The Chopard and L.U.C names are synonymous not only with quality, but also with each other. The former is the Swiss watchmaking company as it is known throughout the world. The latter is the founder’s initials. But, while Louis-Ulysse Chopard founded his eponymous brand in 1860, in the small sub-alpine village of Sonvillier, it wasn’t until 1996 that a range of Chopard movements bore his famous name.
That year, under the watchful guidance of Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the heritage watchmaking brand opened its own watch movement manufacturing facility in the Neuchâtel town of Fleurier. The L.U.C calibres were the jewels in Chopard’s watchmaking crown; precise, finely crafted and aesthetically beautiful pieces of horological engineering fit for the brand’s latest innovative chapter.
Quarter of a century later, and the L.U.C range continues to epitomise all that is great about Chopard. The collection is exceptional, with mechanical watches from the COSC-certified ‘1937’ to the artfully simple ‘XP’ doing justice to Louis-Uylsse’s legacy. Last week, at 2021’s Watches & Wonders show, Chopard celebrated the 25th anniversary of the L.U.C movement with a selection of new limited edition watches. Here are five of our favourites…
L.U.C Time Traveller One Black
First up, the Chopard L.U.C Time Traveller One Black. Now here’s a handsome watch. Playing with tones and shades of grey and silver, it’s like a black tie tux condensed down and buckled onto your wrist. Key parts of that monochromatic look include a ceramised titanium case, a grey galvanic dial and those silvered Dauphine-style hands.
But this 250-piece limited edition’s most impressive achievement? That it remains so suave and sleek with everything it has going on. From London to Los Angeles, 24 cities encircle the dial, there are two crowns on the side of the Super Compressor-style case and an internal rotating bezel. And it still looks this clean? That’s impressive watchmaking.
L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25
Next up, we’ve got Chopard’s first jumping-hour watch. It’s an even more limited run than the Time Traveller above — with only 100 of these rose gold beauties being produced — and is one of the purest expressions of timekeeping we’ve seen from any watchmaker in a long time. Comparing it to the Time Traveller again, this dial is so pared-back and stripped-down it belies the mastery and majesty of the mechanism below.
And what a mechanism. With four stacked and series-coupled barrels, the L.U.C 98.06-L movement is an astonishing piece of work. In the absence of an hour hand, the hour is displayed digitally in a 6 o’clock aperture (no, that’s not a date window). And, thanks to its exclusive Chopard Quattro technology, it has a power reserve that nudges nine days — despite the notoriously high levels of power it takes to keep jumping-hour watches precise. A heritage-meets-modern marvel.
L.U.C Perpetual Chrono
While the Time Traveller may be technically impressive, and the Quattro Spirit 25 be visually striking, neither can hold a horological candle to this L.U.C Perpetual Chrono. The biggest and most mechanically advanced new release from Chopard, the L.U.C 03.10-L calibre gives this exceptional 20-piece limited edition true master chronometer credentials and a 60-hour power reserve.
But it’s the case itself that’s most exciting. Not only is the Perpetual Chrono a big watch — at 45mm — but it is now both lighter and tougher than steel; in this titanium edition. And the precious metals don’t end there. The dial is crafted from guillochéd, black-rhodium-plated solid gold. Finished off with the subtle red touches, and this is a sporty new look for the L.U.C range.
L.U.C Qualité Fleurier II Jubilee
This is only the second Chopard to carry the Qualité Fleurier hallmark — but it’s the first to do so within a stainless steel case. Powered by the L.U.C 96.09-L calibre movement, endowed with a 65-hour power reserve, this 39mm timepiece lays a new milestone in the history of Chopard’s fine watchmaking tradition.
But we’re as much impressed by its aesthetics as we are by the movement which makes it tick. An intriguing look hovers between vintage and modern styling cues, with that sector-type dial inspired by both the Art Deco and Bauhaus movements. Add a sunburst, satin-brushed finish and chapter ring in galvanic blue, and you’ve got the most visually arresting new L.U.C on this list.
L.U.C GMT One Black
And, finally, Chopard’s new L.U.C GMT One Black dual-time travel watch. It’s a fitting release for a post-pandemic world — and one with a slightly higher production run, of 250 pieces. Cast from the same lightweight, ultra durable ceramised titanium as the Time Traveller One above, this pioneering material brings a contemporary edge to a timeless timekeeping tradition.
And, like its monochromatic stablemate above, the functional, fashionable design of this watch gives it unparalleled versatility — perfect for international travel and keeping time regardless of the country, culture or conditions. Pair that with the high-quality rubber strap, and you’ve got perhaps the most luxurious tool watch ever to tick its way out of Fleurier.
Want to invest in the Swiss brand? How to pick the Chopard watch that’s right for you…
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