The 2011 Chaumet Dandy Chronograph XL El Primero features a mid-sized precious case and an iconic Zenith movement beating at an impressive speed of 36,000 vibrations per hour.
It is always a pity to see an expensive timepiece that is made of gold or platinum and set with dozens of diamonds but powered by a cheap mass-produced movement from ETA or one of its clones.
In most cases, the movements are personalized with branded winding rotors and/or equipped with better parts, but in the end, there is always a vague feeling of being somehow cheated. It is like buying you a Lamborghini only to find out the damned car is powered by a stock Fiat 1.3-liter engine with a “personalized” cover on it made of “hand-made” carbon fiber.
Owned by the luxury giant LVMH together with Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith, the French fashion brand Chaumet has almost unlimited access to all kinds of fine movements to power their high-jewelry watches.
This particular model, for instance, is powered by the Zenith El Primero 4002 automatic chronograph caliber that we have already seen in the rather awkward Zenith Glam’Rock Star El Primero family of chronographs.
As far as I understand, the movement is now discontinued, but Zenith still has a stock of them and is, probably, happy to share it among its sister brands.
Beating at a frequency of 5 Hz (36,000 vph,) the chronograph is capable of measuring time intervals with an accuracy of 1/10th of a second, which makes it on par even with some quartz chronographs.
El Primero 4002’s only weak point that it features only one 30-minute totalizer, so the maximum interval that it can measure is 29 minutes and 59 seconds.
However, since today’s chronographs (especially on this class of watches) are here to serve decorative purposes, this is not a problem.
On the contrary, the absence of the 12-hour counter allowed Chaumet’s designers to create a highly balanced design of the dial with the 30-minute sub-dial at 3 o’clock counterweighted by the small seconds indicator at 9 o’clock.
The applied Arabic numeral at 12 o’clock is, in its own turn, counterweighted by a small date window at 6 o’clock.
By the way, the dial is made of 18-karat white gold with highly decorative blue Grand Feu enamel, which is hard to produce, but, if done correctly, looks absolutely fabulous.
The oversized logo together with the vertical and horizontal white stripes on the dial are here to imitate the iconic design of Chaumet boutiques that was created by architect J.M. Wilmotte and is used throughout the world.
As usual for the Dandy series, the Dandy Chronograph XL El Primero is presented in a mid-sized cushion-shaped case 40 millimeters in width.
Chaumet Dandy Chronograph XL El Primero specification
Movement: Automatic, Zenith El Primero 4002, 36,000 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Branded oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, date
Power reserve: 50 hours
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 40.00 mm
Dial: 18-karat white gold, blue Grand Feu enameling
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black Louisiana alligator strap with blue double stitching and platinum deployant buckle