The Grand Prix de Monaco is held every two years and sees vintage racing cars competing on the Monaco Formula 1 circuit. Every two years since 2002, Chopard has been the sponsor and timekeeper for the event, and has presented a limited-edition watch celebrating the race. The Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2016 Race Edition comprises two new limited-series chronographs, brimming with car-racing details. They are powered by self-winding ETA 7750 movements, and so prices are lower than Chopard’s chronographs with in-house movements.
Designing an impression of speed
The racing details include the piston-like pushers, the steering-wheel logo on the crown and solid caseback (along with the Automobile Club de Monaco logo), the perforated Barenia “racing strap,” and the “road-sign” hour markers, with arrow-shaped tips coated with SuperLuminova. The circular texture of the dial is described as “speed blur” by Chopard, and the concept is more visible on the subdials, with stacks of short lines that suggest the cartoon sketch lines of speed.
Case and dial
The watch is large at 44.5 mm, with a thickness of 14.1 mm. The caseback is screwed on, and the watch has a water resistance rating of 100 metres. It therefore becomes a practical watch for everyday use. On the dial, the chronograph indications are in orange or blue colour, according to the version, with central chronograph seconds, chronograph minutes at 12 o’clock and chronograph hours at 6 o’clock. Continuous seconds at 9 o’clock, nicely balanced by the compact group on the right, with the Chopard brand name, the collection name, date window, and the word Chronometer, showing that the movement is certified to chronometer precision by COSC.
On the bezel, there is a grey band with tachymeter scale, with dots in the highlight colour. The case is nicely detailed, with two grooves, one just under the bezel and one on the side of the bezel adding a dark machine-like accent. There is also a NATO strap for the watch, in grey with stripes matching the highlight colour of the piece. The straps are interchangeable. Each watch is supplied with both the Barenia calf strap and the NATO strap, along with a special tool that enables the owner to change the strap himself quickly and easily.
A passion for car-racing
All this car stuff is derived from Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s passion for vintage cars and racing. Like Ralph Lauren, he has his own collection; there are also similarities in the way visual elements of their hobby ended up in the watches. It’s interesting that the Chopard watches are very modern in design, in contrast to the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique which celebrates racing cars of the past. It’s an expression of the increasingly popular vintage trend, in this case vintage cars often driven by vintage drivers. I don’t know anything about the race, but they seem to go fast, and so in addition to the thrills and danger of car-racing, they must also be worried about the risk of damaging a pristine vintage Bugatti. Here is an example of a mishap on the circuit (at about 1 :15).
The self-winding chronograph movement is made by ETA, the Valjoux 7750, 37.2 mm in diameter, 25 jewels, running at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hertz), and providing about 46 hours power reserve. It is chronometer-certified by COSC.
Price and reference
The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2016 Race Edition is made in two versions: titanium and stainless steel, an edition of 500 pieces, and 18-carat rose gold, 100 pieces. The titanium-steel version is reference 168570-3002 and costs €6,790, 6,890 Swiss francs, US$6,890. The rose gold version is reference 161294-5001, price €20,990, 21,300 Swiss francs, US$21,300.