Girard-Perregaux Brings New Case to the Laureato in Absolute Light & Shade and Light & Fire

Girard-Perregaux has updated their Laureato with a unique case in two flavors via a pair of watches called the Absolute Light & Shade, and Absolute Light & Fire. What might sound like a fancy new vodka cocktail concoction is actually representative of two takes on a translucent case that’s been subjected to a metallisation process. The result are these Shade and Fire themed Laureato watches, rendered in clear but smokey gray and red tones. The rather complex case shape makes for an interesting experience in this material, while the opacity level means the intricate details aren’t lost in the mix. G-P’s take on the high-end integrated sports watch has always stood a bit outside the norm when it comes to these things, and it’s served all the better for it in this execution. 

The Laureato was launched in 1975, a year before the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and three years after the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Then and now, the watch stands in good company and while it’s managed to skirt much of the hype that once riddled the references above, it’s remained a low-key favorite of long-time enthusiasts looking to fly under the radar. What these new models lack in subtlety, however, they make up for in their avant garde execution. It’s also worth noting that a 38mm steel Laureato can still be had at retail for under $15k.


The Light & Shade and Light & Fire join Girard-Perregaux’s Absolute Laureato collection, which was introduced in 2019. The Light & Shade features a metallised sapphire crystal case with black PVD coated titanium to create the smokey effect. The sapphire itself is “grown” using the Kyropoulos method, which involves transforming alumina powder into a block of sapphire, which takes about 8 weeks to complete. The block is then cut and finished to spec, including the metallisation treatment. 

The Light & Fire case is deep red in color, a nod to the Chinese new year. The case is similar to the Light & Shade model, but receives a polycrystalline material called YAG. This specific example is limited to just 18 pieces. Each of the variants measure 44mm in diameter, and since the integrated design is lugless, will measure about the same from tip to tip. With total thickness set at a mere 11.5mm this is a watch that should wear rather beautifully paired with the KFM rubber strap, whose posts are visible within the case. The total weight of 85 grams helps in that department, as well.

Inside Girard-Perregaux is using their GP018000-1143 automatic movement, which has been fully openworked from the baseplate to the oscillating weight. Even the mainspring is visible within its barrel at 5 o’clock on the dial, as is the variable inertia balance beating away at 12 o’clock. The finishing looks on par with what you’d expect in this price range, which is to say quite good, but the detail that catches my eye is the ring around the dial, which is scalloped and brushed on the inside, and polished at the tips, referencing the octagonal bezel design that makes the Laureato so interesting. 

These are compelling offerings from a brand that perhaps doesn’t get the attention it always deserves. At nearly $100,000, these watches remain appealing in the conceptual realm, but serve as a suitable reminder of their offerings a bit further down the food chain, which come with their own appeal. We hope to go hands-on with something in their stable soon so let us know what you’d like to see us review. In the meantime, more from Girard-Perregaux.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.