2016 is a big year for Chopard. This year the brand celebrates the 20th anniversary of it L.U.C collection, a family of watches that demonstrates exactly what this independent watchmaker can really do. In fact, the brand is making one heck of a statement ahead of BaselWorld 2016, with the launch of its L.U.C Perpetual Chrono.
The L.U.C family of watches pays tribute to Chopard’s founder, Louis-Ulysse Chopard (L.U.C), who founded the company back in 1860. Today, Chopard is known as a watch and jewelry maker but the brand was actually founded as a watchmaker.
The introduction of the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono is significant because it is the brand’s first full in-house developed perpetual calendar chronograph timepiece. Perpetual calendar chronograph watches, and their movements, are quite challenging to produce given the complexity of designing and executing a movement that not only performs well but looks fantastic. We like these types of watches because they offer the wearer one of the most useful complications in watchmaking (a pereptual calendar), as well as one of the most classic and interesting complications (a chronograph).
But, before we get to the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono properly, we’d like to highlight something quite important about this timepiece. The watch’s 45mm white-gold case is sourced with the assistance, and stamp of approval, of Fairmined.
Fairmined is an organisation, and an assurance label, that certifies that the gold is sourced from responsible Artisanal and small-scale mining companies, who meet world leading standards for responsible practices. Basically, Fairmined ensures that gold comes from ethically responsible sources. It’s an excellent initiative, and one that we hope other watch brands get onboard with. You can read more about Fairmined here.
A lot of watch brands have CSR or sustainability initiatives in place but what we like about Chopard’s approach is that it is direct. As we said earlier, the gold used to produce the case of the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono is sourced responsibly from Fairmined certified mining operations. Other brands tend to get involved with CSR and sustainability initiatives in a separate bubble that has little or nothing to do with their watchmaking process. Don’t get us wrong however, we appreciate and respect those initiatives as well, but we’d like to see brands take the direct approach, and integrate it into their watch manufacturing process in the way that Chopard has.
Now, getting back to the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono. This timepiece is powered by the hand wound calibre 03.10-L, a movement that has been fully developed and produced in-house by Chopard themselves. This calibre features a power reserve of 60-hours when fully wound, and measures 33mm in diameter and 8.32mm in thickness. For comparison, the L951.1 calibre in A. Lange & Söhne’s Datograph Perpetual measures 32mm by 8mm, and offers only 36-hours of power reserve.
Chopard’s 03.10-L calibre is Chronometre certified by COSC and bears the Hallmark of Geneva. It’s rare to find a perpetual calendar chornograph movement with COSC credentials, so there’s already a lot going for this calibre before you even get to its features, design and architecture.
The chronograph features a flyback function, and all of the chronograph functions are governed by a vertical clutch, column wheel system – these are top grade execution touches that suggest that the chronograph will perform well (lack of chrono hand jump on initial engagement) and feel great, when you interact with the watch’s pushers.
With regard to the perpetual calendar, as you’d expect, the watch indicates the day of the week, the month, whether it is a leap year or not, as well as whether it is day or night, and the age of the moon (moonphase). Chopard says the moonphase is accurate to just a day of error once every 122-years.
The L.U.C Perpetual Chrono sports a ruthenium-toned sunburst satin-brushed and hand- guilloché gold dial, and there’s a snailed silver tone inner bezel ring. Chopard has graced the dial with applied rhodiumed Roman numeral hour markers, and the brand has also used rhodiumed dauphine-style hands for hours, minutes, small seconds, day and month counters.
The watch is presented on a black hand-sewn double-sided alligator leather strap, and is limited (sadly) to just 20 pieces worldwide. We’ll update the story as soon as we have pricing information.
To learn more about Chopard, click here.