MICRO MONDAYS: Charlie Paris introduces the Alliance 68H and Phase de LuneTime+Tide
Over the past 10 years, French brands have been making real waves in the horological world. The country has seen a resurgence of fine watchmaking that comes in all shapes and forms. You’ve probably have heard of Baltic, Serica and Yema, but have you heard of Charlie Paris? Based in – yes, you guessed it – Paris, the brand has been around for a decade and has become something of a small phenomenon: it is the only French brand I can think of that has a showroom, a repair centre, and its offices all in one location in the heart of the French capital.
That is where they design and assemble their watches, and a recent visit to their HQ allowed me to get my hands on their newest collection: Alliance. The Alliance collection can best be described as being for everyday use, and one might even say that it does it differently than many other watches. Although I wouldn’t dare make the bold claim that Charlie has invented a new type of everyday sporty watch, you may agree that the Alliance models do look different than what you might see on a daily basis.
A Quick Introduction to Charlie and the Collection
From the beginning, Charlie Paris has been making watches for both men and women, and although their collections leaned more heavily on the dressier side at first, recently the brand started making sports watches. From field watches designed for the French organisation responsible for maintaining the country’s hiking trails to exploration watches designed in collaboration with a French explorer who solo-walked the South Pole. Their collections are becoming more sporty and more daring, and this is the context within which the Alliance was born.
The two models making up the new collection—the 68H and Phase de Lune (moon phase in English)—are an amalgam of all of what Charlie Paris has produced in the past 10 years. It has the elegance of dressier timepieces whilst having a somewhat assertive and aggressive look. The Alliance collection is not meant for extreme sports and exploration, however it is more than appropriate for everyday living — with style. As we will see below, there are many little Easter eggs the brand has scattered around in each model that make them rather interesting to look at and wear.
A Unique Case Design and Construction
Before we speak more about each model, we ought to take a closer look at the case. I am no designer but it seems a daunting task to come up with new case designs. We often see more or less the same shapes come back across brands and collections. So it’s refreshing to see something new. The two models presented share the same case design and construction. And there are two elements worthy of highlighting here which immediately caught my attention when I first handled the watches. And these two elements are the reasons why Charlie Paris introduces the Alliance collection as being its most refined work to date.
First, the case sides come with two bevels, one at the top and one at the bottom. Each bevel has a polished surface facing inward while the outer portion is brushed. Coupled with a half-polished fixed bezel and fully polished chamfer, light has many opportunities to bounce off the case, creating interesting light plays. And even without the light show, there is a lot to admire about the case design. Second, the see-through case-back is made of a sapphire crystal that has a domed portion at the centre, encircling the rotor. It feels as if we can touch the movement. And seeing the intricacies of said movement has never been easier and clearer.
The Alliance 68H
The 68H is the more classic looking of the two new models. It has a somewhat assertive appearance given the long and pointy applied markers that angle down toward the centre, and the modern looking leaf hands that confidently point at the hour markers and minute track. There are actually two minute tracks, one on the dial displaying each minute increment and a fully graduated one on the raised, gently sloped rehaut. (I’m not sure whether or not to call this a rehaut or a chapter ring.) Lume is present on the hour and minute hands as well as the hour markers at the cardinal points. A massively framed date aperture is located at the 6 o’clock.
From a dimensions standpoint, the 68H measures 39.5mm in diameter, 46.5mm lug-to-lug, 8mm thick, and comes with 20mm lug width. Being an everyday watch and being endowed with a unique case construction and case-back, the 68H only has 30 metres of water resistance.
Admittedly, this is not a lot but you might quickly forget about this fact when looking at the movement powering the 68H. Indeed, this watch comes with a La Joux-Perret G100 which beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with….drumroll…68 hours of power reserve. This little jewel has blued screws and Côtes de Genève decoration.
The Phase de Lune
The Phase de Lune on the other hand offers a different type of horological experience. As its name indicates, it comes with a moon phase displayed at 9 o’clock, and one that I find particularly interesting to look at. At 6 o’clock there is a sub-register displaying the running seconds and a date aperture at the 3 o’clock. The latter has a little trick up its sleeves: there is a magnifying glass placed on top of the aperture, on the dial (as opposed to on the crystal) making reading the date easy. Overall, the Phase de Lune has an asymmetrical dial layout that is surprisingly neat to look at.
The Phase de Lune has virtually the same dimensions as the 68H — it’s 39.5mm in diameter and 46.5mm lug-to-lug — however it is 1mm thicker (9mm) to accommodate for the extra complication. The caliber inside is the Soprod C105 that comes with a perpetual moon phase, meaning it only has to be adjusted every 122 years and 51 days. (Non-perpetual moon phase calibers have to be adjusted every two and a half years.) The C105 beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with 42 hours of power reserve. The Phase de Lune also has the incredible domed sapphire case-back construction and 30 meters of water resistance.
Although I didn’t point it out, the Phase de Lune and 68H come with the same design language. The former is more complex than the latter, however both look equally assertive in an elegant way. If you are the type of person who generally finds everyday watches plain, then perhaps you will find yourself attracted by the Alliance collection.
The Charlie Parker Alliance 68H and Phase de Lune pricing and availability:
Each model comes in two colours, white and blue, and they are currently available for pre-order with an estimated delivery of July 2023. The pre-order price for the 68H is about $1,485 USD (full price is $1,762 USD) while the Phase de Lune will set you back $2,093 USD on pre-order and $2,425 full retail. You can learn more about the Alliance collection here.