Le Mans 2017: A Double Victory for Porsche and Chopard

Vidas Rach

On 17–18 June, car enthusiast had their eyes on the French city of Le Mans. This annual ritual has been taking place since 1923, and the prestigious race is often called the "Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency".

This is one of the most challenging races around: drivers squeeze everything they can out of their cars while simultaneously pushing the limits of the human body themselves as they race for three hours at 340 km/h, even at night. That is the record that the Porsche team set in 2015. The Porsche team fought again this year for their 19th victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, squeezing everything they could from their car. And they reaffirmed once again that they are in excellent technical and physical shape – in front of 258,000 spectators, the German team's car marked #2 crossed the finish line first, beating their two main competitors, Toyota.

Porsche #2 in the race
Porsche #2 in the race
© Chopard

Racers Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley won the coveted trophy in their innovative Porsche 919 Hybrid. Nick Tandy, Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani in the sister car came home after a technical problem that did not allow the car to go back on track. No other manufacturer than Porsche has managed to win the world’s toughest endurance race so many times (19 times) and is so closely connected to the myth of Le Mans.

Brendon Hartley Timo Bernhard Earl Bamber
Brendon Hartley Timo Bernhard Earl Bamber
© Chopard

There are some nice coincidences in this story related to the number 19: the car was a Porsche 919 Hybrid, it was the team's 19th victory at Le Mans, and there were two watches with 919 in their name. That's right – two very sporty watches "rode" together with the winning team: the Chopard Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition and the Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Edition.

Why is the word "Superfast" in the name of a watch? Let's try to compare the mechanics of horology with cars and we will see that there is a lot in common. Lightness, efficiency, technicality: the new Chopard high-frequency watch epitomizes pure performance. The technologies used by Chopard to create Superfast watches bear strong similarities to those featured on the Porsche 919. The car chassis is made of aluminium and carbon fibre composite to ensure maximum lightness and rigidity. The Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition is made of bead blasted titanium that is ultra-light, comfortable and resistant. The latter quality is reinforced by a black DLC treatment based on the technical possibilities afforded by carbon and rendering this timepiece virtually scratchproof.

Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition
© Chopard

The Porsche 919 is powered by a 2-litre, 400hp V4 turbo engine, coupled with a 500hp electric engine. Chopard calibre 01.11-M is also a hybrid. It was entirely developed, produced and assembled within the workshops of Fleurier Ebauches and represents a watershed between two generations of materials. 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 engine, thus enabling maximum acceleration thrust. In much the same way, Chopard calibre 01.11-M operates at the ultra-high 8Hz frequency that Chopard is the only watchmaker to use and master.

Its regulating organ oscillating at 57,600 vibrations per hour (8 Hz - compared with 4 Hz for ordinary mechanical movements) boasts an exceptional rate-resumption capacity. In case of jarring or vibrations, which are of course extremely frequent during the World Endurance Championship, the precision of Chopard calibre 01.11-M is protected by this brisk cadence. Just like the Porsche 919 which regularly sets new energy efficiency records, the Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition flaunts a run time of around 60 hours, whereas its energy-consuming high frequency would normally have implied reduced autonomy. Sophisticated fine-tuning has enabled Chopard to maintain this generous power reserve.

Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition
© Chopard

It's broad 45 mm diameter makes it a distinctive chronometer, dedicated to racing buffs, aficionados, and drivers. It's wide bezel is secured by eight black PVD-treated steel screws, giving it a first technical touch – an impression subsequently reinforced by the new model’s hands. The latter are cut-out and therefore extremely light, as well as being well contrasted and broad to enhance legibility. The contrast theme is also picked up on the minute circle graduated with Arabic numerals like a rev counter, as well as on the railway-track scale with its super-fine graduations, the hour-markers, the date and the power-reserve indicator – all of which appear in white against the black background of a matt dial.

The dial bears the four signatures that define the personality of 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 recalling that this watch is equipped with a movement chronometer-certified by the COSC.

Another this year Le Mans watch – Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Edition also dedicated to the new Porsche 919 Hybrid. This sophisticated COSC chronometer-certified flyback chronograph, picking up the design codes of the racing car, is issued in a 919-piece limited edition.

Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Edition
© Chopard

This imposingly sized chronograph with its 45 mm-diameter case and flyback function beats to the pace of a mechanical Chopard 03.05-M calibre, chronometer-certified by the COSC. This ‘engine’ and its oscillating weight may be admired through a sapphire crystal engraved with the inscription “Official Timing Partner Porsche Motorsport”. Inspired by the new Porsche 919 Hybrid, the stripes on the dial evoke the racing car’s rear diffuser. Likewise, the “919” appearing in a red rectangle inside a 9 o’clock subdial is identical to the number of the Porsche racing cars. Finally, the rubber strap is inspired by slick tyres serving to negotiate bends at extremely high speeds.

Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition

Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition
Superfast Power Control Porsche 919 HF Edition
© Chopard

Case

Black DLC-coated bead blasted titanium, diameter 45 mm, water resistance 100 metres. Matt black rubber-moulded screw-locked crown with steering wheel in DLC-coated stainless steel, glare proofed sapphire crystal, open-caseback bearing the “Official Timing Partner Porsche Motorsport LMP1 Team” inscription and Porsche Motorsport logo. Engraved and lacquered black DLC-coated titanium bezel, 8 PVD-coated black steel screws.

Movement

Self-winding movement Chopard 01.11-M, number of jewels 37, power reserve approx. 60 hours, frequency 57,600 vph (8Hz), chronometer-certified (COSC).

Dial and hands

Matt black dial with red, white and grey transfers, red and white “919” logo at 6 o’clock, transferred seconds and quarter-seconds graduations, rhodiumed, hollowed-out, Super-Luminova®-enhanced hours and minutes hands, red-tipped rhodium-plated central sweep-seconds hand, rhodium-plated baton-shaped power-reserve indicator hand, rhodium-plated Super-Luminova®-enhanced hour-markers.

Strap and buckle

Black rubber strap with slick tyre pattern, folding clasp in black DLC-coated beadblasted titanium.

100-piece limited series, Chopard boutiques exclusive.

Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Edition

Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Edition
Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Edition
© Chopard
Case

Stainless steel, diameter 45 mm, water resistance 100 metres. Screw-locked crown with black rubber-clad steering wheel motif, glareproofed sapphire crystal, open case-back bearing engraved “Official Timing Partner Porsche Motorsport” inscription, steel bezel with tachometric scale secured by eight PVD blackened steel screws.

Movement

Mechanical self-winding chronograph Chopard 03.05-M, number of jewels 45, power reserve 60 hours, frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz), chronometer-certified (COSC). Dial and hands: opaline silver-toned dial with red inner bezel ring transfers, “919” logo in the 9 o’clock counter, metallic black hour and minute hands and hour-markers, enhanced with Superluminova, arrow-tipped red sweep-seconds hand, red hour and minute counter hands, metallic black seconds counter hand.

Functions and displays

Central display of the hours, minutes and seconds, small seconds at 6 o’clock, date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. Chronograph: seconds with flyback function, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock. Tachometric scale.

Strap and clasp

Black rubber strap (slick tyre tread motif), polished steel folding clasp. 919 pieces limited edition.