For 2014, Chopard will release a completely updated Grand Prix de Monaco Historique watch collection in honor of their ongoing support of the famous racing series. The first model to be introduced is a beautiful “bumble bee” black and yellow Monaco Historique collection chronograph as part of their greater Classic Racing collection that debuts the new yellow theme of the product family. The Monaco Historique collection timepieces are all part of Chopard’s ongoing sponsorship and status as official timekeeper of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique race in the principality of Monaco which now enters its seventh consecutive year. If the collection of vintage race cars zipping through the rich streets of Monaco doesn’t excite you, the great looks of this timepiece should. We can’t wait to see what else Chopard has in store for us in the new Monaco Historique collection.
The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique race occurs every other year, and Chopard releases new watches in kind. We did a hands-on review of a rather interesting SuperQuartz Monaco Historique Time Attack MF piece here from 2010, and you can check out the 2012 Chopard Monaco Historique watches here. For 2014, the collection evolves with tweaked looks that overall result in a beautiful package in addition to the new color scheme that abandons the iconic orange which is mostly associated with the race series.
An evolution versus a revolution is welcome for what is one of the most attractive collection of men’s race-themed timepieces in the industry. Chopard has a great number of watches in their Classic Racing collection that evolved from the Mille Miglia line, and the Monaco Historique pieces tend to get very special attention. For 2014, the changes begin with the case that increases about 2mm in size to 44.5mm wide. We’ve always been happy with the roughly 42.5mm wide size of the previous generation models, but are not complaining about the new larger size. To help maintain a similar fit, the lugs are a bit more stubby and neatly designed on the 2014 models. Like the 2012 pieces, the case will be in titanium along with the pushers and crown.
If you look closely, you’ll also notice crown guards, which is a first for this collection as far as I know. Chopard further gave the crown and pushers a great level of detail. The crown once again has a steering wheel motif and the chronograph pushers are shorter and wider as well as perforated. Unlike the Chopard SuperFast watch cases with their bulging screws that aren’t my style, I think that with the new Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono, the brand has really emphasized modern good looks with a traditional sense of restrained elegance.
One look at the dial and the watch is immediately recognizable as a Monaco Historique piece, but there are many changes to be found there as well. My favorite addition is use of black-coated hands filled with lume versus standard polished metal hands (even though Chopard does them very well with a diamond polish). Against the lighter dial the black hands ought to offer an excellent level of legibility. In fact, the mixture of yellow, black, and white/silver tones on the dial should make for a very easy to read timepiece. Another new element are the hour markers. Now Arabic numeral minute markers intersect them for a novel look. The dial also has a brand new flange ring and other minor details and upgrades that are all welcome. In my opinion, Chopard almost always does a good job at making its Classic Racing collection watches conform to traditional rules of proportion and legibility, while also making them just so darn refined.
Fun fact, did you know that the 2012 Monaco Historique watches had a bezel with a tachometer versus a tachymeter? Yup. The bezel on the 2014 model is attractive though Chopard hasn’t jumped on the ceramic bandwagon yet, so it is produced in aluminum as an insert. Further, even though the case is titanium, the bezel itself under the aluminum insert is steel (steel holds a polish better.) Inside the Monaco Historique Chrono watch once again is a Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph that has been highly decorated and given a COSC Chronometer certificate.
Chopard will offer three exciting strap and bracelet options for the 2014 Monaco Historique Chrono in titanium. Standard is the perforated black barenia leather strap with yellow stitching. Chopard has also jumped on the NATO strap bandwagon which is proving to be very popular among high-end brands as they have been trendy with collectors. With the watch is an optional black with yellow racing stripe NATO-style strap that looks awesome with the watch. Chopard claims that the NATO strap is an option, but it isn’t clear whether it is included with the watch or sold separately.
Last, while not technically announced yet, I am pretty sure that a metal bracelet option will also be available as that tends to be customary for the collection. Chopard might not have the cache with men that it deserves yet, but a lot of praise is due to pieces in the Classic Racing collection (not to mention the L.U.C and other models they have with in-house movements) because of their quality design as well as construction. We are certainly excited and look forward to some hands-on coverage of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono soon. Price is $7,640. chopard.com
Technical Details from Chopard
Total diameter 44.5 mm
Thickness 13.9 mm
Water-resistant to 100 metres
Glareproofed sapphire crystal
Titanium crown and pushers
Steel bezel with black aluminium insert, silver transfer and yellow dots
Back stamped with the Automobile Club de Monaco logo
Total diameter 37.20 mm
Number of jewels 25
Power reserve approx. 46 hours
Frequency 28’800 A/h
Chronometer certified (COSC)
Dial and hands:
Silver-toned snailed dial
Black snailed hollowed counters at 12 o’clock at 6 o’clock, silver-toned hollowed counter at 9 o’clock
Metallic black hour and minute hands
Yellow central seconds hand
Hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock
60-second chronograph, 30-minute and 12-hour counters
Date aperture at 3 o’clock
Strap and clasp:
Black barenia leather with yellow seams; optional black and yellow NATO strap
Titanium and steel folding clasp
Titanium edition ref. 168570-3001