When someone is talking sapphire, with regards to watches, we think of that material in a few contexts – the crystal over the dial, perhaps one in the case back, and sometimes as a blank on which a dial is printed. Then you come to the outside-the-box thinkers at Girard-Perregaux, and you get a watch with the case made from sapphire. If that sounds interesting, you’ll want to check out the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light & Shade / Light & Fire.

Now, yes, this is not the first watch to ever feature a sapphire case. What we particularly like about what Girard-Perregaux has done here is that is they’ve taken the Laureato case, and “simply” have redone it in sapphire, rather than steel. This eschews the “hey look at me” approach that often accompanies a sapphire case, and subtly underscores the manufacturing expertise they have at their command.

Now, that is not to say that the case of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light pair is underwhelming. Quite the opposite. The Light & Shade almost presents as metallic in it’s coloring, while the Light & Fire grabs your eyes and doesn’t let go with the fiery red hue that it uses (albeit through a slightly different case material).

Both versions rely on a the GP01800-1143 automatic movement, which is itself semi-skeletonized, letting light through it from all directions (just as the case will do). While I don’t find myself drawn much to skeletonized dials/movements these days, and a sapphire case would just make me a nervous wearer, there is something about these releases that is just plain intriguing – particularly the Light & Fire.

Then again, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light & Fire will be a rare bird to see in person, as only 18 of those are planned to be made. On the other hand, there are no stated production limits on the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light & Shade. Regardless of case color, pricing comes in at $99,600 when they’re formally released in April 2023. girard-perregaux.com

Tech Specs from Girard-Perregaux

    • CASE
      • Case material: sapphire or red YAG and titanium
      • Diameter: 44 mm
      • Thickness: 11.56 mm
      • Case-back: sapphire crystal
      • Dial: no dial
      • Water resistance: 30 m
    • STRAP
      • Strap material: rubber
      • Buckle: titanium PVD folding buckle
      • Number: GP01800
      • Mechanism: self-winding mechanical
      • Winding direction: clockwise
      • Total Diameter: 30 mm (13 ¼”’)
      • Height: 4.16 mm
      • Frequency: 28,000 Vib/h – (4 Hz)
      • Number of Parts: 172
      • Number of Jewels: 25
      • Oscillating weight: gold
      • Power Reserve: min. 54h
      • hours and minutes, small seconds

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Last Update: February 20, 2023