While this Chopard Happy Sport Medium (ref. 278559-3001) doesn’t introduce anything new in terms the shape of its bulky-looking body or dial layout, the new member of the family marks the dawn of a new era for the Swiss watchmaker (or, at least, for the HS model range): it is in fact the first Happy Sport that swaps a simple and not particularly inspiring quartz movement for a more stimulating self-winding caliber.
Although I know a number of ladies that wince at every mention of a mechanical caliber (at the end of the day, a good quartz movement is more reliable, light-years more accurate and easier to maintain even than an excellent automatic engine), there are lots of them that will probably react enthusiastically to this news.
After all, a mechanical movement, with all of its drawbacks, is not only nobler but is also as pleasant to look at as a flow of cold, clear water or the red and yellow sheets of flames dancing in the fireplace. Well, I’m getting too poetic, I suppose.
In its press release, Chopard doesn’t specify which movement exactly did they use to power the Chopard Happy Sport Medium watch, but, judging by its technical specs, I can assume that this is probably a redecorated version of the ETA 2824-2*.
Like the rest of the family, the watch comes in a generously proportionate body. Around 36 millimeters in diameter, the case looks massive, mainly thanks to its wide bezel that was probably designed to house dozens of diamonds to accompany the free-moving precious stones under its front sapphire crystal.
The impression of enormity is further reinforced with the wide, sword-shaped hour and minute hands and a set of a trifle tacky Roman numerals, all of them treated with shiny rhodium coating perfectly matching the silver-toned dial. The elements, by the way, will not hinder the seven diamonds from floating across the face as you move your hand since they are comfortably sandwiched between two sapphire crystals.
* UPDATE ON MOVEMENT & PRICE: The watch is in fact powered by Sellita SW 300-1, which is usually referred to as “ETA 2892 replacement” (you probably already know that ETA calibers are in short supply for some time now as the Swiss maker of blank calibers decided to gradually withdraw from the free market and fully concentrate on supplying their ebauches only to members of the Swatch Group. The mechanism from Sellita is considered to be basically of the same quality and, as far as I know, most of their parts interchangeable with respective ETA movements, so servicing a watch powered by a Sellita mechanism should not be a problem.
As for the price, the (ref. 278559-3001) will be offered at CHF 7200, which is basically okay for a timekeeper featuring more than 0.5 carats of precious stones decorating its dial and crown.
Chopard Happy Sport Medium (ref. 278559-3001) specification
Price: CHF 7200 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber Sellita SW 300-1, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 26
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: Cotes de Geneve motif
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case and Bezel: Stainless steel
Crown: Stainless steel with blue sapphire
Size: 36.00 mm
Dial: Silver-toned, Arabesque guilloche pattern
Hour markers: Rhodium-plated
Hands: Sword-shaped, rhodium-plated
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Violet alligator leather strap with steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective