Fun fact: Girard-Perregaux was founded in the same year as titanium was first discovered, 230 years ago in 1791.
The tough, lightweight and much-loved metal by the watch industry, was unearthed in black sand called menachanite that was common in Cornwall, south west England, by a clergyman called William Gregor, who analysed the sand and found the metal element.
He analysed it and deduced it was made up of the oxides of iron and an unknown metal, and reported it as such to the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall.
His discovery was all-but forgotten until 1795, when German scientist Martin Heinrich Klaproth investigated a red ore known as Schörl from Hungary and realised it was the oxide of a previously unknown element which he named titanium.
When he was told of Mr Gregor’s discovery he investigated menachanite and confirmed it too contained titanium — hence Mr Gregor is credited with its discovery.
It was not until 1910 that M. A. Hunter, working for General Electric in the USA, made pure titanium metal by heating titanium tetrachloride and sodium metal, triggering its use in commercial use in everything from aircraft to timepieces.
Girard-Perregaux is drawing attention to titanium’s discovering in the year it was founded as part of the launch of two new watch in the Laureato family called the Absolute Ti 230. Ti, you guessed it, because it comes in a titanium 44mm case.
Grade 5 titanium is used in this case because it is strong, corrosion resistant, lightweight, hypoallergenic and it can be polished.
The Laureato Absolute Ti 230, a remake of a popular 1975 reference, has a lightly sandblasted finish with polished facets.
It is created as a watch that links the past for Girard-Perregaux with its modern, forward-looking present, according to CEO Patrick Pruniaux.
“With the release of the Laureato Absolute Ti 230 we wanted to create a new version of our iconic watch from 1975. This model is modern but encompasses traditional craftsmanship. The sandwich dial construction and GP’s world-premiere Rubber Alloy strap, this time incorporating titanium, are further sumptuous details that also feature on this watch. Finally, while the price may be more inclusive, the quality remains typically Girard-Perregaux and the watch feels just as exclusive as our other models,” he explains.
It uses a GP03300-1060 automatic movement driving hours, minutes, central seconds and date.
There are two styles launching today, a grey dial on general release to GP authorized dealers and a piece with a blue dial that will be offered exclusively by Wempe worldwide priced at CHF 8,260.