This is an Aston Martin GP* racer you can wear on your wrist | Top Gear
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This is an Aston Martin GP* racer you can wear on your wrist

*Girard-Perregaux, that is. But it’ll remind you of glorious British racing all the same

Published: 10 Nov 2021
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This, along with a lucrative bit of F1 sponsorship, is the fruit of Aston Martin teaming up with watchmaker Girard-Perregaux. It’s a relationship that started this year, although Aston’s already said that the partnership is also a “genuine friendship formed between Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin,” which sounds lovely.

Anywho, the gist of Girard-Perregaux’s spiel for the limited-edition ‘Laureato Chronograph Aston Martin Edition’ is that the emerald-green dial ties in with both the Laureato’s chronograph function (i.e. timing races) and Aston Martin’s racing history. Most pointedly with the DBR-1, but also today’s F1 efforts.

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For those without a coffee table creaking under the weight of hardcover racing history books, the Aston Martin DBR-1 won Le Mans in 1959, while racing under the then-official British Racing Green. For those who are scratching their heads about a modern Aston Martin F1 team, it gets a touch trickier. Lawrence Stroll, father of F1 driver Lance Stroll, bought up Force India, changing it to Racing Point Force India, then just Racing Point, then Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team after he also bought a big ol’ chunk of Aston Martin. And 2021’s Aston F1 car is painted – wouldn’t you know it – green.

Of course, Colin Chapman broke the chain of green British racing cars back in the Sixties with the Gold Leaf liveried Lotus 49. But there’s nothing more a Brit likes than to look fondly to the past, so British Racing Green of one hue or another has been revived whenever Jaguar, Lotus or indeed Aston Martin needed a bit of nostalgia to lean on.

The cross-hatching, on the other hand, apparently evokes the memories of the old round ‘AM’ logo, before Aston got its wings, so to speak. And, according to the official bumf, proper car bores can expect to find references to lightweighting, racing and even the Aston DB4’s side strakes around the watch. We looked, but kept coming back with a GP Laureato with a green cross-hatched dial. Your mileage may vary.

If you’ve not heard of the Laureato – or indeed Girard-Perregaux – don’t feel too clueless. While Girard-Perregaux is one of the original top-tier Swiss watchmakers, dating back to the 1790s, it’s never really set the world on fire in the same way that, say, Audemars Piguet did. And so it goes with the Laureato, a steel sports watch in the tradition of AP’s Royal Oak, but one that suffers a touch in both comparison and recognition to the sports watch standard-bearer. But that’s OK; even Patek Philippe’s effort, the Nautilus, suffers for just the same reason.

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Girard-Perregaux has teamed up with the likes of Lancia, BMW, Fiat and Ferrari in the past, with admittedly limited success both in brand promotion and the tie-in watches it produced. Will that continue with Aston Martin? Well, all 188 examples of the Aston Martin Edition are already sold out, if that’s any indication. Now, it’s on the shoulders – or indeed wrists – of Vettel and Stroll Jr. Can they get enough podiums and do enough official shots with a Girard-Perregaux wrapped around their wrists? Um... maybe.

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