By Harlan Chapman-Green
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.