Chopard Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition
The Chopard Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition incorporates an 8Hz automatic movement within a black DLC-coated titanium case. High frequency movements offer useful benefits to consumers, however, the obstacles they present can often prove insurmountable. In this instance, Chopard has overcome such challenges, delivering a highly accurate timepiece with chronometer certification (COSC).
This detailed review of the Chopard Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition includes live images, specification details and pricing.
In 2012, I attended the launch of the first Chopard Superfast models. Initially, the watches were available only in 18-carat rose gold but in 2013 steel models joined the family. At the heart of these Superfast models were three manufacture movements, made in the company’s Fleurier workshops.
Later, in 2014, Chopard became a partner of the Porsche Motosport LMP1 team in its inaugural year of competition. The Swabian car marque made a remarkable return to motorsport, participating in the World Endurance Championship and securing titles in 2015 and 2016. The championship winning car, the Porsche 919 Hybrid was teeming with technology and power.
A few years ago, Chopard launched the Superfast Chrono, Porsche 919 Hybrid Edition in steel and it remains a current model. Now the Genevan luxury brand has produced a new version of the Superfast, the Chopard Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition.
While the Chopard Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition shares a likeness with other members of the Superfast family, it brims with cutting-edge technology. In particular, its space age case material and high frequency movement distinguish this watch as extraordinary.
The surface of the matt black dial is enriched with a multitude of elements. A smooth central section runs north to south, playing host to the watch brand’s nomen, the word ‘Chronometer’ and 919 branding. A series of ribbed sections, running perpendicular to the aforementioned section, fill the remaining dial area. This juxtaposing of different lines infuses the dialscape with a high quotient of eye-appeal.
Rhodium-plated, openwork hour and minute hands proclaim the time with clear and unequivocal tone. The tips of each hand are lined with luminescent fill. The rhodium-plated sweep seconds hand is slender, features a red tip and has a hurried gait, courtesy of the 8Hz movement.
A date display is positioned at 3 o’clock. The date disc matches the colour of the dial, a detail often lacking on lesser watches. The crisp white numerals sit close to the dial epidermis, heightening legibility. A power-reserve indicator is located opposite the date display and resembles a car’s fuel gauge with the word ‘Full’ prominently stated at one end. A red area below indicates the spring barrel is devoid of energy. The design of this indication proves very stylish and highly functional.
The black rehaut is marked with Arabic numerals, in a distinctive typeface, positioned adjacent the luminescent hour markers. A series of grey lines straddle the areas between said Arabic numerals, imbuing the rehaut with a dynamic, sporty appearance.
The design of the case will be familiar to existing owners of the Chopard Superfast. The bezel, marked with hour markers and 12-minute integers, is held in position with eight purposeful bolts. This imbues the watch with a very masculine appearance. A rubber-moulded, screw-locked crown sits between the shoulders of a crown protection device, granting the watch a degree of robustness. Interestingly, the vertical flank of the crown is adorned with a steering wheel decoration, reinforcing the watch’s automotive symbolism.
The case of the Chopard Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition is made from black DLC-coated beadblasted titanium, differentiating the model from its forebears. The stealthy black tones of the case, with its mottled surfaces, sit deferentially against the generously proportioned dial. Titanium is renowned for its strength and lightweight properties, two traits which are highly desirable in a wristwatch. In addition, the black DLC treatment accords a high degree of scratch resistance, ensuring the watch retains its showroom-fresh appearance.
Measuring 45mm in diameter, the Chopard Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition is sizeable. However, the curved and scalloped lug design, together with the featherlight case material, ensures that wearing this timepiece is a very pleasant experience. The black rubber strap, with its ‘slick tyre pattern’, and folding clasp heighten wearer comfort.
Recessed lines span the casebands, echoing the ridged lines found on the dial. It is the clever use of contours, along with other design details, which elevates this watch to an impressively high level.
Chopard has equipped this timepiece with an exhibition caseback. Similar to the bezel, the caseback is held in position with eight hexagonal bolts. The number of bolts, and their design, implies a high degree of solidity. The pane of sapphire crystal positioned above the movement is adorned with Porsche Motorsport branding and the proclamation that Chopard is the ‘Official Timing Partner Porsche Motorsport LMP1 Team’.
Movements with a high frequency proffer greater precision. In addition, the balance exhibits a greater tolerance to impacts. Lastly, the high vibration of the balance ensures less fluctuation in rate when the watch is held in different positions.
On the face of it, all watch companies should offer high frequency movements, however, it is not quite so simple. High frequency movements can experience greater wear, especially on the escapement and there can be increased consumption of lubricants. Furthermore, they quaff energy, reducing stated power reserves.
At Baselworld 2012, Chopard unveiled the L.U.C 8HF, a timepiece incorporating high-end finishing, for which L.U.C is known, and state of the art silicon technology. Interestingly, the balance on this watch had a frequency of 57,600 VpH (8Hz), twice that of most mechanical timepieces.
Clearly, Chopard mastered the challenges of high frequency movements when creating its L.U.C 8HF, a watch that received widespread critical acclaim. Now, the Swiss watch firm has employed its vast expertise to create the new calibre 01.11-M, an automatic movement featuring a silicon escapement.
The silicon escapement, comprising of the impulse-pin, pallet lever and escape-wheel, is especially light, mitigating energy consumption. Moreover, silicon exhibits low-frictional properties, reducing wear, obviating the need for lubrication and reducing energy consumption. Finally, silicon is corrosion resistant and non-magnetic, both desirable characteristics in a wristwatch.
Despite the balance resembling a whirling dervish, frenetically oscillating to and fro, the silicon escapement ensures the calibre 01.11-M has a parsimonious thirst for energy, manifest with its impressive power reserve of 60 hours.
As stated earlier, the calibre 01.11-M delivers high levels of precision. Chopard has not only affirmed the impressive accuracy of this movement in its literature, but also provided independent reassurance in the form of chronometer certification from the COSC.
Beyond its technical virtues, Chopard has enriched the movement with attractive aesthetic details. The movement bridges eschew the ubiquitous Côtes de Genève motif in favour of contemporary plates featuring a grille-type design. The appearance of the bridges resemble ventilation grilles on a car, again reinforcing the automotive symbolism. The oscillating weight is openworked, affording impressive views of the bridges and balance below.
The design of this watch is superb. It exhibits a masculine mien and is contemporary in appearance. The design language incorporates octane-rich elements that reinforce the associations with Porsche Motorsport. The openworked hands could suggest a desire for low mass, an obsession for competing race teams. The fuel gauge power-reserve indicator would not look out of place in a race car’s cockpit. The eight bolts holding the bezel in position look similar to those encircling a fuel flap. Quite simply, the automotive influences are omnipresent.
The DLC treatment of the case is said to make this timepiece ‘virtually scratchproof’. The weight of the black DLC-coated titanium case is pleasingly low, augmenting wearer comfort. In addition, the undersides of the lugs are scalloped which, together with their curving lines, ensure the watch head sits flat against the skin.
Infused with modern materials and up to the minute know-how, the Chopard Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition is a technical tour de force. In particular, Chopard has shown, once again, that it has mastered the use of silicon. The lightweight material has been employed by other companies but few brands have been able to reach the dizzying speeds of this 8Hz movement. The benefits of a high frequency movement are relevant to all prospective watch buyers. In the years to come it will be interesting to see if silicon is used for making other watch components and whether this will deliver advancement. Should silicon technology develop further, I suspect, based on past evidence, that Chopard will be at the forefront of this cutting-edge technological field.
- Model: Chopard Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition
- Reference: 168593-3001
- Case: Black DLC-coated beadblasted titanium; diameter 45mm; height 12.4mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 10 ATM (100 metres).
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds seconds; date; power-reserve indicator
- Movement: Calibre 01.11-M; automatic movement; frequency 57,600 vph (8Hz); 37 jewels; power reserve = approx. 60 hours
- Strap: Black rubber strap with slick tyre pattern and folding clasp in DLC-coated titanium
- Price: £13,100 (RRP as at 10.10.2018)
- Limited Edition: 100 pieces