Chopard never ceases to amaze with its new products introduced at BaselWorld each spring, and this year was no exception. Introductions in the Mille Miglia, Grand Prix, Imperiale and Happy Sport collections, as well as in the well-loved L.U.C series (including the Tourbillon QF Fairmined limited edition as seen here) promise new vitality as well as an expansion of horological scope in existing ranges. At a show press conference, co-presidents Carl-Friedrich and Caroline Scheufele personally introduced the new models, giving anecdotal information about each and discussing their company’s journey toward sustainable luxury, a multi-year program launched by Chopard at the Cannes Film Festival 2013
In addition to the aforementioned L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined, other memorable pieces have been added to the range, including the 8Hf Power Control and the Qualite Fleurier. The former is a 42 mm black ceramic watch powered by the L.U.C 01.09-L automatic movement with 60 hours of power reserve. It is limited to 250 pieces. The latter is a multi-certified chronograph that follows on the prestigious tails of the 2005, 2009 and 2011 L.U.C Qualite Fleurier models. The 39 mm watch comes in rose gold and is powered by the L.U.C. 6.09-L automatic movement with 65 hours of power reserve thanks to its double barrel Twin Technology. The XPS 35mm—the first models in this series with an eye toward women—houses the L.U.C 96.12-L with a 65-hour power reserve. The ultra-thin case comes in rose gold, with or without diamonds.
The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique has come into its own this year, now offering a complete range of watches as exemplified in three new models: Automatic, Power Control (with a power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock) and Chrono. In honor of the dynamism of the biennial race for which it is named, this year’s collection is an entirely new design, featuring a 44.5mm titanium and steel case and yellow accents on a silver-toned snailed dial. Each has an automatic movement with 46 hours of power reserve, and each is COSC certified. The Automobile Club de Monaco logo is stamped into steel back of the water-resistant case. A black Barenia leather strap with yellow stitching is a fashionable complement, and the chronograph offers a black and yellow NATO strap option upon request, which is a great look as well.
And while we’re on the topic of racing, this year’s Mille Miglia chronograph shows its Italian personality at every turn, using the colors of the Italian flag to create its distinctive look: red tachometric scale and hands, cream dial and green minute circle. The watch has taken on a more vintage look this year, from its soldered straps to the choice of dial fonts, and the usual Dunlop racing tire-tread motif on the strap has been replaced by a calfskin model reminiscent of a “bonnet strap” of a vintage car, which I much prefer to its forebear. This 42 mm limited edition watch comes in steel (2,014 pieces) and in rose gold (250 pieces). Inside is a COSC-certified self-winding chronograph movement with 42 hours of power reserve. The date window is between 4 and 5 o’clock.
Of course the Happy Sport collection, which just celebrated its twentieth anniversary last year, promises new models for 2014—including a stunning Tourbillon Joaillerie model (42mm) with an entirely diamond-set case. It keeps time thanks to the L.U.C 02-16-L movement, which features four barrels and an amazing 216 hours of power reserve. In addition, the Happy Sport Medium Automatic (36mm) now comes in two-tone, steel and rose gold, with a metal bracelet or alligator strap. And finally, the Happy Sport Medium Automatic Joaillerie (36mm) model is featured with diamonds and rubies, sapphires or emeralds.
Chopard’s Imperiale, which was first introduced in the 1990s, welcomes two new monochromatic models this year—one in black and one in white. The distinguishing feature of this collection is its embroidery-like motif meant to conjure the hangings and cushions on which monarchs would place their insignia, and here it is evident on both the dial and strap. The 40 mm steel watches house automatic movements, and the date window is at 3 o’clock.
In the realm of haute joaillerie, which Chopard does so well, two new timepieces were shown in the Animal World collection: a playful brown diamond chimpanzee watch and a secret watch with a snail motif covered in varying shades of brown and cognac–colored diamonds. They are whimsical, sparkly and right on point for a company that prides itself on all things beautiful.