A superbly attractive, rare and skeletonised 18k rose gold numbered-edition self-winding tourbillon wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand Girard-Perregaux, founded in 1791. Production period: 2017–2022. Case in 18k rose gold, diameter 42mm, 10.76mm thick, skeletonized dial, luminous hour and minute hands, luminous indexes, sapphire caseback. Caliber GP09520-0001, self-winding, finely skeletonized, 18k rose gold skeletonized oscillating weight, power reserve up to 50 hours. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, flying tourbillon at 11 o’clock. 18k rose gold Laureato bracelet, 18k rose gold Girard-Perregaux triple-blade folding clasp. Numbered edition.

Lot essay

The Laureato Flying Tourbillon Skeleton numbered edition was launched in 2017, and available in either 18k rose gold (the present reference) or in 18k white gold as reference 99110-53-001-53A on a full-gold Laureato integrated bracelet with triple folding clasp. These references are produced in small quantities – as evidenced in particular by the small serial number of the present example – which increases their attractiveness as a collectible.

The Laureato collection is important in the history of the brand. Launched in 1975, it represented the latest in precision and thin quartz caliber technology, which was actively evolving. In the 1970s, Laureato were one of the few proponents of the currently extremely popular design of luxury steel sport models with integral bracelets, and since then the brand has regularly turned to this design. The most recent revival of the Laureato collection occurred in 2016, when two commemorative limited-editions were introduced for the 225th anniversary of the company. It was a vintage-inspired piece, at least as far as the distinctive case design goes. The watch was sized accordingly to modern tastes and powered by a mechanical self-winding caliber, while the original 1975 versions were fitted with a quartz movements. The fully-fledged comeback of the Laureato collection, as a pillar collection, happened in 2017, with a comprehensive range of 42mm, 38mm and 34mm watches, in steel, two-tone, titanium, ceramic or gold, with time-and-date movement, chronograph, tourbillon, and skeletonized calibres.

The GP09520-0001 caliber is produced exclusively in the skeletonized version. The finely skeletonized mainplate and the bridges are decorated with dark anthracite coating, a type of finish consistent with the chosen manner of skeletonization.

GP09520-0001, the caliber of the present example, is quite remarkable for several reasons. Firstly, this is an extremely rare movement for Girard-Perregaux, equipped with a flying tourbillon, devoid of a bridge on the dial side – the vast majority of movements are made in the classical technique with a tourbillon bridge, and the collection is dominated by a proprietary design with one or (usually) three gold bridges. The earliest introduction of the flying tourbillon in the Girard-Perregaux collection was in 2005, when the manual-winding caliber GP V97 movement with 110 hours of power reserve was developed for the Sea Hawk II Pro Flying Tourbillon. Therefore, the GP09520-0001 simultaneously performs two firsts: as the first Girard-Perregaux skeletonized flying tourbillon movement and as the first Girard-Perregaux self-winding flying tourbillon movement.

It should also be noted that the GP09520-0001 caliber is produced exclusively in the skeletonized version. The finely skeletonized mainplate and the bridges are decorated with dark anthracite coating, a type of finish consistent with the chosen manner of skeletonization. A 50-hour power reserve is provided by the open barrel at 5 o’clock, which is powered by an 18k rose gold oscillating weight, skeletonized in the same manner as the entire movement.

The traditional art of the skeleton watch, which has been present in watchmaking for many centuries, is characterized by a baroque style with finely trimmed skeletonized parts of the movement. Carving and engraving are used in abundance, so that the overall mechanism leaves the impression of a metallic lace. The style of skeletonization used by Girard-Perregaux in the development of the Laureato Flying Tourbillon Skeleton belongs to the relatively recent art déco period, when watchmakers of the finest watch brands began to abandon excessive detailing in favour of a more laconic and clearly-expressed image, with pure geometry dominating. This style is emphasized in the Laureato Flying Tourbillon Skeleton by the use of the dark anthracite metal coating of the mainplate and bridges, which gives the movement a somewhat technical character, as well as the costly use of manual labour in decorating all the components of the movement. The skeletonized mainplate, bridges and rotor are finished with fine straight grinding, chamfering and polishing, where special attention is paid to the impeccable hand finishing of the sharp internal angles. Only a few haute horlogerie brands undertake this extremely time-consuming operation, with most of them doing their best to avoid the additional cost of this work, which is nevertheless highly valued by connoisseurs and discerning collectors.

Reasons to bid

The 42mm Laureato Flying Tourbillon Skeleton, first introduced in autumn 2017, is a modern version of a luxury lifestyle sports watch that combines a comfortable wearing experience with an impressive presentation of the high-class skeletonized and complicated mechanical movement within. Girard-Perregaux produces it exclusively in 18k gold, and it may be regarded as one of the finest complicated timepieces of a luxury sports watch on an integrated bracelet.