MICRO MONDAYS: The Charlie Paris Concordia Automatic offers vintage style tested in Antarctic blizzards

MICRO MONDAYS: The Charlie Paris Concordia Automatic offers vintage style tested in Antarctic blizzards

Thor Svaboe

Last week, you might have spotted the evocative Charlie Paris logo depicting a stork in flight during our story on the new French Wave of microbrands. Today, we turn to the brand’s heavyweight offering: the Charlie Paris Concordia Automatic diver’s watch.

Available for pré-commande (come on, let’s do it the French way), it’s a fresh and beguiling mix of strong vintage cues without being a total homage. Believe me, that’s not an easy task with close to 70 years of diver’s watches to be subconsciously inspired by.

Charlie Paris Concordia Automatic

Charlie Paris was founded in 2014 by Adrien Sanglé-Ferrière and Ambroise Parlos. Based in Paris in the 6th arrondissement, they’ve already built up a strong catalogue of references with their Concordia models the latest example of the current vintage-inspired zeitgeist.

William Wood Triumph

The Concordia Automatic, their first mechanical watch, comes in three timeless versions of a sixties diver’s watch. These include the elegant versatility of classic monochrome black, a mid-navy blue that is as versatile as a linen-mix summer jacket, and a icy cool silvery white that brings a more contemporary vibe to the classic skindiver look.

The design may be crisp and refined in the slim 40mm case, but that’s not to say this watch can’t take a beating. Charlie Paris chose to put the Concordia through a hardcore test of endurance the likes of which I’ve never seen from a small independent brand.

Matthieu Tordeur is a young French adventurer who set a world record for crossing Antarctica single-handedly.  For 51 days in temperatures down to -37 degrees, Tordeur wore the Concordia Automatic as he made his way over nearly 1150 kilometres of icy tundra. In the process, he became the youngest explorer (and the first French one) to ski from the coast of the Antarctic continent to the South Pole.

So while the Concordia is a watch infused with a mature elegance for such a young brand,  this is a seriously robust timepiece. At a thickness of only 12.7mm, the Concordia has a 300m depth rating and a 3mm domed sapphire crystal, so let’s just say it’s a tough guy that happens to wear a sharp suit. With a pitch-perfect ’60s small-sized numeral unidirectional rotating bezel, the diving credentials are also here to be tested.

Most of us appreciate 38-41mm watches more than a few years ago, as we now realise that a 316L steel case of a 40mm diameter does not, in fact, make us any less virile. The only potential drawback: your partner is even more likely to “borrow” your watch.

That’s particularly true here with the dials of the three Concordia models offering examples of graphic balance ringed with a silver minute track. The go-to mix of round and rectangular indices are applied and exhibit a nice thickness that shows Charlie isn’t skimping on quality. The sharp sword hands are a French twist on classic skin diver hands, with a cool square lollipop seconds hand, and a clean-cut date window at 6. As a finishing touch, the dial has a pop of red above the date window, and lights up with Super-Luminova® on the indexes and hands at night. Under the hood, the Concordia is equipped with an automatic STP Swiss calibre with a decent -0/+15secs a day and a good 44 hour power reserve.

Happily, Charlie Paris clearly understands our penchant for customizing as demonstrated by the fact  they offer a wide choice of straps. From soft brown leather to a delicious Milanaise mesh, the pre-order price is the same, but the choice makes the Concordia a sports watch chameleon of real versatility.

Just to reiterate, however, this watch backs style with substance. As co-founder Adrien Sanglé-Ferrière points out: “The watch has always been an essential tool for explorers, which is why, as a young watchmaking house, we are so happy to have had the opportunity to develop the Concordia with the adventurer Matthieu Tordeur.”

Personally, I think this Antarctic adventure background also elevates the watch’s credibility and accentuates the great value it brings.  If this piece of French mid-century elegance can withstand the icy blast of -37 degrees, then it can certainly handle your daily commute.

The Charlie Paris Concordia Automatic, price and availability:

The Charlie Paris Concordia Automatic is available for pre order at the time- limited price of 595 EUR, go to Charlie Paris here.