March 11, 2020
Louis Chevrolet is one of the more established microbrands out there that has a cult following for a number of reasons: It is well made, at the hands of an industry veteran; it has a memorable name that evokes a specific sensibility and era; and the designs are unusual without being over-the-top or abandoning good design principles. The latest model, the Frontenac, has a unique “flying date” that employs Super-LumiNova as part of the display function.
The date is expressed as a luminescent calendar, with numerals and dots coated with Super-LumiNova C1 that circle the outer dial. In front of the calendar index is a sector-type index with a section in front of each date. The section in front of the current date lights up with Super-LumiNova, and thus the date “flies” around the dial as each new section lights up. The movement is a modified automatic ETA 2824/2, with a patent pending for this date function.
The brand’s namesake is Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss-American race car driver who co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911, as well as the Frontenac Motor Corporation in 1915, which made parts for racing cars. The company thus has an authentic reference to the world of automobiles, not to mention the world of Swiss watchmaking — Chevrolet was born in the Swiss watchmaking district of La Chaux-de-Fonds.
The Louis Chevrolet watch company is based in Porrentruy in the Swiss Jura, and it was founded by André Saunier, who headed product development at Breitling for 10 years. In 1998, André and his wife, Josette Saunier, founded AJS Production, which now manufactures Louis Chevrolet watches. It is a family company that is now managed by their son, Anthony.
The cases are steel, but available with PVD rose gold, blue or black. All watches come with a vintage, perforated leather strap and a nylon strap with colored stripes. They are easily interchangeable without the use of a tool. All are water resistant to 50 meters.
As a talented race car driver, Louis Chevrolet won many races, most of them in cars bearing the number 8. This number appears somewhere on all Louis Chevrolet watches, on the crown, caseback or even the strap. On the Frontenac, it is engraved on the crown. Every watch is also engraved with Louis Chevrolet’s motto — “Never Give Up” — both as a tribute to the man and a maxim for many of us in our daily lives. On the Frontenac, it is engraved on the case side below the 6 o’clock position.
Louis Chevrolet has created some 20 watch models to date and, since 2016, has distributed them exclusively online. The Frontenac is being sold via a Kickstarter campaign launching March 11, and apart from the initial funding required, watches are priced at $578, or $358 for a quartz model. You can visit the Louis Chevrolet Frontenac Kickstarter page here.
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