The fineness of the case detailing is matched on the dials–which are, in my opinion, excellent. Aesthetically, they are gorgeous, with bright colors and crisp textures ranging from the concentric ring pattern of the face to the diamond cut hour markers and hands. What I most appreciate about the dials (aside from the fact that I happen to enjoy black and yellow “bumble bee” watches) is that Chopard mixes three very important desirable elements. The first is quality: The diamond-cut hour makers and hands and perfectly printed fonts are a testament to what a luxury watch dial should look like. Nothing feels cheap or down-market. The second is visual interest: Chopard has ensured that each of the dials on the three watches is devoid of boring areas or elements that are not pleasant to the eyes, and nothing looks flat, thanks to the three-dimensional design of layered elements. The curation of colors and textures is simply put, refined and purposeful. Third is perhaps the most important element, legibility.
Yes, the 2014 Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique collection of watches are each eminently legible. The hands are the right size and are polished in the right way so as not to harshly reflect light, and elements such as the hands and hour markers properly contrast with the face. All the details on the dial jump out with ease and nothing stands in your way when it comes to reading the time or other information on the dial. It is all topped off which a properly AR-coated sapphire crystal that does not invite glare. This is refinement, and this is why you pay big bucks for nice things.
Do I have any complaints about the case or dial? Sure, nothing is without some flaws. While it is not an aesthetic issue, Chopard is in the minority of high-end watch makers that still use aluminum bezel inserts. Even though the bezels are thin on these Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique models, they use aluminum inserts, versus the more common ceramic. That isn’t to say ceramic inserts would look exactly the same, but they are known for lasting longer so if you abuse your watches, aluminum bezels will age more quickly, while ceramic ones are extremely scratch resistant. I will keep an eye on Chopard to see how and if they begin to integrate ceramic bezels in the future.
What about movements? Chopard still uses base Swiss ETA movements in many of their Classic Racing watches such as these Monaco Historique pieces. Collectors will often demand in-house made movements or complain that when spending a certain amount of money brands should not include movements available in much less expensive watches. While Chopard uses high-grade base movements that are nicely finished and each has COSC Chronometer certificates, the fact remains that some people are going to complain that they lack in-house made calibers. I understand that, but honestly, for me it isn’t an issue. Base ETA movements are simple, but highly reliable and serviceable. I don’t mind them in applications such as these watches to be honest, but if you have issues paying over a certain amount for them, we can understand that.
Each of the three Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Automatic, Power Control, and Chrono models come in the same 44.5mm wide size case and have a unified aesthetic. Of course, each dial is a bit different, but honestly I like them all. The Chrono will perhaps be the most popular, given how important chronographs are to this history of this collection, but if I could, I would have one of each. Speaking of three, there are three strap options to consider. The watches come with either a black Barenia calfskin strap (with racing hopes) or a steel and titanium bracelet. Of course, there is that killer black and yellow NATO strap as well.
Chopard seemed to indicate that the NATO strap would be a separate option that people could purchase. I strongly advised them to include the NATO strap with each watch. Not only because of its relative low price, but also because it is a fun accessory strap that people like to play with but not use all the time. So if aBlogtoWatch’s advice is heeded, you’ll get the sweet NATO strap with either the leather strap option or bracelet. I am super excited about this collection of new Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique watches, and I’d like to own one myself. Here is how the pricing breaks down:
- Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Automatic ref. 168568-3001 on strap is $5,570, on bracelet $7,260
- Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Power Control ref. 168569-3001 on strap is $6,990, on bracelet $8,680
- Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono ref. 168570-3001 on strap is $7,640, on bracelet is $9,330