The Chrono-Tour is also a tall watch being about 19mm thick – but that is OK because you don’t wear this watch in an attempt to be discreet. This is a showy watch for sure – and people like it for that reason. Over the dial is a domed and well AR-coated sapphire crystal. Another crystal allows for a view of the movement through the rear of the case. Just look at the materials, finishes, and overall construction of the watch and you get the sense that is it both of a high quality and put together by people who have a lot of experience in watch manufacturing. This is as opposed to some of the products from newer brands whose products are naturally more amateur in their look and feel.
As a “non-tool watch” the Chrono-Tour can get away with design elements which are visually interesting but not directly related to functionality. A good example is the crown system which has a sort of protective bar over it. This might offer some added protection to the hardware, but it operates like a normal crown that you pull out (not screw-down). It’s fun and neat to handle, but not strictly necessary for the design.
The Chrono-Tour Classic dial is similarly designed – to be interesting and distinctive. Louis Chevrolet got lucky because, in addition to being original-looking, the Chrono-Tour dial is also legible. That latter fact is a function not just of design, but of making sure all the materials and finishes on the dial are correct. This attention to detail does not happen by accident and only comes with experience and a dedication to product excellence (which more or less sums up why someone – at the best of times – buys a Swiss wristwatch).
Inside the watch is a Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movement. I’ve seen more expensive watches with less decorated versions of the 7750 – so I appreciate that when you turn the Chrono-Tour watch over and check out the movement, it is complete with attractive polishes. The 7750 movement is a real workhorse and I feel confident about its longevity and reliability. Louis Chevrolet chose to offer a slightly unique layout for the chronograph information and the date. The latter of which has a window uncommonly placed on the left side of the dial and the places where you read the chronograph registers are slightly different and indicated with prominent arrows. The movement itself operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with a power reserve of about two days.
The depth in a modern sense is how one might characterize the watch dial. Layers of well-finished parts offer an excellent sense of space in the dial which allows the eye to inspect all the various elements, wheels, hands, and indicators individually. On top of all that the large, lume-coated hour and minute hands sit on top, always visible and easy to read (thankfully). Note the use of the “double-sided” chronograph seconds hand which is cool, and again more about style than functionality. Around the dial is a welcome ring of hour markers which further assists with strong legibility.
Louis Chevrolet offers two straps with the Chrono-Tour, with the rubber being my favorite. It has an interesting design in the strap itself and in my opinion matches the look and feel of the case and dial much better. I also find it to be more comfortable – especially on my smaller wrists. The black rubber strap is just a bit shorter than the alligator-print leather strap which I found to be both a bit stiff and not as complimentary in style as the rubber strap.
With some basic skills and tools, you can remove the straps and replace them. Though I will caution novice watch lovers to take the watch to a professional to get this done since it requires using two screwdrivers to remove the screw bar. You’ll also need to transfer over the folding deployant buckle. On this note, I want to mention that on their website when ordering the Chrono-Tour, you can opt for three strap sizes if you are going for the traditional pin buckle as opposed to the folding one if you prefer (both are a good option).
What made me the happiest about the Louis Chevrolet Chrono-Tour Classic is that it offered the wearing experience I have come to expect from a Swiss watch with a design that is novel and fun. People like the watch specifically because it does all the “watch stuff” (comfort, legibility, decent movement) well, but also offers a lot of personality.
Louis Chevrolet offers a quartz version of the same watch case in their LC-01 collection at about half the price. This uses an interesting chronograph quartz movement and a totally different dial layout. The LC-01 and Chrono-Tour share the same case but are distinguished mainly by price. Non-watch collectors might be more compelled by the quartz version and watch collectors (with their weakness for mechanical movements) will appreciate the Valjoux 7750-equipped Chrono-Tour. Both are actually solid watches but – as Louis Chevrolet understands – meant for different audiences.
I’m really satisfied that timepieces like the Chrono-Tour are being marketed and that brands like Louis Chevrolet see their future in these more original, distinctive, and thoroughly modern designs. What is missing right now is an effort on their behalf to properly communicate about this product – especially on their own website. Dedicated watch lovers such as myself may be able to sort through the lack of information or story on their website, but to other consumers, the lack of storytelling might signal a lack of confidence in their own product. Right now early adopters enjoy stuff like this the most. Price for the Louis Chevrolet Chrono-Tour Classic is $2,198 USD. louischevrolet.com
>Brand: Louis Chevrolet
>Model: Chrono-Tour Classic
>Price: $2,198 USD
>Size: 44mm wide (about 50mm wide with the side structures), about 52mm lug-to-lug, 19.04mm thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: It is a fun daily wear when you want something modern and eye-catching. Also good to impress “watch guys” with a product they will like from a brand they don’t know much about.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking to add their first real “avant-garde” watch to their collection, but can’t afford the exclusionary pricing of many other luxury timepieces.
>Best characteristic of watch: Despite being (mostly) different, the Chrono-Tour manages to be comfortable, legible, and well-constructed. It is an extremely competent watch that also benefits from looking different.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Brand more or less fails to get anyone who doesn’t have the courage to try something new excited about the product or educated about where it came from. You need conviction and bravery to purchase a product like this especially when the brand itself isn’t quite sure how to talk about it. Folding deployant models could benefit from shorter strap options.