Lucien Piccard Watch Review - Who’s the Former Giant?

Lucien Piccard watch review

As they say, all great things must come to an end. The company isn’t as popular as they once were, but they’re still loved by many. In our Lucien Piccard watch review, we provide a look at some of their best watches and a thorough look at who you’re working with.

Who Is Lucien Piccard?

The company was founded in 1924 by Lucien Piccard. Although it’s a Swiss brand, its founder was an American. The manufacturer provided timepieces that oozed luxury.

When they were at their most popular, many aristocrats and movie stars wore their devices. They were especially loved for the precision of their craft. They were favoured as they weren’t too pricey.

What led to their downfall was the Quartz crisis. Many Swiss manufacturers were affected the same way. We’re glad that they recovered, though. Their loyal fanbase let them come back to life. But their current iteration is more of a fashion watch brand. Their units are more affordable than they used to be. Enthusiasts don’t approach them the way they used to anymore.

The Watches - At A Glance

Before heading onto our review, give the following table a read. We summarized our most notable entries on it.

Preview
Our Pick
Lucien Piccard Valarta Retrograde Day Men's Watch LP-40009-01
Our Premium Pick
Lucien Piccard Men's 'Babylon' Automatic Stainless Steel and Black Leather Casual Watch (Model:...
Water resistance
100 feet (30 meters)
100 feet (30 meters)
Crystal
Sapphitek
Sapphitek
Case (size)
1.77 inches (45 mm)
1.81 inches (46 mm)
Case
Stainless steel
Stainless steel
Bezel
Stainless steel
Stainless steel
Strap
Genuine leather
Genuine leather
Movement
Japanese quartz
Japanese quartz
Our Pick
Preview
Lucien Piccard Valarta Retrograde Day Men's Watch LP-40009-01
Water resistance
100 feet (30 meters)
Crystal
Sapphitek
Case (size)
1.77 inches (45 mm)
Case
Stainless steel
Bezel
Stainless steel
Strap
Genuine leather
Movement
Japanese quartz
More Information
Our Premium Pick
Preview
Lucien Piccard Men's 'Babylon' Automatic Stainless Steel and Black Leather Casual Watch (Model:...
Water resistance
100 feet (30 meters)
Crystal
Sapphitek
Case (size)
1.81 inches (46 mm)
Case
Stainless steel
Bezel
Stainless steel
Strap
Genuine leather
Movement
Japanese quartz
More Information

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The Watches

Our Pick

1. Lucien Piccard Valarta Retrograde LP-40009-01

The timepiece looks luxurious. It comes in a black and silver colourway. The black is all over its strap and dial. One of the first things you’ll notice about it is how shiny its band is. For a watch so affordable, you wouldn’t expect to see genuine leather on it. Lucien Piccard decided to spoil us anyway. It’s embossed too, making it look like alligator skin.

Its band isn’t very thick and is leather. This is a good thing because thicker straps tend to collect a lot of sweat.

If you have poor eye-sight, you might have trouble reading the device. There are thin grey Roman numerals throughout its dial. They don’t contrast against the dark display well. As you can imagine, there is no luminous pigment to them. However, you’re getting lume on its hands. They’re Swiss pigment, so you’re getting a lot of shine.

As Lucien Piccard is a fashion brand, it’s no surprise that their timepieces are eye-candy. There is attractive texturing on its face.

Something else that’s going to catch your attention is the four sub-dials on its display. Two of them are its calendar. One reads the day while the other the date.

What about the other two? They read the seconds passed.

We’re fans of its crown. It’s shaped well and you can grip it easily.

Being so affordable, you wouldn’t expect a sapphire display. The manufacturer decided to surprise us once more. There’s a catch. Sapphitek, which is a lower-end version of sapphire is present. It’s still really good.

In terms of its movement, a Japanese quartz mechanism is inside it. We know the name of the specific mechanism: it is the TMI VD84. It moves like butter.

You don’t have to worry about getting the Valarta Retrograde wet. It comes with 100 feet (30 meters) of water resistance. It’s capable of handling rain and splashes. However, you won’t be able to swim with it. If you’ve read our reviews before, you’d know how bad of an idea it is to get leather soaked, though. It stays soggy for days.

Did we mention how big the timepiece is? Its case stretches 1.77 inches (45 mm) across. If you have smaller wrists, you might not be able to wear it.

What makes it special:

The velour effect on its display.

Our Premium Pick

2. Lucien Piccard Babylon

The timepiece looks exquisite. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the priciest entries on our list. There’s not only texturing on its dial, but you’re getting a pearl finish too. Combined, they scream luxury. You’re met with genuine leather on its strap again. The watchmaker loves to spoil customers. That’s why its band also has embossing, making it look like alligator skin.

The material in its case is stainless steel. It comes with high-quality gold plated on. You probably won’t be able to tell that it was plated. The case looks like it’s made from solid gold.

Hopefully, you’re a fan of big watches. The Babylon has a gigantic case. It stretches 1.81 inches (46 mm) across. If you have small hands, the timepiece will still fit you. That being said, you might look awkward with it.

It comes with 165 feet (50 meters) of water resistance. With such a rating, you can swim with it. You’ll easily be able to handle splashes and the rain too. But as mentioned, its strap is leather. Be mindful of how anti-waterproof it is.

You’ll find it hard to bang the crystal on its display up. It’s sapphitek. As mentioned above, it’s a more affordable version of sapphire. It’s still more durable than regular mineral, though.

Unlike the entry in our number 1 spot, the Babylon is automatic. The mechanism inside it comes with 20 jewels between gears. This isn’t a lot, to be frank. They’re pieces of glass that keep friction at bay. 17 is the standard amount, which it’s just above.

Something we appreciate about its automatic movement is that you’ll get access to self-winding. Unfortunately, hacking won’t be possible.

Once again, you’re getting thin Roman numerals on its dial. They have a metallic look to them, as they’re plated too. Being so thin, there is no luminous pigment to them. That being said, you’re getting lume on the watch hands. Yes, it is a quality Swiss pigment. It causes the watch to shine bright in the dark.

Being a fashion piece, the magnificent effect on its front isn’t the only thing that’ll catch your attention. You’ll notice a cut-out on its dial, so you can watch its gears in motion.

The sub-dial on the upper corner of its display probably will also catch your attention. It is the moon-phase dial. It works exactly as its name suggests – the phase of the moon will be read every day. Not only is the feature neat, but it’ll help with deer and salmon hunting. If you’re interested in the feature, you can read our best moonphase watch review.

Considering that it’s packed with great features, looks rich, and is one of our more expensive entries, it deserved its spot as our premium pick.

What makes it special:

The presence of the moon-phase dial.

3. Lucien Piccard Duval 40032-03-RA

We love its colourway, it is rustic. You don’t usually see watches with blue, black, and silver on their design. The shape of its markers helps with the feel – they’re large and in-charge. We love that they’re rhomboid too.

The Duval is our first unit with Arabic numerals. Next to its large markers, you’ll see the minutes. They are rather small, however. But they contrast against the blue dial well.

Hopefully, you have large wrists. The device is another one of the company’s larger pieces. Its case stretches 1.81 inches (46 mm) across. It is another timepiece with quality leather on its strap too. Like the rest, its band was embossed to look like crocodile skin. It is not thick either – you won’t sweat.

The crystal on its display is something you’re familiar with, it is sapphitek.

Its hands are on the larger side. This is good, they hold a lot of pigment. The lume in-place is Swiss. We would’ve loved if the lume was on its markers too, but Lucien Piccard is not a fan of doing this.

You’ll notice a sub-dial on the bottom of its display. It reads the seconds passed. If you didn’t notice, there is no second hand on it. Unfortunately, reading the seconds passed won’t be easy. The markers inside it are red and don’t contrast well against the blue. To be honest, trying to read them hurt our eyes.

What about the movement inside? It is Japanese quartz. The mechanism inside is the TMI Caliber VD78. If you miss the cut-out that was on the Babylon, know that only automatic devices come with them. Quartz movements don’t use any gears, so there wouldn’t be anything to peak at.

Is it water-resistant? The answer is yes. It can handle 165 feet (50 meters) underwater. If you remember, this means that swimming and splashes are the most it can handle. Don’t try to snorkel or dive with it.

What makes it special:

Its rustic look.

4. Lucien Piccard Cosmo LP-15071-01

The Cosmo is the most expensive entry on our list. It comes with features that are like the rest. That’s why it landed in our last spot.

It looks much more expensive than it is. You’ll fool anyone into thinking it cost an arm and a leg.

As you’d expect from a Lucien Piccard piece, it is eye-catching. You can tell the time through a sub-dial. Around it, you’ll see multiple cut-outs to peak at its gears moving.

There are Arabic numerals on it. They are white and bolded – they contrast against the black backdrop well. No, there is no lume to them. However, you are getting luminous pigment on its hands. As you guessed it, the pigment on it is Swiss. This means it packs a punch.

There is a second sub-dial on the center of its face. You can probably guess what it is, as there isn’t a seconds’ hand after all.

And as there are cut-outs, you might’ve guessed that the timepiece is automatic. We don’t know the name of the specific mechanism inside, but there is an impressive number of jewels; 40 to be exact. This means its gears are ultra-smooth. If you flip its back over, you’ll see that it’s exposed. You’ll get a better view of its insides.

The device is big. Its case stretches 1.77 inches (45 mm) across.  Make note if you have smaller hands.

What about its strap? It’s high-quality leather.

The Cosmo not only comes with a genuine leather band like the rest, but it comes with ample water resistance too. You’ll be able to dive up to 165 feet (50 meters) underwater.

The glass on its dial is sapphitek.

What makes it special:

You’ll be telling the time through a sub-dial.

FAQ

Having run through their best pieces, what do you think? We’ll be answering some burning questions below. They’ll give you the ultimate look at who you’re working with.

Are Lucien Piccard Watches Good?

Considering how much you’re spending, we think they’re worth it. They’re built well and come with buttery movements. Their designs are eye-catching too. A range of different collections is available for you to work with.

Duval 40032-03-RA

What Is the Company Reputation Like?

As they once were giants in the industry, their name comes with a bit of weight. Their current timepieces are good. That being said, they’re no match for the quality that they once provided.

Watch enthusiasts are not the biggest fans of them including Japanese quartz movements in their units – this makes them feel more pedestrian.

How Are Their Watches So Affordable?

Great question! It’s because of the movements they include. Almost any Lucien Piccard automatic movement would be from China. The quartz they offer is Japanese.

Is the Company Worth Working With?

We answered this in our first two questions. If you’re looking for quality affordable devices that would catch anyone’s attention, work with them. The fact that they have quite the history is an added incentive.

How Are Their Warranties Like?

You’re getting 5-year warranties with pieces. All manufacturing defects are covered. But there’s an exception. They cover all defects except in their cases, crowns, and batteries. Their warranties are issued from the date of purchase, not the day you receive your unit.

Final Thoughts

We’re huge fans of the brand. They were icons in the world of Swiss timepieces. Unfortunately, they’re not as big as they used to be. However, they still have a loyal following.

The quality of their devices is high. They look pricey, yet thankfully, don’t come with a price tag that’d require you to sell a kidney. We think the Valarta Retrograde LP-40009-01 deserved the number 1 spot. It came with the best specs for its price hands down.

If you’d like a look at more Swiss brands, do check our Pinterest out! We regularly update it with all kinds of lists and reviews.

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