Three new versions of the Dior Chiffre Rouge watch have just been unveiled. The A02 and A03 are refinements of the existing models, which launched in 2005 under the guidance of Hedi Slimane, design director of Dior at the time, while the C03 introduces a moon phase complication into the family for the first time. Still bearing the unmistakable genetic traits of the original, from the word go these watches were born to break the mold and, rare beasts that they are, only 100 of each of the new models will be produced.
The Dior Chiffre Rouge watch is something of a cult object amongst men. For starters it is drop-dead cool, something that cannot be said for many men's luxury watches, which tend to cluster around the safer style havens of 'craftsmanship', 'tradition' and 'elegance'. But, starting with its name, the Chiffre Rouge takes a braver approach. It aims to be different and its clean lines, with impeccably executed quirks, embody the spirit of men's tailoring at Dior.
But don't for a moment think this is a 'fashion' watch, one that will come and go with the seasons - far from it. The Chiffre Rouge is like a tailored suit that only gets better with time and mellows graciously on your wrist. The almost geeky retro style of the case and dial has a Clark Kent appeal. Take another look and the simple steel case and black dial are hypnotisingly handsome.
Named after Mr Christian Dior's love of the colour red, the number, or 'chiffre' - hence its name - is highlighted in red on the date disc. Other oddball touches include the asymmetric arrangement of pushers on the chronograph version and the trademark splash of red in a little band around the crown. On the C03 edition, the moon phase indicator is quintessential Dior minimalism: a stark white crescent travelling across a jet-black sky.
But my favourite detail of all is hidden. The back of the case has a sapphire case back but, unlike other watches, this one has an inky black hue, adding an air of mystery and exclusivity to your viewings of the watches' inner workings. Which are, of course, top notch.
All the Chiffre Rouge watches host superior mechanical movements finished to the highest standards, which is, after all, nothing less than you would expect of a Dior tailored suit.
The 36mm Dior Chiffre Rouge A03 with brushed-steel case and black alligator strap.
The 28mm Dior Chiffre Rouge A02 automatic COSC certified chronograph, with a brushed-steel case and strap.
The new limited edition Dior Chiffre Rouge A02 automatic COSC certified chronograph, with a brushed-steel case and black calfskin strap.
The 36mm automatic Dior Chiffre Rouge A03 with brushed-steel case and strap.
The new limited edition 36mm Dior Chiffre Rouge A03 with brushed-steel case and grey calfskin strap.