRP of $9,300. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.