Girard-Perregaux Laureato Gets A Bright White Makeover By Bamford Watch Department
Brand new for the brand is the wintry timepiece.
In his own way, George Bamford reinvented reinvention. Over the past 16 years, London customizer Bamford Watch Department has turned Rolex Submariners and Audemars Piguet Royal Oaks into world-famous timepieces with charcoal-hued titanium or graphite finishes, blacked-out dials, and baby blue hands. The watch has gained a cult following, but Bamford has now teamed up with Girard-Perregaux to design his first solid white watch.
The 38-by-10.2-mm Ghost's stainless and hypoallergenic case is scratch- and heat-resistant, as well as being made from stainless steel and hypoallergenic. It is Bamford's idea to reverse his signature style in honor of Girard-Perregaux's 45th anniversary of its Laureato sports watch. It has a Clous de Paris pattern and black accents on its luminescent indexes, as well as baton-shaped hands, a minute track, and the names of the companies printed on its dial, in addition to the black accents. A ceramic bracelet or textured rubber strap are available for $16,100. The Ghost is limited to 45 pieces.
According to Girard-Perregaux CEO Patrick Pruniaux, "I admire George's ability to treat all companies with respect while, at the same time, bringing a personal touch. He is a true artist."
This sentiment, however, was not always shared by executives at heritage-brand companies. The company's twisting of established design codes has made it a black sheep in the watch industry itself for most of its history. Companies concerned with maintaining a strong brand image were riled by its twisting. In just one forward-thinking watch titan, Bamford's creations changed perception for the better.
In 2017, Jean-Claude Biver, former president of LVMH's watch division, began customizing Bulgari, Tag Heuer and Zenith watches. After Bamford approached Girard-Perregaux in January to customize a Cat’s Eye model at the client’s request, the Ghost indicates the joint effort won’t disappear. Currently, Bamford is working to convince the brand to revamp its Casquette watch, a retro-style LED watch with a digital display from the 1970s.
On a ceramic bracelet, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Ghost and Bamford Laureato Ghost are whiteout.
George Bamford, Inside the Tent
What changes have you seen in your brand as a result of official partnerships?
I've made friends with the people behind the watch brands I've worked with and I've got postcards on my wall reminding me that they said, "Welcome to the club."
Are you still pursuing the watch brands that joined three years ago?
Jean-Claude Biver happened to sit next to a friend of mine at supper. The girl knew a lot about watches, but when she came up with a topic, she said, “Oh, yeah, my buddy George Bamford.” He flew to see me the next day. I don't feel like I'm in the shadows anymore now that we're officially together. He said, “Look, you're in the shadows. If you're not in the light, you'll become Kodak.”
Could these brands have done this in-house if they had taken your idea?
It could take up to a year to complete customized requests, as we are currently doing with a client. Since we are set up in this way, we can spend the time to do this here. If it doesn't work, they can hang it on my neck, but if it does, then it's a good thing.
Is there a reason you decided to deviate from customizing all black watches?
With a watch that is all white, I wanted to do the opposite of what I am known for. In celebration of 45 years of the Laureato, it was a great pleasure to work with Girard-Perregaux. There is a technical boom, boom, boom, boom. A watch like this could be worn on a slope, by the sea, or just paired with a T-shirt and jeans.
What are your thoughts on the brand's future?
The best way to predict the future is to invent it. I can't remember who said it, but I believe that.