On the Road with Aston Martin’s 2023 DBX & Girard-Perregaux’s Laureato Absolute Chronograph Aston Martin F1 Edition
A segment-redefining luxury crossover, a superb timepiece built for speed, a sunny day on some rural roads…What’s not to like about this Watchonista double test drive?
Let me cut to the chase with this statement: The Aston Martin DBX is not so much a crossover for well-heeled soccer parents as it is a performance vehicle for soccer stars – who maybe like to travel with a lot of balls.
And, even though it was created for the carmaker’s racing efforts, in the spirit of collaboration, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph Aston Martin F1 Edition is the perfect wrist companion to wear as you explore just how extreme a crossover can be.
On a Roll
The Aston Martin DBX, now in its fourth year of production, is bigger than photographs make it look: There is ample space for five adults, a respectably large cargo area (23 cubic feet, 54 with back seats down), and all the gate and hauling bells-and-whistles you’d expect from a luxury crossover.
Plus, Aston Martin’s signature interior luxury approach is in full effect. No matter where in the car you sit – whether you’re behind the wheel or in the back – every exposed inch of your skin will come in contact with an interior that feels thoroughly lovely.
What could possibly be so nice? A herd of tactile Bridge of Weir full-grain leather; thick, 80% wool fabric linings; Alcantara-finish details; and a range of wood and metal veneers.
But none of that takes away from the DBX’s expected driver-oriented perks (it’s an Aston Martin, after all).
At the Wheel
Just as the car rides big, it also drives big (even as an AWD-capable vehicle) with a thrumming 542hp, 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that delivers 516 lb. ft. of torque at a sober 2,000 rpm, providing a neck-snapping giddy-up right out of the gate (0 to 60mph in 4.3 seconds). Additionally, it has ample, accessible power through the entire 9-speed gear range overseen by a slick lightning-fast paddle-shift transmission.
The driver’s cockpit, while extraordinary comfortable, is a bit more dialed-in and appropriately tight than the rest of the interior spaces, delivering a strong driving position, paddle shifts that fit perfectly into the fingers, and easy, quick access to the DBX’s center console controls.
Planted behind the wheel, depending on the driving mode you select (which include GT, Sport, Sport+, a customizable Individual mode, and Terrain and Terrain+ for off-road use ), you might forget all about the vast space behind you and the high roof clearance (especially if you open up the long panoramic sunroof that is as much for the passengers as the driver) and focus on your own driving thrills.
Sports Car in Disguise?
Again, while available power is not an issue, this is still a large, heavy-ish car. The power plant is the same as that used in the Vantage V8 sports car and the DB11 grand-tourer, and the bonded aluminum construction is the same used on Aston Martin sports car. But the DBX weighs in at just under 5,000 pounds. So, it’s light for an SUV but still big.
However, squeezing out some satisfying nimbleness on the corners, straight-aways, and uphill curves presents no problem, and, while not exactly in the same category as the 00-you-know-who Aston Martin true-sport models, you’re left with an overall driving impression that defies its crossover moniker.
Still, with the recently announced DBX707, which costs $236,000, making an appearance soon, we can only predict its extra horsepower (697hp) and increased torque (663 ft. lbs. at 2,600 rpm) will underline that zeitgeist all the more boldly.
That Aston Martin Arrival Moment
From the curb, the DBX’s exterior works just as hard as the interior. The signature Aston Martin “coiled for action” curb presentation gets a crossover-shaped stage on which to show off via the fine translation work performed by Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman. The result? The DBX smashes the mold of luxury crossovers, which tend to look a little bulbous (and, frankly, nerdy).
And from the back, the DBX is muscular and hippy, with laser-cut perforations on the lower panels joining a split-stalked upper spoiler and deadly-evil rear lights to add a bit of menace. Deftly sculpted side panels lead to one of the most-perfectly-translated luxury crossover fasciae in the business. The front of the car, including inlets on the sloping hood and the signature grille and headlamps, is pure, unmistakable Aston Martin.
Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to test the DBX’s off-road capabilities. But starting at $192,400, the 2023 Aston Martin DBX presents a wonderfully performance-oriented take on a comfortable, functional crossover with luxury touches that will stir, shake, shimmy, and sex-up your daily driving experience. For more information, visit the Aston Martin website.
Your Driving Companion
Given all the performance pluses of the DBX, the latest Aston Martin collaborative timepiece from Girard-Perregaux, launched this spring and inspired by a partnership with the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team, is just as at home behind the crossover’s wheel as the wheel of an F1 race car.
Not a Nautilus
Many people consider Girard-Perregaux’s Laureato as some kind of ode to Gérald Genta’s iconic Nautilus design for Patek Philippe. However, while Genta submitted that design to Patek in 1974, Girard-Perregaux actually launched the in-house-designed Laureato in 1975, pre-dating the Nautilus by a year. At the suggestion of its Italian distributor, Girard-Perregaux named the model after the 1967 film The Graduate to communicate its youthful appeal.
Since then, the Laureato’s story has been one of a beautifully clean-slate design capable of accommodating more and more innovation and complication. Nearly every type of material and function as found its way to the watch in the ensuing decades, but this latest Aston Martin adaptation might be one of its finest hours.
On the Wrist
First and foremost, the 44mm Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph Aston Martin F1 Edition rides comfortably and very light on the wrist. Moreover, it successfully brings a microcosm of Aston Martin design DNA into the cockpit.
Its light wrist presence is the by-product of an industry-first blend of titanium powder and carbon elements for the legendary Laureato case and bezel taken from two F1 race cars that ran on the circuit in 2021. Fixed with a tinted resin, this material creates a one-of-kind appearance for each execution.
Moreover, a ground-breaking strap contributes to overall featheriness, using the same blended approach: carbon elements from actual race cars used during the 2021 F1 season combined with technical FKM rubber. Fabric inserts on the strap join the Aston Martin grille-patterned dial in a vibrant shade of Aston Martin Racing Green.
While the DBX we test-drove was also in a near-match to that hue, the effect, thankfully, wasn’t overly matchy-matchy.
Also, a first for a Laureato Absolute, an exhibition caseback gives a hood-up view into this timepiece’s engine: The Calibre GP03300-1058 movement that carries a 46-hour power reserve.
High-Octane Design Cues
From the front, the textured green strap inserts ride easily into the green, grille-patterned dial beautifully and legibly (thanks to a minimum of numeral use). The traditional 12/6/9 triple sub-dial chronograph approach (two counters and a small seconds) combine with the small date window at 5 o’clock for a nice dashboard-like gauging effect, made even more dash-like with the addition of a neon green central seconds hand, 9 o’clock sub-dial hand, and neon-green detailing on the chrono start pusher.
Finally, there is a small detail that Aston Martin fans will appreciate: The counterweight on that neon central seconds hand is fashioned as a split rounded rectangular homage to the side slake detailing that rides on the car maker’s athletic car bodies.
Pricing & Availabilityv
You can probably buy as many DBXs as you’d like, but only 306 pieces of the Laureato Absolute Chronograph Aston Martin F1 Edition were made. You might need the speed of a DBX to quickly get to your nearest Girard-Perregaux retailer to fork over the $27,800 list price. Learn more at Girard-Perregaux’s website.
(Photography by Watchonista)