The new Chopard 24 Hours of Le Mans 2015 Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Jacky Ickx Edition (Ref. 168535-3003) (wow, that’s a really long name indeed) is, for all practical purposes, simply a new iteration of last year’s Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 ref. 168535-3002 model. The only thing that makes it visually different is a set of new color accents on the dial and bezel flange. Now also proudly wearing Jacky Ickx’s signature on its engraved case back cover, the watch was originally designed to celebrate the long-standing partnership between the two high-end brands, but, it so happened that it also praises Porsche’s decisive victory at 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It’s almost like they knew it, that’s the only thing that comes to mind when you think about this new timekeeper. Somebody at Chopard who made the bet has a strong sense of precognition when it comes to outcomes of major competitions. Unveiled hours before this year’s endurance race begun, all 100 individually numbered examples of the limited edition watch will probably be dead sold out at the time you are reading this brief review.
What’s really nice about this timekeeper is not its small production number or a facsimile of the legendary pilot it boasts on its back. It is the fact the watch is actually beautiful in its own technocratic way that makes me smile just looking at this piece.
While sporting the same elements as the base model, the new watch sports a number of elements of exterior styling that make it even more desirable with its look, which is both sportier and somehow more refined than the 2014 version. It is that rare event when adding corporate colors to otherwise monochromatic design made the timepiece look a lot better.
Offered in the same stainless steel body that measures 45 mm in diameter and just over 15 millimeters thick, the watch is definitely not small. On the contrary, it is deliberately massive. It is massive to such an extent that in some cases (for example, if your shirt’s or jacket’s cuffs are on a tighter side) it may be a bit uncomfortable to wear, especially during cold weather when you would have to choose either hiding the piece inside your bomber jacket’s sleeve or suffer from cold.
However, its proportions make it look just a little oversized, while relatively short lugs allow it to hug your wrist in just the right way without overhanging (look at the picture below: the Superfast Chrono looks quite home on Mr. Ickx’s left hand).
The case is well-shaped, although some may find its exterior finish a bit over the top when it comes to all these engraved lines that somehow remind me of luxury coffee machines with their brushed steel surfaces and black accents.
Speaking of black, there is lots of it. The rubber-molded crown and chronograph push-pieces; the rubber strap and eight PVD-treated screws on the bezel; as well as hour and minute hands come in this dressy color making the watch look even more high-tech and, well, expensive.
The pushers could probably be more ergonomically shaped (for that 1 percent of customers who will actually use the flyback chronograph more than once), but the oversized crown is just perfect to be operated by even clumsiest fingers.
The flyback chronograph movement that powers the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2015 Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Jacky Ickx Edition is the same Chopard caliber 03.05-M that, as the Swiss watchmaker claims it, is “designed, developed and produced” in-house. Officially certified as a chronometer by COSC, the mechanism styling that is similar to the body with lots of “weight-saving” slits machined out of massive parts comprising the movement including not only bridges but also the balance cock.
The open-worked oscillating weight looks a bit too simple to my taste, but it probably refers to the steering wheel of Mr. Ickx’s Ferrari 312P. I also must admit that it matches the general styling of the caliber.
As I have already noted above, the Jacky Ickx Edition looks better than the base model. The dark blue color of its chronograph sub-dial greatly increases its legibility not only allowing you to faster single out the 12-hour and 30-minute indicators (they are located at 9 and 3 hours respectively) with just a brief glance but also offering a better background for its bright red sword-shaped hands.
The small seconds display is nicely blended into the silver-toned dial and the single Arabic numeral at 12 hours, too, looks extremely cool thanks to a well-chosen typeface that is further reinforced with oversized numerals on the minutes ring and the (inescapable) tachymeter scale on the bezel.
The thick strips of Superluminova on the hour and minute hands make the device even more legible greatly enhancing its nighttime legibility.
Perhaps, the only thing that looks out of place here is the relatively small calendar aperture, but that’s my personal preferences. As for the pricing, the MSRP of $13,100 is to be a bit too impressive, even for a watch that is powered by such an advanced mechanism as the cal. 03.05-M. On the other hand, with so much mojo densely packed into the stainless steel case, it’s sort of hard to resist the temptation.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Chopard 24 Hours of Le Mans 2015 Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Jacky Ickx Edition (Ref. 168535-3003) specification
Price: $13,100 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber Chopard 03.05-M, 28.80 x 7.60 mm, COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 45
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 60 hours
Movement decoration: Machine-brushed, open-worked oscillating weight, polished screw heads
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, flyback chronograph
Case and Bezel: Stainless steel, polished and brushed
Crown: Rubber-molded steel
Size: 45.00 mm
Case height: 15.08 mm
Dial: Opaline, silver-toned
Numerals: Arabic, luminous, black
Hour markers: White, luminous
Hands: Luminous, black
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap with polished steel folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Solid, engraved