Le Mans, France: Saturday 17th June 2017
At 15:00hrs local time, the 24 Hours of Le Mans race started and by the time you read this, Chopard has revealed the latest Superfast watch to mark the 4th season as “Official Timing Partner of Porsche Motorsport LMP1 Team”. After winning a record 18 times, Porsche will be eyeing its 19th success in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Chopard presents the Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition, produced in a 100-piece limited series and embodying pure performance thanks to a new Chopard ‘engine’, the high-frequency Calibre 01.11-M.
Porsche: Le Mans legend
Porsche at Le Mans is the stuff of legends. Having scored 16 victories between 1970 and 1988, Porsche stopped racing as a factory team for 16 years and allowed Audi to win 13 times at Le Mans.
The Porsche one-two finish in 2015, followed by a final-lap victory in 2016, added to its winning record. While Porsche’s first participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans dates back to 1951, its first victory came in 1970. The winning Porsche 917K did it again the following year, before Jacky Ickx and Porsche jointly put their names on the roll of honour in 1976, 1977 and 1981 with a Porsche 936; and in 1982 (the last of Jacky Ickx’ six victories in Le Mans) at the wheel of a Porsche 956.
The Porsche 956 achieved wins in 1983, 1984 and 1985, before passing the baton to the Porsche 962C which won the 1986 and 1987 editions. The 1990’s saw Porsche score four more victories: with a Dauer-Porsche 962 Le Mans in 1994; Joest Porsche TWR WSC in 1996 and 1997; and finally, with a Porsche 911 GT1-98 in 1998. Such is the exceptional track record that Porsche enriched in 2015 and 2016 by winning Le Mans with Chopard’s support.
Chopard and Porsche Motorsport: shared values
The constant battle for performance and excellence is shared by Chopard and Porsche Motorsport. They both achieve their goals by innovations in mechanical engineering. These qualities are also shared by watch aficionados and motoring devotees alike.
The return of Porsche Motorsport to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Le Mans Prototype Class 1 (LMP1) reveals the ambitions of the German manufacturer; Mission: Future Sportscar. They started with the Porsche 918 Spyder ($932,000 with top specifications) and World Endurance Racing helps that development.
With a minimal weight of 870 kilos, the LMP1 cars consume 30% less fuel with the same performance as previous models. The organisers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans are proud that never in the history of motorsports has a set of regulations gone so far in taking account of “sustainable resources” challenges.
Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition
High frequency for high performance
After three editions of the Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 chronoographs, this year’s model takes an innovative faster route. Watch lovers will, no doubt, smile indulgently at the fact that it is literally a “superfast” engine driving the watch. The new Chopard high-frequency watch is all about pure performance. As a tribute to Porsche, Chopard incorporated the virtues of technology, power and efficiency into an all-black, high-frequency chronometer.
Technology and Efficiency
The Porsche 919 chassis is made of aluminium and carbon fibre composite for lightness and rigidity. The Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition is made of bead-blasted titanium that is ultra-light, resistant and comfortable. The black DLC (diamond like carbon) treatment on the titanium renders this timepiece virtually scratchproof.
Power and Efficiency
The Porsche 919 Hybrid is powered by a 2-litre, 400hp V4 turbo engine, coupled with a 500hp electric motor. Chopard calibre 01.11-M is also a hybrid. It was entirely developed, produced and assembled within the workshops of Fleurier Ebauches and is at the confluence of two generations of materials science. It is made of brass and steel, with a silicon oxide escapement at its heart. The turbochargers of the 919 are maintained at optimal rpm by an electric motor for maximum acceleration thrust. The Chopard movement 01.11-M beats at the ultra-high 8Hz frequency for precision timing. Usually, modern watches run at 4 Hz or 28,800 vibrations per hour (vph).
Its regulating balance wheel oscillates at 57,600 vph for exceptional rate-resumption capacity. In case of jarring or vibrations, the mechanism returns to regular oscillations quickly so the precision of this Chopard movement is protected by the superfast cadence.
Just as the Porsche 919 sets new energy efficiency records, the Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition has a power reserve of around 60 hours despite the ‘engine’ running twice as fast. This is measured by a cheeky fuel gauge or ‘power control’ on the left side of the dial.
Although there are similarities with the Porsche 919 Hybrid, the Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition is still a member of the Superfast collection. Like all it’s garage-mates, the 45 mm case diameter makes it a distinctive chronometer, dedicated to racing buffs, aficionados and drivers. The eight black PVD-treated steel screws on the wide bezel alludes to the technical touch; an impression reinforced by the watch’s hands.
The hands are cut-out to be extremely light, as well as being broad to provide good contrast and enhance legibility. The design motif of good contrast is seen on the minute circle graduated with Arabic numerals like a ‘rev counter’, as well as on the railway-track scale with super-fine graduations, the hour-markers, the date and the power-reserve indicator – all of which appear in white against a matt-black dial.
The designers incorporated four signatures that define the Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition:
- The first is the Chopard logo, spelt out in straight, clean-cut baton-type letters.
- The second is the “Chronometer” inscription indicating COSC chronometer certification attesting to the continual demand for chronometer-level precision by Chopard and its co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele.
- The third signature is the letter ‘H’ with an arrow that denotes Chopard high-frequency watches.
- The fourth signature is the white-on-red number 919, as used on the Porsche 919 Hybrid that inspired this 100-piece limited edition.
The strap is made of smooth rubber like the huge slick Michelin racing tyres of the Porsche 919. The finishing of Chopard 01.11-M movement is inspired by car engines. Its bridges are openworked with thin parallel lines and the rotor is skeletonised. Its broad crown is protected by a dedicated rubber moulding and guard, thus ensuring improved security and a firmer grip.
The Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition is an impressive watch featuring an ‘engine’, materials, technologies, treatments and settings that are all worthy of a finely tuned racing car.
Chopard and Porsche Motorsport share a love of automobile engineering and quality that is tested in the most demanding environments.
Ref. 168593-3001 – 100-piece limited edition
Chopard boutiques exclusive
US$17,000 or CHF 15,100 depending on exchange rates and before taxes.
Superfast movements are uncommon so one in a Superfast case is even rarer.
[Editor’s Note: If you get bored by the racing at Le Mans, catch the Kool & The Gang free concert at 21:00hrs – 22:30hrs on Saturday night]
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).