Watch Of The Week: Girard-Perregaux X Bamford Watch Department Laureato Ghost

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Watch Of The Week: Girard-Perregaux X Bamford Watch Department Laureato Ghost

Words by Mr Chris Hall

4 January 2021

A 45-piece limited-edition collaboration that’s a world away from Mr George Bamford’s usual output.

We’ve spent a lot of time this year talking about colour on watches – and if you follow watches closely, you’ll know that this is a conversation that has been going on for at least five years now. So well-rehearsed are the tropes – blue’s the new black; green is the new blue; anything that the late 1970s ever produced is being mined down to the last nugget – that we are long past talking about a trend. This is the new normal. Now that everyone’s at it, it’s hard to remember that this kind of experimentation began a long way from Switzerland’s design studios.

The last few years have been transformative for Mr George Bamford, too. Once a fringe player in the horological world, a purveyor of “in-the-know” customised watches operating more or less autonomously out of a Mayfair townhouse, he has pivoted nimbly to super-collaborator status, reinventing the works of TAG Heuer, Zenith, Bulgari and others almost non-stop, launching his own more affordable range of watches along the way. Pretty soon, it’ll be easier to list the brands that haven’t had the Bamford treatment.

Part of his creation of the Bamford brand has been establishing a familiar colour scheme. So, while his creations still span the rainbow, we have witnessed the emergence of a Bamford “look”. Namely, black and baby-blue, deployed on everything from playing cards to pencils as well as the watches themselves. It’s a nod to his earlier work: turning a Rolex or Patek Philippe jet-black was the one thing the brands would never countenance and therefore the most desirable thing about a Bamford watch.

However – as you will have spotted – the latest fruit of Mr Bamford’s collaborative brain is a step in a very different direction. White watches are uncommon for a number of reasons, but the main one is satisfactorily rendering a white strap, bracelet or case pretty much rules out leather or steel. For the look to have the impact you’re reaching for, a pure white is called for along with the colour-fastness that only ceramic can guarantee. Secondly, shape comes into it – the white-out works better with a strong geometric outline. Compare Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshores with the Chanel J12, for example. The J12 may be “iconic” in white, but has always seemed somewhat unfinished to my eye, whereas the Royal Oak Offshore has the strength of character to pull it off.

The same can be said of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato – a watch cut from similar cloth to the original Royal Oak, of course – which absolutely shines in “ghost spec”, hewn from white ceramic with a dial that casts just enough contrasting notes to prevent the whole thing being a washout. The black crown, thick ring around the inside of the dial (aka the “rehaut”) and the emphatic treatment of the handset and hour markers do the job nicely.

There are precious few whimsical touches. Girard-Perregaux has allowed the Bamford name to sit where “Automatic” normally would, and rendered it in the brand’s logotype – a smart move for cohesive design. The alternating stripes on the seconds hand counterweight are just about the only hint at decorative flourish: the confidence to be sparing with the finishing touches is what really makes this work as a watch. A worthy addition to the small canon of desirable “stormtrooper” watches.

Materials: Ceramic

Width: 38mm

Height: 10.2mm

Water-resistance: 100m

Power reserve: 46 hours

Price: £12,000

Limited to 45 pieces

The ones to watch