Offering a completely outrageous blend of materials and textures, the new Dior Chiffre Rouge C03 automatic wristwatch seems to be inspired by some extremely eclectic fashion collection. The polished gold of the indicators and hour markers (well, actually the elements are gold-plated), the slate gray of the dial and body create a watch that looks like an ultimate fashion accessory that may get you in trouble with your parents if they are of a more traditional kind. If only it wasn’t so small!
Dior’s Chiffre Rouge family of fashion watches has long been known for its brutal, even somewhat crude design. Eclectic to a point of being eccentric, the collection often features combinations of materials, forms and shapes that would probably make some famous industrial designers rotate quite energetically in their comfortable graves and picturesque cellars.
For example, take a look at this particular specimen. Limited to just 100 pieces, the new Dior Chiffre Rouge C03 combines plain steel body with a grey metallized mother-of-pearl dial that serves as a background for gold-plated hands and hour markers. If that wasn’t enough, the whole ensemble is emphasized with a couple of red accents (a trademark of the series).
Besides the usual red strip on the notched setting crown, there are also red numerals near the two o’clock. Seen through the big date aperture that comes courtesy of the well-known Zenith 691 caliber (it also happens to power their Zenith Elite Captain Moonphase family of timekeepers), the letters probably symbolize the proverbial blood that streams from the eyes of an unsuspecting customer when he (or she) sees this beauty for the very first time.
Alas, the movement that powers this thing is not of that revered El Primero kind that buzzes at 36,000 vibrations per hour. Beating at a more common cadence of 28,800 vph, the mechanism nevertheless gives you healthy 50 hours of power reserve, which make it more comfortable to own if you don’t (and you possibly don’t) plan to wear it on a daily basis.
Well, as I have already noted above, the watch is both eclectic and eccentric that, well, seems to explain everything. The device was clearly not designed to compete with fine timepieces made by Patek Philippe, Breguet or the aforementioned Zenith. It seems to target wealthy men that simply refuse to grow old. While I can’t imagine a CEO wearing this thing (even for an informal party after an extremely successful IPO), I think that a guy like Jude Law would look quite good in this.
Perhaps, the only thing that troubles me a little is the size. Measuring the classic 38 millimeters in width, the watch looks somehow too small for its shape. For me it produces the same kind of “not very serious” feeling that I get when I see a VW Tiguan standing right beside a Hummer H2 or some other American monster of that sort. With all of these brutal angles and rough surfaces, it just HAS to be at least 45 millimeters wide! Well, that’s subjective, I know.
See also: Dior Chiffre Rouge M01 Limited Edition
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Dior Chiffre Rouge C03 Automatic limited edition watch specification
Price: €7000 (MSRP, ref. CD084C11A003)
Movement: Automatic, Zenith 691, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 27
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 50 hours
Movement decoration: Brushed rotor, circular Geneva Stripes on the quarter plate, perlage
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, big date, moonphase
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 38.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Grey metallized mother-of-pearl
Hour markers: Rose gold-plated
Hands: Rose gold-plated
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black perforated calfskin strap with steel deployant clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire, tinted