With the Imperiale Joaillerie, Chopard demonstrates its dual identity as watchmakers and jewellers. The watch has a self-winding mechanical movement, enclosed in a case set with 581 sapphires, for a total of 47.98 carats, and requiring over 1,000 hours selecting, cutting and setting the gems. The rainbow setting is stunning, with colours running right through the rainbow, on the bezel, and then on the five concentric circles on the dial. Even just seeing a piece like this is quite an experience – and in fact I was so mesmerized by the dazzle that I forgot to turn it over and take a photo of the caseback.
The hands are open-worked but are still very visible, silhouetted against the gleaming jewels. The crown is set with sapphires and an amethyst cabochon, and the bracelet also has a rainbow progression from the orange at the top to violet where it meets the bottom lugs. The case is in rose gold, 40 mm in diameter, 10.6 mm thick, with 5 bar/50 metres water resistance.
The movement is the Chopard 01.03-C made by Fleurier Ebauches, a company in the Chopard Group. It runs at 4 Hertz (28,800 vibrations per hour) and provides 60 hours power reserve. It can be viewed through the display caseback.
The Chopard Imperiale Joaillerie is reference 384240-5003, price €597,400, 580 000 Swiss francs, US$580,000.