The New Chopard Imperiale Moonphase Is Celestial Dance At Its Prettiest
Editor’s note: Like you, we are also excited for the releases from the Watches & Wonders 2021. Before we get to dive deep into the releases and go hands-on with as many of these as the two of us here can, here’s our preview and the Gut Reaction Review (Grr…) of the new Chopard IMPERIALE Moonphase. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
The naturally-sprinkled-with-stars aesthetic aventurine dial that showcases the five main northern hemisphere constellations — Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Cassiopeia, Cepheus and Draco — is what first caught my eye. A rather unique design, it sets the stage for a beautiful ladies moonphase watch.
Of course, the next thing that catches our eye is the diamond mania that covers the various design elements including the characteristic bezel, lugs and lug-covers that are set with diamonds totalling three carats. Even though it’s not for me, I have always been amused by the design language of the Imperiale series. As an architect, I appreciate the various design cues taken from the past: the shape of the lugs that are proportionate and reminiscent of ancient columns, the beautiful arabesque motifs taken from the embroidery of the draperies of monarchs, the different looking open-worked sword-shaped hands, the befitting Roman numerals, and the curved crown recalling the appearance of a lotus. Of course, all of these features in the new Chopard Imperiale Moonphase are covered in diamonds, a look that only gets enhanced by the celestial dance of the timepiece.
But charming aesthetics aside, my biggest pleasure when reviewing this watch stems from the fact that the watch features an automatic movement. More often than not brands relegate either cheaper quartz movements or outsourced movements when it comes to ladies watches, making them the poor cousin of the men’s watches.
So it comes as a welcome surprise, like a pleasant breeze of fresh air, that Chopard has decided to go the in-house route with this release. Not only does the new Chopard Imperiale Moonphase feature the entirely in-house made 96.25-C movement with automatic winding, it is also certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). And to even further sweeten the deal, the calibre 96.25-C also provides with a generous 65-hour power reserve.
The new Chopard Imperiale Moonphase has a rare quality for a ladies watch – it’s a beauty with brains. And I reckon it’s best suited for a lady who not only knows what she wants, but also appreciates the delightful world of fine watchmaking.
Watches & Wonders 2021 presents the new Chopard Imperiale Moonphase ref. 384246-1002 in white gold retailing for 52’600 CHF. This regular production release features the Chopard 96.25-C movement that comprises of 32 jewels, beats at the frequency of 4Hz, and offers a good 65-hour power reserve. The 28.4mm diameter and 4.7mm thick movement is encased inside a 36mm diameter and 9.84mm thick case that is also thankfully water-resistance to 50m. The case features a diamond-set ethical 18-carat white gold crown.
The movement helps display central hours and minutes, and the quirky rhodium-plated Imperiale-motif small seconds at 6’o clock. The moonphase display at 12’o clock offers astronomical accuracy that reduced the precision error in the duration between two successive new moons — known as a lunation — to just 57.2 seconds.
The Imperiale range currently has 45 references, from quartz to automatic, and from simple steel watches to diamond-covered beauties, and even a freakin’ amazin’ tourbillon (ref. 384250-5005) for women. There are also two moonphase variations.
The first time this complication was introduced was in late 2017 with the ref. 384246-1001. This was recently joined by the ref. 384246-5001. Mother-of-pearl dials being the focus here, the new Chopard Imperiale Moonphase’s aventurine glass dial really steals the show and sets itself apart in the overall collection.
My personal favourite so far had been the 36mm white gold model ref. 384242-1005 with a muted but highly elegant blue mother-of-pearl dial with a subtle burst of diamonds. It again features an automatic movement and is a Chopard boutiques-only model.
Coming back to the new Chopard Imperiale Moonphase, this has now become my top pick from this collection, simply because even if I ignore the movement specifications, the dial is very pretty and aesthetically the moonphase doesn’t seem forced; it is very well integrated into the design, rather than simply adding a ‘sad-face’ style moonphase counter at 6’o clock and calling it a day.
The brand’s press release poetically describes this new release: “attired in deep blue and lit up by the fire of diamonds, IMPERIALE Moonphase offers a delicately shimmering interpretation of the lunar cycles”.
A sans-diamond moonphase watch in steel but with the same movement would be highly welcome. I reckon it’s time brands paid more attention to the entry-level ladies market.
That’s All Folks!
Visually the dial is the star of the show. The aventurine glass moon disc rests in the middle of two blue plates made of sparkling aventurine glass dial studded with constellations. The central diamond-set white gold decorative fillet and the diamond-set white gold hour-markers bring in the celestial theme full front and centre, ready for the wearer to be charmed by being in the presence of the beautiful timepiece. A glossy blue alligator leather strap on an 18-carat white gold pin-buckle completes this divine aesthetic.
“Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise,” wrote Victor Hugo.
This year, come fall in love with the new Chopard Imperiale Moonphase. If you are in the market for a stellar looking timepiece that does more than just pass off as a pretty piece of jewellery, look no further. This celestial themed beauty is here to start off 2021 for Chopard on a soul-soothing, star-studded paradisal note.
To find out more about the new Chopard Imperiale Moonphase and other Chopard watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise specified are Copyright © Chopard, All rights reserved. Make sure to check out our reviews of other Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.