Here at OT we’ve been looking recently as affordable alternatives to certain watches, be it the Speedmaster, Day-Date or whatever. They’re out there and, should you not want to drop 5k on a brand name, might very well get your attention. One name that kept coming up in that respect was Emile Chouriet.
Until recently however, Emile Chouriet never really gave me pause. They’ve always been nice, well-made watches with stock movements, like so many others out there – which has always been the problem. This year though, the manufacturer has released a pair of watches that made me look into it a bit further.
The first was the Challenger Deep Red, a simple, functional, 300m dive watch with a stunning dark red sunburst dial. It’s a small twist on the classic diving watch but sometimes that’s all you need. Then came this piece, the Lac Léman. It’s Emile Choruiet’s take on sports elegance, marrying an elegant dial with a well-executed chronograph. Previously it’s not been all that interesting, with paired-back dials – bar a few bejewelled versions. Then came the chronograph and power reserve, which made things sportier with altogether more going on. Now comes the latest version which to my mind is one of the loveliest ‘sports elegant’ watches in its price range.
Like the Challenger Deep Red, it’s a slight twist on the standard models that makes this new Lac Léman stand apart. That twist is the power reserve which, rather than the usual spiral indicator is instead shown on a ship’s wheel. Given the links between the Lac Léman and its namesake Swiss lake, the nautical quirk is a fitting one, all the more so against the ocean blue dial, which is actually lighter and brighter than you might think. The power reserve indicator is itself set against a light-blue/silver backdrop, a counterpoint to the chronograph subdials against much darker blue. In some ways it reminds me of the Farer Cobb chronograph with it’s many shades of Aqua, just a little more restrained and, well, Swiss.
The chronograph itself is restrained and easy to use, with only the tachymeter making things look a little more technical, all of which is readable in the 42mm stainless steel case. The case itself is incredibly solid and actually uses a tungsten bezel for a little added durability. It wears a little larger than the diameter due to Emile Chouriet’s signature flared and stepped lugs that appear on all of its watches.
The movement is dubbed the EC8658 and unfortunately isn’t Emile Chouriet’s new in-house calibre. That would be the EC5318. Still, it’s a solid enough ETA mechanism and, not being a horological purist (read, snob), it’s fine by me. That’s doubly true given how much it brings the price down. The Lac Léman blue comes in at £2,390. Sure you might be able to get a Tudor for that, but take brand name out of the equation and you’re unlikely to find as well-built, handsome a chronograph as this for that price anywhere else.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Emile Chouriet Lac Léman Chronograph Blue
Case/Dial: 42mm diameter x 13.0mm thickness, stainless steel, tungsten bezel, blue dial
Water Resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: Caliber EC8658, automatic
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 3h, date at 4h, power reserve at 6h
Power Reserve: 42h
Strap: Blue leather strap with folding clasp
More details at emilechouriet.ch