It is no secret that precious jewels have always featured in men’s high-end, luxury watches. Yet it seems that these days more and more of these jewels are finding their way onto dials, bezels and bands, as opposed to only being incorporated in the complicated movements that power these incredible timepieces. One brand that has recently taken this new trend to the next level is Concord, with their new C1 Chronograph. The watch features a 44mm white gold case, standing 16.70mm tall and is set with enough diamonds (184 to be exact, or a cool 2.4 carats) to ensure that anyone who tries to look directly at the dial risks potential permanent blindness.
However, the enhancement of the original C1 does not stop there, not by a long shot! A protective ring in white gold, fixed laterally by 7 self-blocking screws is enhanced by eight decorative elements straddling the bezel. These bastions protect a spectacular 3.30 mm thick sapphire crystal, which literally emerges from the case and displays a ruthenium dial set with 259 diamonds, 0.8 ct and its distinctive Concord seconds disk. End result, a dial literally covered in bling. Even the band doesn’t escape this “special” treatment, the black rubber strap with a white gold folding clasp is set with 72 diamonds or 0.6 ct.
You almost get the feeling looking at the picture of this watch that is more diamond than anything else, you might even go as far to say as its not really a timepiece at all but rather a very large, very expensive piece of jewellery. Which leads to the next question. What on earth were Concord thinking? There is certainly an arguement for improving the aesthetics of a watch, even to the point of adding diamonds. Rolex has been doing it quite successfully (and subtley) for a number of years with their diamond dials which feature diamonds on the hour markers. Yet, this piece here screams excess and poor taste. Its almost like Concord is saying “well, we couldn’t make a good looking watch, so we’ll just cover it in diamonds and hope it distracts attention from the less desirable features.” However, nothing could be further from the truth. The C1 series features sensational, rugged looking timepieces which truly look fantastic on any wrist. Why this sort of treatment is necessary, this author will never know!
Thankfully, there is one saving grace. Despite being one of the most overly decorative timepieces available, it also has a mechanical, self-winding Valgranges movement with a 48-hour power reserve and is certified by the official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).
This at least restores some credibility to the watch, however, unfortunately in this author’s opinion, the damage has already been done.