Review: The Concord C1 Chronograph
Since 2007, Concord has been revamping its entire portfolio of timepieces, and offering watches with a focus on sporty, avant-garde design. The 105-year-old company founded in Biel has a long history of setting milestones and new records in watchmaking - Concord was one of the earliest watchmakers to incorporate gemstones and jewels in its timepieces, and invented the coin watch, which was later popularised by other watchmakers. It also set a record for making the slimmest watch with the Delirium timepieces, but these days, it's less focused on creating ultra-thin timepieces. We had the C1 chronograph with us for a few days, and took the opportunity to try out what this watch was like on the wrist for a few days.
The C1 collection was created in 2007/2008 with the creation of two models, the C1 Worldtimer and QuantumGravity Tourbillon. This was followed with the C2 collection as well as the Saratoga line, a series of watches that are more understated but still bearing a similar style to the C1. Then came the C1 BlackSpider tourbillon watch, a cool timepiece inspired by the automotive industry with its suspended movement design. Concord continued to receive feedback about the design of the C1 collection, and this year presented a newly refurbished C1 chronograph.
Rather than overhaul its work for the last six years, Concord has refined what it's done with the C1. The large bezel inserts fitted with screws on the C1 Worldtimer, while the case retains its strong and distinct chiselled octagonal form, that looks almost like it's been sculpted from a block of steel. It's been slimmed down a notch, measuring 15mm now rather than 16.7mm - still a hefty machine but rather more palatable - but the case has expanded to 47mm from 44. Clearly, Concord believes in a strong identity and that the oversized watch trend suits its ethos of powerful and striking design.
While most watchmakers implement integrated lugs using a pin to secure the strap to the watch case, Concord has gone and screwed the strap straight to the case. There are benefits to this: it means that the strap has a 90 degree range of movement to fit various wrist sizes. Coupled with a slightly curved case back that lifts the large middle from the wrist, this means that it's easier for the watch to fit smaller wrists. However due to the thickness of the leather strap, it does require a little inbreaking before you will find it fully comfortable to your wrist. It does mean that customising your strap requires going through Concord. Though one does feel the size of the watch, it's not uncomfortable in any manner.
The bezel inserts, which were previously made of rubberised metal, are now in ceramic, which is durable and rugged and perfect for the sporty timepiece. In addition, to relieve the watch of its heft, the C1 chronograph is available in titanium, which is half the weight of stainless steel and stronger in comparison. On the dial, the textured bezel has been modified using a rectangular pattern, unlike the previous C1 chronograph with a carbon fibre dial. Subdials mirror the design of the watch case with octoganol shaped displays, with a tachymeter on the inner bezel.
At just under S$11,000, the watch is very well-priced. It's also clearly driven towards its motoring inspiration and refined in style. The watch bears a far closer resemblance to the C1 BlackSpider, which is probably one of the most iconic Concord timepieces made in recent years. With a large case design, this means that it will surely allow for more future complications; we look forward to seeing it with added variations.