I’m a sucker for a chronograph, and of all the iconic chronograph designs, none are quite as instantly recognizable as the perfect TAG Heuer Monaco replica. Every element of this model, from the inside out, was revolutionary when it first debuted in 1969 (and frankly, is still pretty special over 50 years later). It housed one of the first automatic chronograph movements, the caliber 11. It showcased a distinctive square case shape, and it notably featured the crown on the left-hand side with the pushers on the right. As if this one-of-a-kind design wasn’t enough, the Monaco became a pop-culture legend on the wrist of Steve McQueen two years after its initial release in the film Le Mans.
Sure, I’m immediately drawn to any chronograph watch, but the Swiss made fake Monaco won’t just grab your attention as one of the world’s first self-winding chronos. It ticks all the boxes of a true icon. If you’re a diehard enthusiast looking for a model with a significant place in the history of watchmaking, look no further. If you’re more of a racing or film junkie who appreciates the pivotal role watches play in sports and our culture, the Monaco is equally important. No matter what your preferences or passions, the Monaco is an instant conversation piece. Plus, this particular example we have in the Shop right now, the 1133B, was not only one of the original references but also the exact reference McQueen wore on screen.
In my opinion, Hublot wrote the manual on collaborations with other brands. While Rolex, Longines and Ebel pioneered this field, Hublot took it to the next level. A personal favorite of mine occurred in 2017 when Hublot joined forces with Fiat heir and style icon Lapo Elkann and Rubinacci, a tailor – like Kiton – from Naples, Italy. They provided the Classic Fusion with straps and dials made of (vintage) fabrics from the Rubinacci archives and created, in my opinion, a benchmark.
I had to let go of my mental images of these Hublot models to assess the best fake Chopard L.U.C XP Il Sarto Kiton watch honestly, and that didn’t happen until the watch was put in my hand at Chopard’s headquarters in Geneva. The irony of this moment was not lost on me: to appreciate a tailor-made suit, you also need to see and feel it. Only then can you comprehend what makes it a superior product.
It was the same with this perfect fake Chopard watch. I realized that the black DLC coating on the stainless steel case was not used to make the watch stand out but rather to tone down its appearance.
The bead-blasted finish of the case focuses attention on the dial and texture of the cashmere strap. Because the houndstooth motif is not actually fabric, you can appreciate the intricate repetitive pattern, which looks a little similar to a painting by Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher.
While I would have rather seen the signature red Kiton button more discretely placed on the crown, I understand why it is on the dial, making it something of a secret signature for those who know the brand. While a strap crafted in Kiton’s signature cashmere cloth was mandatory, I find the red alligator-skin lining a stroke of brilliance, skillfully underscoring both brands’ excellence and imparting a genuine sense of luxury.
I am less excited by the red stitches on each side of the strap where it meets the lugs. While this splash of red offers a nice color accent, it is a trend that we have been seeing for some years now, and I feel that both Chopard and Kiton are beyond that.
Another thing that I find essential when two brands decide to collaborate is their venture’s sincerity. Of course, it is also about commercial success: although both Kiton and Chopard are family-run businesses, they still have to make a profit. Beyond this, though, there needs to be a viable connection, some shared nucleotides in the DNA that make a collaboration worthwhile.
Chopard and Kiton share commonalities on multiple levels. Their heritages are is similar as is their outlook on business and product development. Both companies are owned by families that look long term and focus on the human aspects of their activities. They are also nicely matched in terms of style as they are both grounded in classic craftsmanship with a contemporary attitude.