Sometimes watches just have to grow on you. For ages, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato just couldn’t make my heart beat faster. That was until the brand released the Laureato Infinity Edition in 2020. It was then that all the pieces of the puzzle finally fell perfectly into place. What seemed like a relatively simple dial change made all the difference, and it has made me appreciate the entire Laureato line a lot more as well. With the introduction of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Pink Gold & Onyx, I am once again reminded of the brilliance of the black onyx dial. In combination with the 18K rose gold case and bracelet, it makes for an absolute stunner of a watch.

Within the realm of luxury watches, provenance is an important factor. In the field of modern sports watches especially, it plays an enormous part. If brands ever take their shot at an integrated-bracelet sports watch, it immediately conjures the ghost of Gérald Genta. But one of the first models to follow the legendary Royal Oak was the Laureato from Girard-Perregaux. The watch was first introduced in 1975, even before Genta’s Nautilus and Ingenieur were released. The design featured a slim overall design, a case with a raised octagonal bezel, and an integrated bracelet. Over time, the Laureato has become a classic that shares the legacy of iconic modern sports watches.

The current Laureato collection

But is it a classic that I particularly like? Well, let’s just say that it’s not my favorite. Looking back at it, it is very much defined by its time. Now, that’s not necessarily a problem. In my opinion, though, some of the other similar designs from that era have withstood the test of time a bit better — the Vacheron Constantin 222 and the Rolex Oysterquartz, for example. This is why I am glad that Girard-Perregaux introduced a revamped Laureato in 2016. It was clearly inspired by the classic from the 1970s, but it came with a modern design and execution.

It started off with a number of limited editions before the 42mm Laureato became a permanent member of the collection in 2017. When it debuted, I was on the fence about it. The brand had used all the elements from the past Laureato to come up with the new model. Unfortunately, it still felt less powerful and less captivating than the Royal Oak, Nautilus, and even the Vacheron Constantin Overseas 4500V that also came out in 2016. Despite its legendary status, the great in-house caliber 3300, and top-notch materials, the new Laureato never really won me over.

A simple change in dial design

A big part for me was the dial design. The hobnail pattern is very much part of the Laureato’s history, but it reminds me too much of the Royal Oak. In addition, the branding and model name on the dial look like plaques on top of the pattern rather than integrated with it.  And then there is the typography that I’m not a big fan of. So, all in all, there are quite a few elements that kept me from loving the watch. As I said, though, I did and still do appreciate the story of the Laureato and its place in the historic context of this very popular category of watches. Over time, I got used to seeing the modern Laureato and came to grips with its design. As mentioned previously, it never set my heart on fire, but my respect for it grew nonetheless.

That all changed when the brand introduced the Laureato Infinity Edition, initially created for Wempe in 2020. One quick glance was enough to completely win me over. Here, we have a Laureato with a unique black onyx dial that solves most of the issues that I have with the regular dial. The black onyx creates a unique, very chic overall feel with the printed text perfectly integrated. The combination with the pink gold applied hour markers and seconds hand and the steel hour and minute hands makes for a great look. Add the stainless steel case and bracelet and the great in-house movement, and this is a winner of a design. Especially considering its €14,000 price at the time, it was the best option out there in terms of modern luxury sports watches. Even at its current price of €15,300, it still is a simply wonderful watch.

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Pink Gold & Onyx

That brings us to the new Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Pink Gold & Onyx. Essentially, it is the same watch as the Infinity Edition, but this time, it has been executed in pink gold. And as you can guess, my enthusiasm for this one is massive! Let’s start with some basics. The watch features the familiar 42mm case that is 10.68mm thick and 50m water-resistant. It also has the same integrated bracelet as the models that came before it, with brushed outer links, polished center links, and a pink gold dual-deployant, push-button clasp. The mix of a mostly brushed finish with polished accents creates a spectacular overall look for both the case and the bracelet.

The glossy black onyx dial with its pink gold applied hour markers, GP logo, and a pink gold-plated handset gives it a stellar presence. The dial is further graced with a date window at 3 o’clock, executed in black with white printing to match the white text on the dial. The text is a detail that I love because it feels so much more integrated than on the normal Laureato models. Furthermore, I feel that the combination of colors lends itself marvelously to the glossy onyx dial. And this dial is one that’s incredibly hard to create. The brand states that it requires 15 different operations to make one of these mirror-polished beauties. I’m so glad that Girard-Perregaux put in the effort, though, because it completely changed my opinion of the modern Laureato.

The in-house GP01800 movement

The watch is powered by the automatic in-house caliber GP01800, which is visible through the sapphire case back. As you can see, the movement features a pink gold oscillating weight that’s in line with the rest of the model’s gold aesthetic. It is decorated with circular Côtes de Genève for a nice, refined look. The slim movement is a joy to see with perlage on the base plate and vertical Côtes de Genève on the bridges. The movement consists of 191 parts, operates at 28,800vph, and delivers 54 hours of power reserve.

The case back features the brand name, water resistance, model reference, and unique watch number. I will say that I’m still not a huge fan of the particular font that the brand uses. I find it a bit too playful for my taste. But, then again, it is very recognizable as Girard-Perregaux, and that is definitely worth something. As my feelings for the Laureato have changed, the typography has also become less of an issue. As I said before, sometimes a watch just has to grow on you.

My impressions of the Laureato 42mm Pink Gold & Onyx

By now, you have probably picked up that I love this new Laureato 42mm Pink Gold & Onyx. I think it’s a smart next step for Girard-Perregaux considering how well received the Laureato Infinity Edition was. That stainless steel model with its black onyx dial is still a great pick for a stainless steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet. This new pink gold edition, however, adds even more exclusivity and class to its overall looks. As you can imagine, however, that comes at a price. This new pink gold model will be available starting in September for €54,500 on the integrated bracelet. You could also opt for a black alligator strap with a dual-deployant clasp, but honestly, why you would consider that?

This is not an affordable watch. Obviously, €54K is a lot of money. But what you get in return looks stunning, is executed brilliantly, and takes a step away from all the hyped-up models that we see so often these days. Additionally, it comes with that wonderful story of being one of the first watches to shape this genre of sports watches. I have to say that I have grown to love the story of the Laureato often being overlooked in terms of popularity. If the brand keeps coming up with these spectacular releases, however, it will become virtually impossible to ignore Laureato any longer.