girard perregaux laureato high jewellery

Diamond Life: Admiring the Girard-Perregaux Laureato 34mm High Jewelry Pièce Unique

Available only at Girard-Perregaux’s Geneva Boutique, this fully-set baby is brilliant from every angle.

By Rhonda Riche
Editor-At-Large

Can a diamond-studded watch be considered demure?

Well, Girard-Perregaux seems to be trying its darndest to make that answer yes with last week’s release of an elegant pièce unique version of its storied Laureato housed in a pink gold case encrusted with 1,791 brilliant cut diamonds and featuring a crown set with an amethyst.

Yet, despite all the ice, it’s an elegant expression of the classic 1975 timepiece. Let’s take a closer look at this amazing one-off.

Time Machine

We’re only in February, and this is the second watch-related tribute to Disco-Era opulence (the first was the all-yellow gold Piaget Polo 79 to celebrate the brand’s 150th Anniversary). However, this High Jewelry edition of Girard-Perregaux’s legendary Laureato shines its light on another side of the 1970s than the Piaget Polo 79.

Specifically, the Laureato 34mm High Jewelry is a nod to the high society world depicted in producer Ryan Murphy’s recent series, Feud: Capote vs. The Swans. The show is a non-fiction drama that culminates with the publication of a thinly veiled tell-all called “La Côtes Basques” in 1975.

Of course, the Laureato debuted in 1975 and had a ground-breaking quartz movement with an intricately formed case. Since then, the Laureato collection has always stood out from the crowd because of its mixed use of strong shapes.
 

For example, the round dial is surrounded by an octagonal bezel set atop a circular plinth resting upon a tonneau-shaped case. It sounds impossibly convoluted when described aloud, but this seemingly chaotic construction makes sense when the light hits the multi-faceted case, producing pockets of brilliance and shade.

In this instance, the diamonds on the High Jewelry piece accentuate this already extraordinary interplay with light. And because the bracelet is also encrusted with stones, there is no angle at which this timepiece doesn’t sparkle.
 

Blinding Lights

It’s exciting that Girard-Perregaux is giving the Laureato the haute jewelry treatment. Setting such a sculptural piece with 1,791 brilliant cut diamonds (to commemorate the maison’s birth year of 1791) requires generations of expertise, and we’re happy to see the brand flex its gem-setting muscles.

Traditional grain setting is used to flood the dial, bezel, 34mm case, and bracelet with a sea of brilliant stones. It’s a painstaking process of drilling holes in the pink gold exterior to accommodate each individual diamond, then making small adjustments by hand to ensure the perfect fit.

Done entirely by hand, the gold is first carved to form four grains of metal around each diamond to hold it securely. Then, the hollows made when the tiny claws took shape are smoothed to create a subtle beading effect. As a result of using this technique, this one-of-a-kind watch took 86 hours of work to realize this amazing effect.
 

The cherry on top is a semi-precious amethyst cabochon set on the crown. Amethyst is a stone associated with protection and tranquility. Plus, its deep purple color provides a grounded balance to all of the sparkle surrounding it.

Finally, the Laureato 34mm High Jewelry model is a pièce unique that will go on sale this February at the Girard-Perregaux boutique, which is operated in partnership with Bucherer in Geneva, to celebrate the maison’s historic ties to the city. Price on request. To learn more about the brand’s watches, visit the Girard-Perregaux website.

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