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The LOUIS XVI Palais Royale could be the heirloom of a king. The assumption is not far away. In fact, the extravagant wristwatch is based on a royal model. Visually, the Palais Royale really shakes up the functional watch market. But what about the quality? The test result is surprising…
The Watch King
Most of my recent reviews have been about watches that had two things in common. Either, they were functional and simple or they quoted a historical model by reviving its design. Quite often, both were true. This time everything is different. My review model today is neither incredibly functional, nor a tribute to a famous watch. Nevertheless, or perhaps because of that, it is so interesting.
The LOUIS XVI brand also proves that long-standing tradition is not crucial for an exciting watch. The beginnings of the brand with the unusual name date back to 2012. Its namesake, the French king Louis XVI, had been dead for over 200 years by then. No, this is not the famous Sun King. King Louis XVI went down in history as the last king of France. His great passion for watches has also been passed down. The king is even said to have disassembled and assembled watches himself. This did not only inspire the founders of LOUIS XVI, who ultimately decided to name the newly founded brand after the royal watch lover.
In the last 10 years, the brand has managed a remarkable rise. LOUIS XVI can call itself an established watch brand. However, sober and straightforward designs were never part of the recipe for success from the beginning. LOUIS XVI likes to experiment with different materials and shapes. The resulting designs would probably never have been possible with traditional brands with a solid image. Often the watches break with our familiar habits and many a product manager would have shouted ‘stop’ at a certain point. Here, the proverbial clocks seem to tick a little differently.
An unboxing with a letter seal
This becomes obvious when you unbox the chronograph with the royal name Palais Royale. A simple box can’t be enough. And so, right under the lid, you’ll find a welcome letter in the form of a letter. Obviously, a lot of attention has been paid to the high level of detail. The “letter” is sealed with a royal seal. The watch box also has another surprise in store. It contains a tool that you can use to fasten your bracelet and then loosen the pins of the stainless-steel links. It’s not uncommon for a watchmaker or jeweler to shorten a bracelet for around 20 euros!
My first impression on the wrist
The LOUIS XVI Palais Royale would probably have been worn on the wrist by France’s last king. Perhaps he would have even designed it that way, provided the materials and manufacturing techniques could have been produced that way in the past. Then, of course, in the yellow-gold garb, as my test model with the reference number 1018 has.
The historical-looking design elements that cover the wristwatch are striking. These are ornaments. The Roman numerals are also strikingly eye-catching. However, it should be said that you can optionally configure the watch with dash indices as well. Yes, this watch looks Renaissance. Strictly speaking, you can’t assign it to a style of this era, of course. After all, first wristwatches were realized only in the 19th century. However, I personally like the combination of the luxurious, historical charm and modern technology.
Which brings us to the topic at hand. Taste is and remains a very personal thing. The LOUIS XVI Palais Royale is visually striking and polarizing. It doesn’t please everyone, and it doesn’t have to. If you prefer a minimalist, technical look, the Palais Royale may not be for you. It is more aimed at men who want to wear an extroverted design on their wrist.
Alternatively, the watch would also be available in silver or black. My favorite, however, is clearly the gold reference 1018. Especially if you wear less jewelry, a wristwatch can be a bit more visible. And there’s no question that gold is currently celebrating a comeback.
With a diameter of 43 millimeters, the Palais Royale remains pleasantly slim and measures only 12 millimeters in height. A weight of 175 grams is just fine.
You might not see it directly on the opulent LOUIS XVI Palais Royale, but this is a Swiss watch, which also bears the ‘Swiss Made’ seal of quality. Watches are one of the most important export products of the showcase state. The seal prescribes strict guidelines that guarantee durability, precision and a high level of quality, among other things.
Can you tell? Yes, definitely. The Palais Royale is made of high-quality 316L stainless steel, which is particularly resistant to corrosion and scratches. It is coated with a PVD. This elaborate process is used in the watch industry to refine surfaces and further increase resistance. As a rule, PVD-coated cases can be recognized by their black color. In this case, however, gold particles are added during the processes. Strictly speaking, then, we are dealing with PVD gold plating here. The PVD coating has been implemented excellently. I really like the case finish.
For LOUIS XVI, the use of sapphire crystal is the standard. Here, I was actually surprised because I would not have expected its use due to the reasonably moderate price of the watch. It is well known that the production of the material is complex and costly. On the other hand, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. In everyday life, I as the wearer hardly have to worry about scratching my watch glass when it comes into contact with sharp objects. This ensures the longevity of the Palais Royale.
Secrets of the back
On the back, the golden PVD coating is replaced by gray stainless steel. The caseback is screwed and is adorned by a polished crown on a matte background. On the caseback you will also find your serial number. By the way, each reference is produced in a limited edition of only 1000 pieces. LOUIS XVI specifies a water resistance of 5 bar. Nevertheless, I would not take the chronograph on dives. Splash water, on the other hand, is not a problem.
Inside the LOUIS XVI Palais Royale ticks a Swiss heart. The caliber 5030.D is a quartz movement and is supplied by the well-known manufacturer Ronda. Reliably, it drives the well-known chronograph functions. LOUIS XVI claims a lifespan of 54 months, which is well above average. The literal crowning glory, in my opinion, would of course have been a mechanical movement, such as King Louis XVI is said to have once assembled. Then, of course, the mid three-digit price would have been unrealizable.
Dial and bracelet of the LOUIS XVI Palais Royale
One can praise the high-quality materials and the grandiose workmanship of the case. In my opinion, the highlight of the LOUIS XVI Palais Royale is the dial. In this, 10 genuine octagonal-cut diamonds were incorporated. Each has a weight of about 0.005 carats. The diamonds were set between the gold Roman numerals. In the middle of this minute ring are the three subdials.
Of course, legibility falls a bit by the wayside there. This is not a bad thing, considering that the Palais Royale is not designed to perform the functions of a toolwatch underwater or in the air.
Like the bezel, the individual links of the stainless-steel bracelet are decorated by ornaments. These were engraved by laser. The pattern is always the same and resembles an infinity sign. With the practical tool, I can immediately adjust the band to the appropriate length. This guarantees a good wearing comfort. Secure hold on the wrist is provided by the folding clasp.
My final conclusion about the LOUIS XVI Palais Royale
Whether you like the LOUIS XVI Palais Royale or not is a matter of taste. However, I think it’s wrong to judge the quality of the golden chronograph by this alone. Even if you don’t like the special design, the color or the history of King Louis XVI, you have to praise the craftsmanship of the Swiss watch. High-quality materials and a convincing finish pleased me very much during the test period. So did the fact that the watch brand’s idea clearly stands out from what is currently often seen on the watch market. One thing is for sure: I will remember the LOUIS XVI Palais Royale even after countless other watch reviews – and in a positive way.
Whoever is a customer of LOUIS XVI benefits from the above-average manufacturer’s warranty. This is 5 years. My reference 1018 tested here costs 540.00 euros. Considering the expensive material used, this price is quite respectable. Alternatively, the watch is also available with a black and silver case, each with line indices. As always, you can find all further information in the following.