And the winner is… Porsche. Well, if we focus on cars engaged at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, there’s no question anymore. Porsche is the clear winner of the 2015 edition of the legendary race, with their cars finishing 1st and 2nd positions, in front of Audi Sport. However, in the race of watches celebrating a partnership with one of the Le Mans teams, we have a new competitor, just after the TAG Heuer Nismo and the Oris Audi Sport – and the new Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Jacky Ickx Edition has quite some arguments to be the first to cross the line.
While the watches celebrating the partnerships with 24 Hours of Le Mans teams Audi Sport and Nismo/Nissan – meaning a TAG Heuer and an Oris – are pleasant but technically simple chronographs (both reasonably priced and featuring classical Sellita movements, clones of a Valjoux 7750), its seems that Porsche requirements in terms of technical specs are drastic, as the watch proposed by Chopard plays on another level. Indeed, it’s like comparing two chassis builders outsourcing a robust movement to a fully integrated car builder, that conceives the aerodynamics, the chassis and the drive train. The analogy is simple: TAG Heuer and Oris are creating (nice) cases and use a Sellita movement while Chopard comes with a watch designed and developed fully in-house, movement included – something that has an impact on the final price of course.
The Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 is not a total stranger to us, as last year, Chopard already introduced an edition of this watch, also celebrating the partnership with Porsche Racing. This year, the Superfast Chrono (we previously introduced the entire Superfast collection) comes with a few visual adjustments and seals the arrival of a new ambassador, the racing-legend Jacky Ickx. The Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Jacky Ickx Edition has a 45mm case in stainless steel (the same than the previous Porsche 919 Edition), with a rugged and sporty shape: large screwed bezel engraved with a tachymeter scale, rubberized crown and pushers, striated flanks, large 60-minute scale on the inner flange… This is quite a masculine watch.
The main novelty concerns the colours used on the dial. The inner flange and the two chronograph sub-counters (at 3 and at 9) are now painted with a dark and matt blue, contrasting with the silvery-white background. These colours are reminiscent of Jacky Ickx’ helmet (white and dark blue). The dial also shows vertical patterns that are inspired by the rear splitter of the Porsche 919. It features a date at 4:30 and a small second at 6. The chronograph hands are all painted in red for an easy read of the timing data’s and time is displayed through 2 large hands coated with luminous material.
The main advantage of the Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Jacky Ickx Edition compared to the 2 other teams engaged in the race of the Best Le-Mans-inspired-watch is certainly its movement. While the TAG Heuer and the Oris both feature a robust but simple outsourced engine (something that explains their lower price tags), the one of the Chopard had been developed in-house, at the Fleurier Ebauches ateliers. The Calibre Chopard 03.05-M is an integrated automatic chronograph engine, actuated by a column wheel, chronometer certified by COSC, boasting 60 hours of power reserve and featuring a flyback function.
The look and finish of this movement (that can be see through an exhibition back engraved with the inscriptions “Official Timing Partner Porsche Motorsport” and “Jacky Ickx Limited Edition”) is kind of special, as all the bridges are fully opened with vertical lines, again a reference to racing cars and their ventilation grids. The bridges are chamfered and the screw-heads polished. The lightweight and opened rotor allows a nice view on the technical components.
The Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Jacky Ickx Edition is delivered on a rubber strap with folding buckle. It is a limited edition to 100 pieces that will be priced at 10.930 Euros. If we focus our race of the Le-Mans-inspired-watches on the technical content, Porsche wins the game both on the track and the wrist. The Chopard engine is certainly more exclusive and features the finest functions. However, our race also has to focus on something not suitable to race cars: the price. For this reason, we’ll have to admit that Chopard plays in another category.