In the US, one of the less known LVMH watch brands is Chaumet. LVMH, for those who don’t already know, owns brands such as Zenith, Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer, Hublot, and Dior. I really enjoy some of Chaumet’s watch designs, but with models names like “Dandy” they might need a marketing refresh to be US market viable (if that is even in the cards for them). Lets not dwell on trivial marketing issues and focus on one of their cool watches from a few years ago. The Parisian brand released this Chronograph model back in 2006 I believe. It is a bi-compax style chronograph watch with a round face in a cushion case. Probably the best conceived cushion style case around. This is aided by the interesting design of the lugs.Chaumet is all about modern art deco design. Part of that is a play on asymmetry. You’ll note the “racing stripes” (as I call them) on the dial that flow into the strap. This is a common element in many of their watches.
The black dial here is hard to appreciate in images. It has various shades of black from the stripes to the subdials. The polished steel segments on the dial including the hands are hour markers are eye-pleasing and calming. There are a variety of unique, but simple shapes all over the watch that aid to it being easy to love. the crown has a black cabochon it in to match the dial, while the chronograph pushers are tapered to create the illusion that the case itself tapers as well. Large lug screws feel instrumental and masculine. This is a men’s watch after all.
The present assortment of the Chaumet Dandy is a display of “Dandyism” in the best tradition. The original version is still accessible, but now combined with a slightly more subdued version coming with Arabic numeral dial, sub-seconds in 9 o’clock and far more common alligator strap. Let us call it a Dandy undercover. More intriguing though it gets with the chronograph. This view still offers the asymmetrical dial but appears more balanced because of both sub dials. Even though the Dandy is referred to as an oblong, the case is more of a cushion. The time-only version is 38mm wide and large and isn’t a little watch, but the automatic chronograph adds two millimetres to this and includes a generously sized case 40mm wide by 40mm high. Particularly when you opt for the steel bracelet, you’re wearing quite a substantial watch. The bracelet also features an asymmetrical layout, and at a time when many of bracelets seem equally, this is very refreshing.Chronographs aren’t the only complication which Chaumet incorporated in the Dandy-collection. Very interesting is the Dandy Metronome. This watch includes a complication with a smart method of 2 seconds hands that run in the opposite direction to one another, making the look of a metronome on the dial. This complication was originally developed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht for its Steinway & Sons Seconde Metronomique, really the watch collection of the famous piano-builder. The Dandy Metronome is housed in a white gold case and comes with a black and white theme on the dial along with the strap. It had been released in 2011 as a limited edition of 100 pieces to commemorate the 200th year following the birth of Frederic Chopin. What is Chaumet’s link with Chopin? Chopin used to reside at the building in Paris where Chaumet’s boutique is now situated.
In French fashion, this is a “brand” watch. The Chaumet name is largely highlighted on the dial creating a lifestyle component to the timepiece. Big polished letters remind you that you are a Chaumet man. A “dandy” man as well? At least the Dandy name isn’t on the watch anywhere. At 40mm wide the case is a solid medium size, though it will wear “large” given the relatively thin bezel. Chaumet uses a Swiss ETA 2894-2 automatic movement. Though the 12 hour indicator for the chronograph has been removed to give it that bi-compax look. The case is 50 meters water resistant. The dial has a great looking blue chronograph seconds hand that adds a nice splash of color. There are thin strips of SuperLumiNova on the face that are colored to glow blue in the dark. You can get the watch with a leather or steel bracelet. As one of many Chaumet Dandy watches this is a nice rendition for a man who likes the style, but doesn’t want to venture into the more avant garde territory that some Chaumet watches can go into. Price for these watches retails for $3,000 – $6,000 I think
You can get one of these Chaumet Dandy Chronograph watches with the steel bracelet for about $3,900 on James List here.