Chopard is an intriguing brand. They have the history enthusiasts desire (yes, they were, first and foremost, a watch company, despite the common misconception), and the innovation coming from their ateliers today is enough to make any watch geek drool incessantly. Perhaps more impressive, though, is that Chopard is one of the few watch companies to own a gold foundry in which they expertly forge precious metal cases and jewelry. But why—then—is the company so senselessly pushed aside in debates involving high-end horology?
Welcome to this week’s edition of Buying Time. This week, I have selected four great pre-owned watches that are all manual wind chronographs. Due to the intricate mechanics required for operation, manual wind chronograph calibers are arguably some of the most beautiful and intriguing calibers out there, especially at the high end. My list spans a broad price range this week, but mostly focused on the pricier stuff. I will start things off with an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo 11, then we’ll climb the ladder to a special edition Chopard L.U.C 1963 chronograph that I absolutely love and I think is a great buy for the money. After this, we’ll really step it up with two incredible watches: the F.P. Journe Centigraphe, and a Patek Philippe 5170J chronograph. The great thing about a top notch shop like Govberg Jewelers (our partner in this weekly pre-owned curation) is the quality of pieces that come their way — these last two pieces certainly aren’t watches that come onto the secondary market very often, so you should give them serious consideration if you are in the market. Now let’s get into it!
Since 1988, Chopard has been the partner and official timekeeper of the prestigious Mille Miglia Race. This is one of the longest running watch/event sponsorships I can think of, a testament to the special relationship between the folks at Chopard and the prestigious Mille Miglia. Every year for the Mille Miglia classic car race, Chopard releases a limited edition watch, a special take on the current year Mille Miglia production series watches. Though I, generally speaking, tend to love these editions, there is even more to like this year as the Mille Miglia series is now built with an in-house Chopard COSC caliber. So let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Seen here are two new versions of Chopard’s L.U.C Quattro. The watches — in either 43mm platinum or rose gold case — are a real delight on the eyes. These are worthy and impressive looking additions to the Quattro family, with these new references receiving a nice dose of color which is further enhanced with the sunburst finish. In other words, these models bring some much welcome zest as compared to prior iterations of the Quattro. They carry on the Manufacture’s superlative the L.U.C 98.01-L movement which first launched in 2005; it four-barrels which provide 9-days of power reserve (see Did You Know below for more on the 98.01-L). Bonus points to anyone who can explain how to read the combined date + small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock (I’ll explain below).