Modern chronographs have long taken inspiration from the automotive or aviation worlds with good reason: these sectors have legitimate demands for precise timing, and before the introduction of various electronic methods, a wristwatch was one of the best ways to do that. Driven by the heavy overlap watch enthusiasm has enthusiasm for both cars and planes (or space), and the historicity of the latter two, these watches continued to be styled by borrowing the elements from those worlds. Seldom do we see a chronograph (much less an entire collection of them) that diverges from these tropes by taking its inspiration from elsewhere. Yet that’s exactly what Swedish brand Bravur has done with its cycling-inspired Grand Tour chronographs. With the Bravur Grand Tour La Grande Boucle II, it celebrates cycling’s biggest and most prestigious race, the Tour de France.

Bravur’s Grand Tour collection is a line of three chronograph models, each inspired by one of the Grand Tours of cycling. If you’re like me and assumed that the entirety of the sport of cycling was the Tour de France, allow me to enlighten you. The Grand Tours are three 21-stage cycling races that are regarded as the most demanding and prestigious events in the sport. In addition to La Grand Boucle representing the Tour de France, there is the pink La Corsa Rosa for the Giro d’Italia and the red La Vuelta for the Vuelta a España. All three models use color and texture to bring the spirit of the races to your wrist.

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At 38.2mm across with an 18mm lug-width, the Bravur Grand Tour’s stainless steel case immediately differentiates itself from other modern chronographs (the five chronographs we’ve reviewed most recently all come in at over 40mm). At 14.4mm-tall, despite being no thicker than most modern chronos and certainly not wider than most, this watch wears a bit more stoutly than its contemporaries. Unlike what you might experience on, say, a 42mm chronograph, there’s no width here to disperse the thickness that results from using an automatic movement. But in my experience, I didn’t find that to be a bad thing. While a bit stocky, it still wears very well. That’s primarily down to its overall small dimensions, including a 46.3mm lug-to-lug, but partially attributable to the silhouette of the case. The way the case form curves from lug to lug on both sides, as well as its gentle arc along the wrist, give it a visual and physical ease that a blockier profile wouldn’t afford.

The case is well decorated with crisp brushing and thin polished chamfers, the latter of which encompass the entirety of the case sides, giving what would otherwise be a slab-sided case a bit of character and slenderness. The polished bezel is aesthetically fine, but I worry about how much of a scratch magnet it may be (though I’m sure it won’t be as bad as the bezel on a Cartier Santos). The Grand Tour has 50m of water resistance (remember, it’s inspired by cycling) and the domed sapphire crystal has AR-coating which kept glare down (and won’t wear away, since it’s applied to the underside), but my favorite element of the case is the pusher design. I, for one, am tired of generic pump and button pushers, and while the pushers here may not seem special—they aren’t, really—the thought put in to have them follow the contour of the case demonstrated the intentionality of the design.

The engaging dial is where the cycling inspiration really shines. The yellow accents are a nod to the yellow leader’s jersey worn during the Tour de France, while the capsule-like 12 o’clock marker is a nod to the collectible milestones that mark out the famous French climbs throughout the course. The dial itself is a soft black (the brand calls it “wet asphalt”) that’s marked by semi-gloss polka dots, a pattern taken from the race’s King of the Mountains jersey; the contrasting finishes to the dots and the main dial offer a lovely bit of light play when the watch is on the wrist. The final tip of the cap to cycling is the upside-down ’13’ on the tachymeter ring; traditionally, the rider assigned number 13 wears the number upside-down on their back.

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The beauty here is that if, like me, you aren’t a cycling fan, you probably wouldn’t have known any of that without being told, instead simply seeing a well-executed chronograph dial with pops of yellow. Conversely, if you are a cycling fan, it’s likely that several of those elements were apparent without my explanation, like horological Easter eggs. That’s exactly what you want in a watch like this.

As far as its basic design and elements, the dial features a 3-6-9 layout with 15-minute and 12-hour hour totalizers and running seconds; the registers are all offered in a silvery white azurage finish and slightly sunken into the dial. Contrasting the below-grade registers are the applied circle hour markers that double down on the polka dots and are filled with Super-LumiNova (as is the lower half of the 12 o’clock marker). The hands, too, are lumed, and are rhodium-plated for a bit of glossy shine in certain lights; they can get lost for moments when there’s no direct light highlighting them, but all it takes its a refocus on the lume strips (which your eyes and brain will do for you). Overall, though, legibility is excellent, as the yellow chronograph and seconds hands stand out clearly and the unscaled chapter ring’s markings are easy to read.


Through a sapphire caseback display, surrounded by a steel ring with a checkered flag motif (interrupted only by the limited edition numbering), one can glimpse the inner workings of the Bravur Grand Tour La Grand Boucle II: The Sellita SW511b. This automatic Swiss movement has an integrated cam-operated chronograph mechanism, with a 62-hour power reserve at 28,800 vph. For those familiar with the SW510, the SW511b is the same caliber with the date omitted and the 30-minute totalizer at 3 o’clock replaced by a 15-minute totalizer. The sapphire window is printed with an outline of France and the “Grand Tour” collection name.

As you’ve likely spotted through this review, the Bravur La Grand Boucle II comes paired with the buyer’s choice of a yellow or black FKM strap or a steel Milanese mesh (for an extra $50 USD), all of which are quick-release. The waffle-print racing-style rubber strap is quite comfortable on the wrist and the perforations allow for some venting, which should be helpful on hotter days. The brand also included a black leather quick-release strap. which can be purchased separately, but dulls things down a bit, in my opinion.

I think the entire Grand Tour collection stands on its own, without a need to make its appeal directly to cycling fans. That’s the power of effective creative inspiration: taking the source and incorporating it in a way that’s subtle enough for those who don’t care and apparent enough for those who do. That’s what Bravur’s La Grand Boucle II and all the chronographs in the Grand Tour collection do: nods to cycling with colorful designs and a dash of quirk. If you like this model, I suggest moving on it quickly, as Bravur is in the process of releasing the third generation of all three Grand Tour chronographs, all with black cases and exciting new dials. The Bravur Grand Tour La Grand Boucle II is limited to 50 pieces and priced at $2,550 USD; it can be purchased directly from Bravur. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

Necessary Information:
>Brand: Bravur
>Model: Grand Tour La Grand Boucle II
>Price$2,550 USD
>Size: 38.2mm-wide, 14.4mm-thick, 46.3mm lug-to-lug distance, 18mm lugs
>When reviewer would personally wear it: When doing or observing sports, especially cycling
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: My friend’s dad, who is an avid cyclist, but is wanting for what we may call “real watches”
>Best characteristic of watch: The colorful dial and its Easter eggs
>Worst characteristic of watch: Due to the smaller case diameter, it can look stocky on the wrist; 18mm lug width may be a turnoff for some


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