The hand-wound Chopard L.U.C. Quattro (Ref. 161926-5001) is a nice attempt at making the good old Quattro Collection relevant again in the world where a dress watch smaller than 40 millimeters in diameter rarely deserves a second glance. Featuring new styling cues and offered in a bigger, bolder case, the new model makes a strong impression.
Beating inside the case is the well-known Caliber 1.98 hand-wound movement.
First presented more than 10 years ago, the movement is made solely in-house and is protected by two international patents and features a sophisticated energy storage system with four co-axially placed spring barrels, hence the name of the series: Quattro (swallow that, Audi!)
The set of barrels allows for a pretty much impressive power reserve of 216 hours or whole 9 days. Of course, recently there appeared a number of new, even more capacious movements capable to count time for as long as 10 days, but the Caliber 1.98 was the first of its kind.
During its long life the cal. 1.98 spawned a number of other movements, including the regulator type Caliber 1.98-37089 that was first revealed in 2004 and the caliber 1.02 with a tourbillon escapement.
Elegantly decorated with Cotes de Geneve stripes and proudly bearing the Poincon de Geneve Hallmark, the hand-wound movement is perfectly visible through a sapphire display back.
Besides a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock, the movement also features a somewhat awkward-looking small seconds sub-dial that also doubles as a simple date display.
Although looking overloaded, the double-duty design frees some dial real estate and also counterbalances the art deco-styled power reserve display.
Speaking of size, I must note that the second generation has grown significantly bigger.
While the original Chopard L.U.C. Quattro was introduced in a modest case only 38 millimeters in diameter, the Quattro Mark 2 is presented in a somewhat cheeky 43 mm body.
However, since the height of the case remained virtually the same, the new version looks even thinner than the original totaling only 7.22 millimeters in its thickest point.
The dial has also changed.
Besides the fact that the Arabic numerals were replaced with even bolder Roman numerals, the watch also features new Dauphine fusee-type hour and minute hands, as well as the blued date and power reserve hands. The latter, by the way, seems to be inspired by similarly styled indicators in pre-WWII era elevators and plays nicely with the aforementioned Roman numerals and overall styling.
The recommended street price is still unknown, but I expect the watch to retail at around $30,000 or even more.
Chopard L.U.C Quattro Mk. 2 (Ref. 161926-5001) specification
Price: CHF 23,500 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber 1.98, 28,800 vph, 39 jewels, four spring barrels, in-house, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Diagonal Cotes de Geneva stripes, Poincon de Geneve Hallmark, polished screw-heads
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, power reserve
Power reserve: 216 hours / 9 days
Case: 18-karat rose gold
Size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 7.22 mm
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Hand-sewn brown alligator leather strap lined with brown alligator leather; Pin buckle in 18-karat rose gold
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Sapphire, antireflective