The Swiss brand has issued a “king of bling” member of its C1 Chronograph collection. Although being animated by an average self-winding caliber (some connoisseurs may find the choice of movement disappointing, but I would say that it is adequate since the mechanical part is not the main focus here,) the automatic Concord C1 Chronograph Amethyst (ref. 0320100) is adorned with 217 amethysts totaling stunning (and quite taxing on your bank account) 13.8 carats.
As you can see for yourself on the promotional pictures below, there is not a square millimeter of surface that was not adorned with a baguette-cut amethyst. Well, okay, speaking literally, there are some places that were not paved with the precious purple-colored stones, but those are functional areas including all three sub-dials and a place reserved for the brand’s logo. All the rest was devoted to the shiny stuff.
There are 64 stones on the bezel, 2 more stones on each of eight decorative “crenellation” tabs on the bezel ring (those are normally used as “bumpers” to protect the fragile sapphire crystal that protects the dial, but I suppose that you don’t want to use them as such wearing this particular version,) 16 more amethysts on the 18-karat white gold setting crown (it is that rare instance when a daringly oversized crown actually makes at least someone’s life easier by allowing paving it with amethysts of the same cut as those on the bezel,) and yet another batch of 8 stones on each of the two chronograph push-pieces.
Too, crafted from 18-karat white gold as the rest of the body, the pushers are as oversized as the watch itself supposedly making it more comfortable to operate, although I am not sure that it will be as comfortable to wear thanks to the parts being so huge. I am fairly sure that a person who’d dare to wear one of these ultra-expensive trinkets will get a lot of chronograph false starts during a single evening.
Even the dial is paved with 32 baguette-cut amethysts!
Frankly, I have nothing personal against the use of precious stones in watchmaking. However, like it was the case with the infamous Hublot Black Caviar million-dollar timekeeper, there is something incredibly vulgar, a kind of “from rags to riches,” about this kind of trinkets. Like a gold-plated Bentley or a platinum pissoir.
According to Concord, the C1 Chronograph Amethyst will be sold in a 44 mm white gold case that will house an unspecified Valgranges (probably ETA A07.211 since they used the same movement in their “plain” C1 Chronograph model in steel*) COSC-certified chronometer movement.
Decorated in-house, the movement will feature a snailed and branded winding rotor with Geneva stripes decoration.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
* UPDATE ON MOVEMENT: Okay, the wristwatch in fact uses a Valgranges A07.211 made by ETA. While not particularly revolutionary or even especially advanced, this is still a good mechanism that features an Etachron regulator system that makes the watch better at keeping time, as well as a stop-seconds device that makes it easier to set correct time if you are one of those persons who set their watches (twice a day) to signal broadcasted from an atomic clock near you.
Concord C1 Chronograph Amethyst (ref. 0320100) specification
Price: €275,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Valgranges A07.211, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Snailed rotor, Cotes de Geneve motif, C1 logo engraved in the center
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case: White gold
Size: 44.00 mm
Dial: Paved with amethysts
Hands: White gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Purple alligator leather strap with 18-carat white gold folding clasp set with 11 baguette-cut amethysts
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Sapphire, antireflective, screw-down