If you remember last year, we revealed to you a hands-on with the Chopard L.U.C. XP last year, which took on a new almost hipster-ish vibe with its blue colouring and exciting materials. For Baselworld in 2018, Chopard unveils a continuation of this blue theme. However, it’s in the guise of a different watch in the L.U.C. collection, the Quattro.
What is the Quattro, and where did the name come from? Chopard has been tied in with Porsche for some time now, so it couldn’t be anything to do with the venerable Audi Quattro. I’ll tell you, it comes from the number of barrels the watch has: four. These four barrels in the watch give it exceptional power, meaning a long power reserve of 9 days. It’s also got a smoother delivery of all this power, as the barrels act as brakes to each other, meaning that this watch also has a COSC chronometer rating. Add to that a beautiful movement with Geneva Seal approved finishing and you can start to appreciate why we here at WristReview consider some of these L.U.C. watches equal to if not superior to Patek Philippe pieces.
But even in all that activity, the heavy blue sunray dial up is possibly the very best possible canvas to comparison all the polished indicators and elements delineating the info on every register. Be aware that the sunray texture ratdiates not in the center, but from the Chopard logo. The Lunar One’s alternating polished and brushed platinum case measures an extremely full 43mm wide, and squeezing this opinion in a case any smaller would be just about impossible. The fact that the watch is 11.47mm thick will probably keep it from appearing too large on the wrist for those who may be prone to a smaller case.The subdials do appear to me to be squeezing the numerals around them. It gives me the exact same sense like I’m unlucky enough to have the center seat on a plane, packed with two individuals too wide for their own seats. The feeling of those subdials being somewhat “bloated” definitely makes the notion of this opinion being even one millimeter thinner look as a balloon-popping proposition.The Calibre 96.13-L beating within is regarded as Chopard’s crown jewel, hardly a small accomplishment at a stable of pretty interesting calibers at both ends of this complication spectrum. Requiring modification just once every 122 years (hypothetically speaking), the perpetual calendar nicely matches the moon phase indicator, but it is no typical moon phase indicator using a static aperture displaying the present shape of the moon. This one is an “astronomical moon phase” complication which orbits the 6:00 register in accordance with its proper stage and astronomical positioning at the nighttime sky.
The movement, however, hasn’t changed much for this new variant. It’s the dial that’s been given the most attention. The most striking change to it is the inclusion of blued steel hands and indices, these contrast the 18K polished rose gold of the case but match the blue strap. You’ll also see that the dial has changed a little as well, instead of classy Roman numerals the more relaxed numbers and pointed markers take place. I’m glad to see, however, that the Chopard signature Dauphine hands are kept and left to sparkle in all their glory. Joining them is the power reserve at the top of the dial highlighting the full nine days, and at the bottom is a subdial which combines both running seconds and a classy rotary date indicator.
Unfortunately, there will only be fifty examples of this particular watch made, but I’m hoping there are more similar versions to come. Perhaps, we could even see this Quattro technology twinned with more complications in the future. The retail price is €23,300. For more info, visit Chopard online.
Chopard has a solid reputation in the world of luxury and has used some powerful connections to maximise its brand awareness. The chief among those being, of course, the Mille Miglia, but it is also connected to another famous event based in continental Europe: the Cannes Film Festival. This event, perhaps the most prestigious event in the cinema year, except the Oscars of course. Look around the Cannes Film Festival and you’ll see the Chopard logo in the backdrops of photos, it’s even got its own award, the Trophée Chopard, which recognises young actors and actresses and aims to kickstart their career.
When the lovely folks at Chopard aren’t busy crafting the Palme d’Or or designing another GPHG award-winning watch, they are instead focusing on how to extend their repertoire to cover as much of the watchmaking spectrum as possible. One exciting route they’ve gone down this time is special editions. Of course, it’s not like this is Chopard’s first-ever special edition watch, but they are more conservative than some of their rivals when it comes to it.
It was his thought and project to create Chopard to a vertically integrated and, hence, safely separate, watch manufacture — their very first movement they produced in 1996 and since then have been on a roll, using self-developed chronographs, insanely complicated perpetual calendar chronograph, “All In One” watches, and simply the best sounding minute repeater into date.All this, and yet the Scheufele family remains almost completely behind the scenes of Chopard — in fact, that “Grand Cru” designation is the only event I could think of when it is something personal to them which was inserted to some Chopard watch. It’s the most shy and timid way, as they are placing a reference to something that is their private hobby and fire on a Chopard watch.The connected story is that the Scheufele family have recently acquired a vineyard and chateau — after some 20 decades of study, to fulfill their passion for wine-making. In reality, I’ve gotten to know Karl-Friedrich Scheufele as a obsessive perfectionist for his passions, namely watches and wine, in addition to vintage cars. The motives which led him to pursue the vineyard essentially offer the same sort of drive that led to his invention and success of their Chopard L.U.C division.However, Chopard should ideally find a way to charge the Scheufele’s for what they have done to create Chopard to exactly what it is and turn this into a personal, relatable element — but, with the best will in the world, I seriously doubt that the above-mentioned narrative will be received and then forwarded onto the consumer by even the most inspired Chopard sales staff. Maybe if more people were educated about the Scheufele family as well as their role in creating Chopard exactly what it is now, there would be a stronger link between this watch and how its identity is equally presented and promoted.
This particular watch draws attention to the Cannes Film Festival, mainly, to the feature all famous movie stars get to experience: the red carpet. The dial of this watch is a deep and lustrous red, divided into sections by hand cut guilloché; the watch stands out among others. Reflecting the artistry of the Palme d’Or (which Chopard Co-President Caroline Scheufele redesigned in 1997) and the jewellery worn on the red carpet, this watch is crafted to the highest standards.
The movement, calibre 96.01 – L, has been awarded the Geneva Seal which demonstrates the construction and finishing prowess of the company. Let’s not also forget that this calibre is a personal favourite of some of horology’s elite independent craftsmen and has been described as “probably the finest automatic movement being produced in Switzerland today”. That movement has gorgeous Geneva waves engraved onto it as well as a luscious sunburst guilloché on the micro-rotor. It runs for 65 hours when it’s been set down thanks to Chopard’s Twin Barrel technology, and has an operating rate of 4Hz. One thing Chopard does which I’m not such a fan of is print writing on the sapphire caseback, while it almost works on the sports watches, it does look entirely out of place on this dress watch.
Engulfing that lovely movement is an 18K solid white gold case, measuring 40mm in diameter. It’s Chopard’s signature case which is flat and thin, but very comfy on the wrist. It’s matched to a black alligator strap (I appreciate that they didn’t go red there which would make it unwearable) which doesn’t use calfskin leather on the underside to preserve longevity; it also feels great on the wrist.
Perhaps my favourite feature of the new limited edition is the set of diamonds for hour markers. We’re used to seeing factory diamond dials from Rolex and even Patek Philippe, but it’s rare for Chopard to put so few diamonds on one of their watches. Despite there being only a few of them, they will surely increase the price dramatically when it’s announced. There’s only going to be 10 made, though. For more info, visit Chopard online.
The Mille Miglia Collection gets 5 new models in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the partnerships between Chopard and the Italian Mille Miglia race. The new watches all come in bold, classic, and bright colors echoing the 1930s racing colors. Here we have: Rosso Corsa (Red) for Italy, Speed Silver for Germany, British Green for the United Kingdom, Vintage Blue for France, and Speed Yellow for Belgium. Interestingly, it is the first time I have seen Chopard step outside of the standard colors seen in the collection such as red, black, and white. Personally, even if blue and yellow colors fit just right when it comes to automotive inspiration, they are a bit off for the racing DNA of the collection.
While Chopard’s Mille Miglia Collection showcases the classics, the watches are not made with excessive sentimental connotations. They may be vintage but they are practically fashionable or simply said, proper old school done right. Most brands often release kitschy watches with lots of emphasis on the brand’s tradition or heritages which are outdated and bulky. Such designs are good for collectors, but we are not all collectors and some of us prefer restraint when it comes to watches with vintage inspirations.
I also noticed that the previous additions to the collection were a bit boring with no significant changes or innovative designs. While the new models may have noticeable changes like they are still minimal such as the new British Green dial, the lack of the Tyre Tread rubber strap, and an inclusion of a color-stitched leather strap. The colors are bold with subdued highlights on the dial aiding for superior legibility perfect for a chronograph. The original Mille Miglia experience also remains intact.
What really attracts buyers is the overall design and functionality of a watch and with the Mille Miglia Racing Colours, Chopard certainly plays by the rules. Each of the colors are also limited to 300 pieces only with the price yet to be revealed. Though the non-limited version of the watches are sold for $4,800 a piece so it must be a notch above this price point considering the limited numbers.
Chopard is a Swiss luxury company focused on watches, jewellery and accessoires. Chopard was set up in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard. In 1963 Karl Scheufele obtained Chopard; Scheufele is a descendant of a dynasty of watchmakers and jewelers from Germany.After the purchase Chopard immediately gained traction among collectors, it’s presently one of the main luxury watch businesses and functions entirely independent as a family-run brand. The Chopard manufacture in Fleurier produces L.U.C movements that can be discovered in several Chopard timepieces. Impressive Chopard watches for men and Chopard women’s watches comprise the Happy Diamonds, Imperiale, Classic Racing, L.U.C., Classic. Being a luxury focused brand Chopard is equally popular because of its Chopard men’s watches and the diamond watches it produces for women.For the previous few decades, Chopard has celebrated the Chinese zodiac by releasing a special variant of this L.U.C XP Urushi watch ever year. This year, for instance, it was the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rooster, which includes an amazing handmade Rooster on the dial. According to the Lunar calendar, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. For 2018, Chopard has decided to go 1 step further and has only released a one-piece bit called the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T: Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac.Chopard’s L.U.C set is home to the brand’s most high-end artisanal watches, and also the L.U.C Perpetual T: Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac follows in this tradition. The highlight of the watch needs to be the situation. It features a 43mm-wide 18k rose gold case that’s about 15mm thick, and the whole case is hand-engraved together with all the 12 Chinese zodiac signs using the champlevé technique. This means the case is first engraved by hand and then full of material. In the case of the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T: Nature of the Chinese Zodiac view, the instance is first engraved and then full of black patina to create images from the Chinese Zodiac.
Finally, here is a quick rundown of the new models. The 42 mm case is made of high-quality stainless steel replete with sapphire in front and at the back. The rounded bezel and chamfered lugs are impressive. The crown sits comfortably between the 2 pushers on the right side of the case. The dial is vintage featuring the 5 bold colors mentioned above. Of these, I really like the striking red. The hands and Arabic numerals look great, along with the sub-registers and tachymeter ring, completing a superior legibility.
As of this writing, the movement is not yet specified but based on the previous releases, it might be the ETA 2894–2 with additional Chopard decorations. The watches gets 42 hours of power reserve and they wear on calfskin with the brand’s signature Tyre Tread rubber lining. Price is undisclosed but I believe it would be around $5,000. For more info, visit Chopard online.
Chopard once again steps up its Haute Horlogerie game this year at Baselworld as it unveils a refresh for a member of its L.U.C collection that I doubt many have heard of. It’s called the All-In-One and it’s one of the rarest and most exclusive watches Chopard makes this side of the L.U.C Full Strike. They’ve never had one of these available to us for a photoshoot, even when we went to the manufactures last year. The All-In-One was first released in 2010 and came with Chopard’s older styling with Roman numerals, a flat white dial and arched L.U.Chopard logo. Even for a fan of the company, I never found this style very appealing. Now, though, things have changed a little.
Gone are the Roman numerals which looked a little mismatched on a dial that already had a lot going on, they’ve been replaced by sharp elongated arrow pointers which reflect well with the Chopard style dauphine hands which add to the visual elegance of the watch. The white dial has been replaced as well, it’s now either a cool blue colour or a ‘silver gilt’ colour, depending on which metal you choose (either platinum or rose gold respectively). Also, there’s now sunburst guilloche emanating from the L.U.Chopard logo, very fitting considering the string of hits they have been releasing recently.
The movement inside this watch is a gem and surely worthy of the title ‘Haute Horlogerie royalty’. It’s comprised of 516 parts, all of which are verified and meet the Seal of Geneva hallmark. The watch has a multitude of displays, more than the almost unassuming dial lets on. As well as the time, there’s also seconds which are indicated via a tourbillon, a perpetual calendar and a big date under the logo, note how the depth of the numbers is the same, meaning the two discs underneath aren’t superimposed like some other companies do it.
The 12 animals of the Zodiac are engraved chronologically on the case middle with the rat positioned on the top right corner of this watch. Some highlights worth mentioning include the tiger, that is positioned on the crown; and the snake and dragon, which can be intertwined between the base lugs of the case. The bezel is hand-engraved using the champlevé technique also and features a pattern which calls to mind that the grids found on ancient Chinese doors. The dial is made of solid 18k gold, also. Such as the circumstance, it is hand-engraved with a lattice pattern that is similar to that of the bezel. The Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T: Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac is water-resistant to 30m and comes with a black hand-made alligator strap plus a fitting 18k rose gold pin buckle.The L.U.C Perpetual T: Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac features a number of complications. On the dial at 12 o’clock is a major date display. Below are the perpetual calendar signs. At 3 o’clock, we’ve got the month and leap year indicators, and at 9 o’clock we have the afternoon and 24-hour indicators. Finally, at 6 o’clock there is the tourbillon which creates a spinning every minute. This doubles up as the running moments sub-dial. Powering the watch is the caliber 02.15-L that contains 353 parts and Chopard’s Quattro system, which means it has four mainspring barrels and a power reserve of 216 hours or 9 days. As stated before, it features the perpetual calendar complication along with a tourbillon mechanism, and it beats at 4Hz. The motion features extensive hand-finishing such as beveled bridges, polished screws and stone countersinks, and continues to be awarded the Geneva Seal. The owner can also be assured of exceptional timekeeping performance since it is additionally chronometer-certified from COSC. The motion could be admired through the watch’s sapphire display caseback.
That’s all there is to it, right? Wrong, on the flipside there’s a whole other world of indications going on. There’s a display for the equation of time, the 24 hour day/night indication, calculation and display of the time of sunrise and sunset (set to Geneva, but I’m sure this could be changed) and sat slap bang in the middle is the astronomical orbital moonphase display. As if that isn’t enough, the power reserve on this watch is very practical at 7 days plus the extra safety margin. Even better, it’s also COSC chronometer rated, if this watch was awarded the Qualite Fleurier mark, it would probably take the title of the best watch at Baselworld this year. Sadly, only ten of each metal will be made, but one can always dream, eh? For more info, visit Chopard online.
So, that’s it, Baselworld 2018 is all over, everyone’s going home, and there’s a lot of clearing up to do. What has been your favourite piece from this year? Stick around on WristReview as there will be a Top 5 Watches from Baselworld 2018 coming soon, but until then we’re taking a look at a dress watch which appeals to the woman market. Given that the company which makes it is more involved with the ladies market than the gents’, this isn’t much of a surprise.
What could be prettier than flowers? Well, how about flowers printed onto the dial of a watch. Flowers which have been printed onto an enamel grand feu dial using a traditional Swiss method of cutting paper. Last year Chopard unveiled a slightly different Esprit de Peony watch, which used an engraved dial to make out the delicate flowers. This time it’s a more monochromatic approach, but one which is no less stunning because of it.
The Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T: Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac was probably designed with a Chinese customer in mind. But even as a Chinese myself, I can’t help but think they likely took the Chinese styling cues too much better. Personally, I believe Chopard must have stopped at the engravings about the situation and abandon the dial plain. But hey, what do I know? I am convinced there is a market for marginally over-the-top unique pieces in this way. The Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T: Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac is a one off bit and price is currently only available on request. A staple of this Chopard L.U.C collection, the Chopard L.U.C Lunar One perpetual calendar, has become an underdog hero for high-end watch collectors because the model’s introduction over a decade ago. Now, I review a newer limited edition version of the L.U.C Lunar One (reference 161927-9001) in a 950 platinum instance using a trendy blue dial. It is a really Chopard solution, showcasing a lot of what the manufacturer does best, and in a cost that, relatively speaking, is quite decent.A few decades ago, I seen Chopard’s production center in Fleurier where they produce L.U.C collection watches. While all Chopard watches are technically speaking luxury products, the L.U.C collection is where collectors really put their focus given the movements. Most L.U.C watches are more conventional in their fashion, but with a healthy dose of (tasteful) masculinity as evidenced by the proportions, sizes, and strong presence of the watches overall.Each L.U.C motion is produced in-house by Chopard, and includes finishing (decoration into the metallic components) that in my opinion rivals those that are regarded as the very best in the business. A close look at the in-house made caliber L.U.C 96.13-L automated movement through the rear of the case reveals careful attention, beautiful classic lines, superb surface treatments, and also a focus on practical utility that we watch lovers find in timepieces we really wear.
Balancing out the stark black and white of the dial is the 18K rose gold case, which we can assume will measure 35mm across the case, just like last year’s model. Adorning this are diamonds, quite a few of them in fact. There are 1.83 carats of white diamonds placed onto the bezel and sides of the case to accentuate the look (also, who doesn’t like a few diamonds on their ladies watch?).
Inside the case is the calibre L.U.C. 96.23-L1, it’s made in-house in Chopard’s manufacturing site based in Fleurier, up in the mountains. Running at a steady 4Hz this movement makes use of Chopard’s L.U.C. Twin technology, which uses two stacked barrels to increase the power reserve to 65 hours and make sure that the power is delivered constantly to aid in timekeeping.
Take a moment to appreciate the level of detail that’s gone into engraving that movement. Surrounding the 22K gold oscillating micro-rotor are beautiful leaves and flowers, which are gold to stand out from the engraved plates. This isn’t Chopard’s usual high level of finishing; this is something else entirely. As we learned from our time at the factory in Fleurier last year, there are very few people who can engrave L.U.C. movements and only one who can, or who is allowed to, decorate a movement in this manner.
The watch is limited to 8 examples which are exclusive to Chopard boutiques. For more info, visit Chopard online.
There comes a time in one’s life where the collection of steel sports watches and dress watches becomes somewhat predictable. Not in a bad sense, you still wear those watches, but you find yourself lusting after something with a bit of colour, something which says “yes, I have money to spend on material goods!”. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but it leaves you with a pretty tricky choice, many manufacturers of watches have cottoned onto this change in thinking. So, now they offer all kinds of different watches in all shapes and sizes to accommodate. Watches like the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph from Audemars Piguet and the Rolex Daytona spring to mind, but, they aren’t the only options out there.
The Racing Watch
Enter the Mille Miglia GTS Chrono in rose gold. This 43mm sporting timepiece from Chopard has motorsports all over it. There’s no mistaking the red hands and red accents for being anything other than a watch related to the Mille Miglia, a historic Italian race covering 1000 kilometres. Chopard has been a partner of the Mille Miglia race since the 1980s, the company’s co-president, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is a passionate enthusiast for old racing cars and even enters the race himself, so we are told. While other watches, including the Daytona, rely on a naming scheme and some cleverly worded waffle in a book to make their historical influences known, Chopard makes no apologies for putting red on the dial, and rightly so, it does work well with the black and rose gold.
Red motifs aside, you’ll find the dial of this watch is very legible. Forgoing the usual Chopard, we have seen in the past; this watch does away with extra writing in the subdials and instead expects the wearer to work out which is which. Operating the chronograph of the Mille Miglia GTS is a dream. The pushers themselves have a knurled finish to them, akin to the organ pulls you’d find on a Bentley motor car. It makes them very easy to feel the pushers with your fingers, and because they are quite broad on top (the pushers are meant to resemble pistons), it makes them very easy to use. There is quite a bit of resistance to the pushers, but it’s easy to overcome, and the result is quite unusual for a chronograph. As I found out with Chopard’s Mille Miglia Race Edition watch, Chopard chronograph buttons don’t have a lot of travel required to engage the gears and make the hands move. It’s surprising at first, but very smooth and something one becomes accustomed to quickly.
The Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T: Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac was probably made with a Chinese customer in mind. But even as a Chinese myself, I can’t help but think they probably took the Chinese styling cues too much better. Personally, I believe Chopard should have ceased at the engravings about the situation and left the dial simple. But hey, what do I know? I am sure there is a market for marginally over-the-top unique pieces in this way. A staple of this Chopard L.U.C collection, the Chopard L.U.C Lunar One perpetual calendar, has become an underdog hero for luxury watch collectors because the model’s introduction over a decade ago. Now, I examine a newer limited edition version of the L.U.C Lunar One (reference 161927-9001) in a 950 platinum instance using a trendy blue dial. It is a really Chopard product, showcasing a great deal of what the brand works best, and in a cost which, comparatively speaking, is very decent.A few years back, I visited Chopard’s manufacture facility in Fleurier where they produce L.U.C collection watches. While all Chopard watches are technically talking luxury products, the L.U.C set is where collectors really put their attention given the moves. Many L.U.C watches are more conventional in their fashion, but with a healthy dose of (tasteful) masculinity as evidenced by the proportions, dimensions, and robust presence of the watches overall.Each L.U.C movement is produced in-house by Chopard, and contains finishing (decoration to the metallic components) that in my opinion rivals those which are regarded as the very best in the business. A close look at the in-house made quality L.U.C 96.13-L automatic movement through the rear of the case shows careful focus, exquisite classic lines, superb surface treatments, plus a focus on practical usefulness that we watch fans find in timepieces we really wear.
You still can’t forget the motoring ties on this watch, even when you move around from the dial. As well as the piston chronograph pushers I’ve mentioned above; there’s also the classic racing steering wheel design been extruded on the crown. No logos there, just a little reminder this watch is all about traditional racing. Not going at warp ten in a car made from hyper carbons and some sort of weird element from outer space. Instead, this watch is more about lower speeds, and classic cars with classic shapes duelling it out with the smell of castor oil filling the air (and probably making people sick, but it does spoil the romance a bit). Even the strap has racing cues all over it. Chopard’s Mille Miglia straps have a tread pattern cut in them, evoking Dunlop sports tyres of the old racing cars.
Inside the watch is an automatic movement, there’s no mention of the source, but I believe it to the same as we saw in last year’s Racing Edition timepiece. Chopard’s days of charging lots of money for ETA movements are slowly leaving the company as it moves on to produce more and more in-house movements for its pieces. What I do know is it is COSC chronometer rated, so you can still expect accuracy and reliability. Plus, Chopard’s service costs are reasonable as well for their pieces so that you can expect a side of low running costs along with the main course of strong reliability.
A strong alternative
Why would I mention this watch in the same sentence as those two gods of sports watches, the Daytona and Royal Oak Offshore? For starters, it’s well priced and undercuts them at $21,420, although being Chopard their boutique staff are very friendly and will probably get you a nice little discount to go alongside. Sure, it’s not as iconic as the other two, but in motor racing terms, there’s very little which is more iconic than the Mille Miglia. It’s a bit larger than the other two, but benefits from 100 meters of water resistance without the messing around with screw down pushers. What I hope can be changed in the future is the steel clasp. Although, while full gold on a watch is ideal for the money, you could argue that steel is more practical and resistant to daily operation.
It’s a great alternative, but we’d perhaps like to see an open caseback with a decorated movement if we wanted to put it at or above the AP. Against the Rolex, the Daytona is obviously more popular, but there’s something to be said about being under the radar, get this with a good deal, and you’ve got a fantastic watch for the collection. chopard.com
A fine wristwatch bears a lot of similarities to a fine wine: each has a different impact on a person and they are often associated because of their levels of luxury, however I very much doubt you’ll be able to walk properly if you have two weeks to spend with a huge barrel of wine. Not that you’ll be lacking in antioxidants and other vitamins, far from it, but you might find a few grey matter cells have been misplaced. Although a lot of people compare watches to scotch, probably because of its value, Chopard doesn’t, but there is a reason for this.
In his brief explanation on this particular note, Mr. Scheufele said the connection he sees and enjoys involving watch- and wine-making is that the two require a very long time to perform well, require a lot of flexibility, in addition to the understanding and utilization of both traditional and contemporary know-how. A main distinction is the way that mother nature can at the last minute strongly affect the quality of the wine — not so much that of their opinion, he joked (at this moment I could sense how mother nature and his own lack of compromise in seeking caliber have put him through several struggles while attempting to receive their Bergerac vineyard up to his standards). The Chopard L.U.C Heritage Grand Cru is an attractive watch that officially introduces a exceptional offering in a classic style tonneau watch that achieves both a slim case and an automatic movement. It’s a shame to see a watch that gets all (or many of) the minor and major details right but just stumbles a bit in messaging due to the way subtly its identity is communicated.The L.U.C lineup has always flown under the radar, allowing the watches speak for themselves. The Chopard L.U.C Heritage Grand Cru is an appealing watch that legitimately presents a unique offering in a timeless style Tonneau watch that achieves both a slim case and a automatic motion. It is priced at 22,300 CHF. Inspired by watchmaker and heritage father Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the L.U.C collection bearing his initials was home to arguably a number of Chopard’s greatest contemporary work. Well, that collection only got a new flagship wth the Geneva Seal-certified L.U.C Lunar One — a dashing perpetual calendar watch with a moon phase indicator, cased in platinum. Introduced in 2005, the Lunar One gets a new dial layout and a platinum event this year. No surprise here, however, the watch looks amazing and is yet another object of lust for all but 100 people who will get to call one of these their own.
As you may well know Chopard is owned by the Scheufele family, a brother and sister team consisting of Caroline & Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. This dynamic duo in the world of luxury have many interests from movies and fashion to old motorsports and fine wines, it’s this connection that inspires the Heritage Grand Cru. The family even owns its own vineyard in the Dordogne region of France, Château Monestier La Tour, a producer of fine wines and currently my favourite white as well (I can’t help it, I lost track of how much we had when we visited Chopard back in March), alas I am digressing already.
Before this experience believe it or not but I’d never actually worn a tonneau-shaped watch before, sure I’ve written about them often enough, and I do like the looks of things such as the Vacheron Constantin Malte and Breguet’s Héritage collection, but this one is a bit different from those in a few ways. In fact, I’d go so far as to say this watch is an amalgamation of both, a combination if you will, a combination of the best parts of both watches. Admittedly, however, the Breguet’s influence on it is somewhat limited to the rounded tonneau shape as opposed to the more angular Malte, I know big deal right? Still, it’s something. The fact that it is this rounded shape is also somewhat coincidental given that the shape is that of a miniaturised wine barrel, given that a grand cru is a type of fine wine it all starts slipping into place.
The thing that greets you instantly when you see this watch is the dial and the depth and contrast of the markers on it. The dial itself is a pure white gloss, it isn’t actually ceramic but it could fool someone who doesn’t know what ceramic looks like under a loupe. Neither do I feel like it was meant to be ceramic but Chopard ran out of time or money for the project, it looks great as is. I couldn’t capture it with the camera but there is a depth to the Roman numerals on this, they bubble up almost in the centre and are also deeply shiny, Chopard could choose to do away with the ‘CHRONOMETER’ writing on the dial, but it’s in a lighter font and isn’t very intrusive even when scrutinising the dial through a loupe. The icing on this so far monochromatic cake are the rose gold hands which have Chopard’s unique and distinctive gilded dauphine hands, while some think they just don’t look right I’d argue these gilded dauphines are more pleasing to the eye than the traditional design, although both sides are polished on this which means they shine like two golden swords.
The running small seconds hand positioned at 6 O’clock is the traditional dauphine style, however, with black markers as well. This leads me onto discussing the first of the albeit few flaws I’ve found with this timepiece. At 15, 45 & 60 seconds there are enlarged markers with numbers surrounding them, I feel that with the overall simplicity of the design of the watch these numbers are redundant. Anyone who knows fine timepieces knows what it means when the seconds hand is pointing directly upwards, and in any case the sub-seconds dial is too small to see very well anyway, but I’m certainly glad they didn’t use a central seconds hand instead so bonus points for that. It’s also nice to have a quickset date window on this watch too, it’s perfectly positioned at 6 O’clock replacing the 30 counter on the subdial, there isn’t a lot of visible depth to the date window as it should be, and the numbers are printed in the same shiny font as the rest of the dial.
When you put the watch on the wrist you’ll notice how light it is, even for a gold watch. It’s because of the fact that there isn’t actually that much gold on it. Before you jump to any conclusions it’s definitely not plated or anything like that, even the notion. No, it’s because the watch is pretty conservative in its sizing, the dimensions of the case are 38.5mm x 38.8mm and the delicately curved case is slender at 7.74mm. It’s also using a trick Lange does quite often to make the watch seem even thinner still, by polishing the bezel on the front and the caseback but brushing the sides of the case it makes it seem more like two shiny parts are floating seamlessly, a little touch can go a long way after all. The crown is a little on the small side in terms of diameter, but there isn’t a lot you could do without it becoming offensively large, it is still easy to operate and the seconds do hack on this piece which is a bonus when it comes to photographing the watch as not only can we get some lovely looks at the balance wheel when it isn’t operating at 4Hz, but also means I can set the time backwards so it’s easier to keep the watch at 10:10.
This neatly brings us to the main event of this watch, as much as I love the look of the dial and the feel of that cool 18K gold on my wrist, the pièce de résistance of the timepiece is the movement on this watch. There have been quite a few articles posted in the last three to five years regarding how serious Chopard is about Haute Horlogerie so I won’t need to go into super detail about that. Just for your information though, this watch is COSC chronometer rated and has also received the Poinçon de Genève, I won’t bore you with the details but there are several requirements regarding the quality of assembly and decoration. This watch is not QF (Qualité Fleurier) rated, though I do seem to recall that this could be a possibility if a customer so desired, for a fee of course.
When you think of Breitling, you probably associate them with Bentley first. That’s an exceedingly strong corporate tie-in that has benefitted both companies profusely. Not only does Bentley use Breitling timepieces in nearly all of its cars, but Breitling also gets to make the signature ‘For Bentley’ watches. They’ve even teamed up with the likes of David Beckham and John Travolta to run an advertising campaign together. This powerful association means that the two companies are likely to be together for the foreseeable future assuming Breitling’s new owner doesn’t change anything. Chopard has a different tack. Recently they have been working closely with German sports car marque Porsche, but before all of this linking between automotive and horological companies, there was one event that stood out from the rest. The Mille Miglia.
To be pedantic about it, it’s actually called the Mille Miglia Storica, as the original Mille Miglia stopped in the 1950s. When it ran it was known as one of the fiercest races on the planet, with two automotive powerhouses, Italy and Germany, often duelling it out until the end. Even in the modern day Mille Miglia, it’s still usually a battle between cars from these two great nations. The trip from Brescia to Rome and then back to Brescia is nearly 1000 miles, a real test of engineering at the time and something only the very bravest of drivers such as Sir Stirling Moss would ever think about undertaking.
In 1988, Chopard began sponsoring the Mille Miglia Storica, which ended up lending its name and logo likeness to Chopard’s main line of watches which just so happens to be called the Mille Miglia range. Of course, there are the L.U.C. pieces and the Happy Sport lines as well, but the Mille Miglia watches are probably the most well known of all the Chopard watches, it’s the one people most associate with the company. That has its own benefits of course, with sponsorship deals raking in huge amounts of money, it also gives the fans and collectors something to look forward to as well.
To celebrate this year’s Mille Miglia Chopard unveiled the Racing Edition back at Baselworld, one which we had already had a hands on with the previous week. But up until now, we had quite a stern letter warning us not to let on at all about this new, even more, special edition watch, featuring rose gold on the case.
This watch is a little more subtle regarding the use of gold, at least compared to some other watches. You’ll find it on the dial in various places, the chronograph pushers, the crown and the thin surround to the fixed aluminium insert on the bezel. Just like the other watch, this one evokes the appearance of a classical sports car with an engine turned dial and a steering wheel on the crown which looks like it might have come from a Lancia Aurelia, a car which I find particularly attractive in the spider version.
The two-tone reminds me of racing colours, along with the steel of the case and red accents we could say these are Chopard’s own racing stripes shining through. The lugs are short and elegant, yet still well finished and precise, like older sports cars tend to be when compared to their modern counterparts particularly from the likes of Ferrari. I’m not in any way saying the modern designs aren’t beautiful, but they are somewhat bloated because of regulations and whatnot. Smaller yet just as high performance, it’s something you don’t really see until you put them side by side at a classic car rally. There’s also the tachymetric scale bezel, itself is very thin compared to other companies. This is supposed to recreate the thinner sporting tyres used on high-performance cars, at least in my eyes anyway. Everything about this watch is a high-performing endurance part, but the component under the most strain is the engine.
Unlike the engine in an Alfa Romeo 8C Berlinetta or a Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, the real party trick of the Chopard’s engine is the ability to remain at a constant, COSC chronometer certifiable rate at all times in all positions. Think about how many moving parts are in a normal watch, a piece which should not deviate from the most accurate time. Now add in a chronograph module for some extra complication, then consider how it will be worn. While most of continental Europe’s road surfaces have been improved since the 50s it would be a fair assumption to make that not every road has been given the TLC it needs. If your driving along in your open-top race car on a sunny afternoon at 100 miles an hour your suspension will be working like mad to iron out the bumps. However, the vibrations can still travel through the steering column to your hands and shake the watch around, so it’s good to know the high-performance design is able to cope with this punishment. It’ll actually run for about 48 hours before stopping too, so this 28,800vph movement has a respectable allowance for some ‘down time’ probably enough to go on a weekend skiing in fact.
The Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T: Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac was probably designed with a Chinese client in mind. But even as a Chinese myself, I can’t help but believe they probably took the Chinese styling cues too much better. Personally, I believe Chopard must have stopped at the engravings on the case and abandon the dial plain. I’m convinced there is a market for slightly over-the-top unique pieces like this. The Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T: Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac is a one off bit and price is only available on request. A staple of this Chopard L.U.C series, the Chopard L.U.C Lunar One perpetual calendar, has become an underdog hero for high-end watch collectors since the model’s debut over a decade ago. Now, I examine a newer limited edition version of this L.U.C Lunar One (mention 161927-9001) in a 950 platinum instance with a trendy blue dial. It’s a really Chopard solution, showcasing a lot of what the brand works best, and in a price that, comparatively speaking, is quite decent.A few years back, I visited Chopard’s production facility in Fleurier where they create L.U.C collection watches. While all Chopard watches are technically speaking luxury products, the L.U.C set is where collectors really put their attention given the moves. Most L.U.C watches are more conventional in their own fashion, but with a healthy dose of (elegant) masculinity as evidenced by the proportions, sizes, and robust presence of these watches overall.Each L.U.C motion is produced in house by Chopard, and includes finishing (decoration to the metallic components) that in my opinion rivals those which are regarded as the very best in the industry. A good look at the in-house made caliber L.U.C 96.13-L automatic movement through the back of the case reveals careful focus, exquisite classic lines, excellent surface treatments, and also a focus on practical utility that we watch lovers find in timepieces we actually wear.
On the wrist the watch is big and chunky, at 44mm in diameter and 13.79mm thick, it wears large thanks to the case flanks which are not rounded in any way but flat and polished. Not to mention the overhang of the Barenia calfskin strap from the lugs meaning it actually wears a little larger than this, but being leather on this limited edition watch I wouldn’t be surprised if this softens up with age.
Unlike the steel version which is limited to 1000 examples, this one is only limited to 100 watches worldwide and will start filtering through once the Mille Miglia has finished. We like both of these special edition watches a lot, they are large yet modern and very comfy on the wrist. The perlage dials look amazing in the sunshine, the straps and cases feel rugged and even parts you hadn’t considered, such as the gap between the fasteners on the butterfly clasp, have been finished to perfection. Really, can you call yourself a true enthusiast if you don’t have at least one Mille Miglia in the collection?
That just about wraps up our coverage of Chopard for the time being. We’d like to, once again, extend our thanks to everyone involved on the trip, we’ve learned a lot about Chopard and have come to respect it a lot more too.
Chopard is a company that’s come along an incredibly long way in the last 20 years, the main driving force behind that has to be the focus on the L.U.C. collection. L.U.C. stands for Louis Ulysse Chopard, the founder of the company. It also stands for progress, innovation and dedication to fine watchmaking. Seriously, people do compare the finishing of L.U.Chopard watches with a Geneva Seal to those from Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe, and rightly so, they both use roughly the same verification process (the Seal of Patek Philippe is a bit different).
Here comes another one of those pesky Geneva Seal watches which challenges the top players, the L.U.C. Perpetual T – Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac. Chopard, along with companies such as Blancpain enjoys connecting with customers in the mysterious continent of Asia. This one specifically focuses on the Chinese Zodiac, and you can see that from the edges of the case. Watching the artisans in the manufacture of Fleurier practice their engraving technique was a real treat when we visited them. Chopard has engraved the caseband of this watch with the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
I would have loved for its movement to have Chopard’s “Quattro” method of four piled mainspring barrels — that offers around eight days of power reserve. I’m not sure if Chopard intends to upgrade its center perpetual calendar movement later on with more power book, but the L.U.C 96.13-L isn’t lacking. It’s two stacked mainspring barrels which offer 65 hours of power reserve. Of course, the motion is also an automatic using a strong 22k gold micro-rotor. Chopard recently published a similar appearing watch at the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono (hands-on here at the exact same platinum/blue dial combination). The Perpetual Chrono adds a 12 hour chronograph into the perpetual calendar pair of complications — even although it is founded on an entirely different motion, and with no L.U.C Lunar One, which can be an automatic, and the Perpetual Chrono is manually wound. If you are dying to get a chronograph/calendar combo, then the option for you will be obvious — though as a more functional daily wearer, I enjoy the Lunar One somewhat more.Not only is the Lunar One free from the sub-dial “ears” (an aesthetic thing) that are not popular with all people about the Perpetual Chrono’s dial, it is also cheaper by about $40,000 (when comparing platinum versions). The L.U.C Perpetual Chrono is also a larger watch coming from a 45mm wide circumstance, versus the Lunar One’s still large (such as a dress watch) 43mm wide dimensions. Speaking of dimensions, the Lunar One isn’t a small watch, also given the wide lugs, wears big for a 43mm wide watch. That is not a terrible thing, and that I know of many men and women who enjoy traditional watches in this specific size. With that said, provided that watch lovers are very specific about the dimensions they like, if you’re interested in a more modestly-sized apparel watch, then search for perpetual calendar watches elsewhere (there are possibly many).
The bezel also has engravement on it in the form of what appears to resemble a Greek Key pattern, at least more than a Chinese one anyway. That work on the case sides and the bezel is the result of a tricky procedure called champlevé. The process involves cutting all the shapes required, in this case, animals and then filling in the spaces usually with a contrasting colour. As this watch has a dark contrast going, on it’s no surprise that black is the colour used on this finishing technique.
Talking about finishing we find ourselves drawn to this lustrous Chopard L.U.C. Calibre 02.15 – L with all its finishing glory. True, you can’t see most of the high-level finishing required of the Geneva Seal because it’s hidden behind the baseplate (click here to read more about the decoration requirements of the Geneva Seal). What you get instead are a handy power reserve indicator and some remarkable hand finishing, as well as a small glimpse into the gearing system.
Back to the front and the dial is clearly where it’s at with this watch. The pattern itself is unusual as it reminds me of the floorboards of ancient Chinese huts, except it’s a deep lustrous black colour. It’s also got the hallmarks of an expensive timepiece: the tourbillon at six O’clock, and a perpetual calendar. I love the look of the cages Chopard puts over the tourbillon mechanism it produces, they look futuristic but not enough to stand out when put into a historical context. There’s also the big date windows at 12 O’clock which have no difference in depth, unlike some other companies *cough Lange cough*.
As you can imagine production for such a highly decorated watch is low, in this case, it’s a one-off. Chopard could have extended the exquisite decoration themes to the movement plates as well, but it’s not like this watch is lacking in the engraving in the first place. This 18k rose gold masterpiece has a price which is only available on request. For more info, please visit chopard.com
As you can plainly see we are really ramping up our coverage of the Only Watch charity auctions now, the watch auctions under the Patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco. This being the bi-annual charity auction where the proceeds go towards funding research for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, one of the most aggressive forms of the condition that shortens lives and breaks families apart. It’s extremely complicated to treat and is quite common amongst the different types of Muscular Dystrophy.
For the 6th time our friends at Chopard have stepped up to the mark to create a special edition watch that will go under the hammer at auction to contribute to the research for the fight against DM-D. If you’ve been following Chopard over the past couple of years you’ll know that they have been really expanding their coverage and involvement in the world of motorsports. Granted since the late 20th century Chopard has been involved with the Mille Miglia, one of the hardest races to compete in, however that’s not accessible to all, in fact, most haven’t even heard of it. However, a lot of them have heard of the Le Mans 24 hour race which Chopard’s partner Porsche competes in.
A legendary racer of the Le Mans 24 hour races is Jacky Ickx, a Belgian racing driver who won the 24-hour race six times and has also had 25 podium finishes and eight first place finishes in Formula One too. Jacky has even helped design this watch which bears his signature on the dial and name on the caseback.
The 12 animals of the Zodiac are engraved chronologically about the case middle with all the rat positioned on the top right corner of this watch. Some highlights worth mentioning include the tiger, that can be placed on the crown; and the snake and dragon, which are intertwined between the bottom lugs of this circumstance. The bezel is hand-engraved with the champlevé technique also and features a pattern that calls to mind that the grids found on ancient Chinese doors. Such as the case, it’s hand-engraved using a lattice pattern that’s like that of the bezel. Below are the endless calendar signs. At 3 o’clock, we’ve got the month and leap year signs, and at 9 o’clock we have the day and 24-hour indicators. In the end, at 6 o’clock there’s the tourbillon that makes a spinning every minute. Powering the watch is the standard 02.15-L that contains 353 parts and Chopard’s Quattro system, so it’s four mainspring barrels and a power reserve of 216 hours or 9 days. As mentioned earlier, it features the perpetual calendar complication and a tourbillon mechanism, and it defeats at 4Hz. The movement comprises extensive hand-finishing for example beveled bridges, polished screws and jewel countersinks, and has been given the Geneva Seal. The operator can also rest assured of exceptional timekeeping performance since it is also chronometer-certified from COSC. The movement could be admired through the watch’s sapphire display caseback.
This one of a kind watch uses Chopard’s recently developed hi-beat movement which sits pretty much between Zenith’s famed 5Hz El-Primero and Breguet’s ludicrous offerings which run at an astounding 10Hz. Chopard’s watch runs at 8Hz, which is double the operating speed of most modern day movements, the idea behind this step up in speed being that it gives less of an opportunity for timing error to occur when the balance is moving faster. Either way, it’s a futuristic concept and one some people have spent years researching, we like to think it works.
The titanium case on this limited edition watch is 45mm in diameter with a thickness of 12.4mm with the matte blue colour on the dial and leather strap being inspired by Jacky’s racing helmet. The highest bidder of this watch will also receive an exciting and memorable weekend at the Monaco Historique weekend in 2018 in the presence of Jacky Ickx himself thanks to Chopard’s connections in the motorsports world, given that Chopard watches tend to perform well at the Only Watch auction it shouldn’t be too hard for this watch to reach the upper prediction of 25,000 Swiss Francs.