This year at Baselworld, Chopard introduced one of their most complicated timepieces ever. Produced in-house by their higher-end manufacture (L.U.C.), the L.U.C. Perpetual Chrono boasts a vertical coupling-clutch column-wheel flyback chronograph with a perpetual calendar, along with an impeccably finished Haute horology dial, movement, and case.
Intricate details of the dial include a gray ruthenium-toned sunburst satin-brushed and hand-guilloché gold dial, with beams radiating from the prominent twin-aperture date window at 12. White or rose gold rhodium-plated Roman numerals (depending on the case material) are applied by hand to the dial, surrounded by a snailed silver-toned inner bezel ring – with red and black transfers.
Rhodium-plated Dauphine-shaped hands, in white or rose gold, are used to indicate hours, minutes, small seconds, day, month, chronograph (seconds, minutes, hours – designed with red tips), and phases of the moon.
There are also two compact hands, at 10 and 2 o’clock, which indicate whether it is day or night and if it is a leap year, respectively. These dials are visible, off-center, as part of the subdials which also act as chronograph hour and minute counters, as well as day and month displays. The main section of the subdial has a smooth finish, whereas the day/night and leap year indications are snailed.
At 6 o’clock is an orbital moon-phase indication which also doubles the small seconds display. Time-setting with stop-seconds function is controlled by the crown. There are also three recessed pushers mounted around the perimeter of the case.
The case, which measures 45 mm by 15.06 mm (8.50 mm solid gold crown emblazoned with “L.U.C.”), is available in either 18K white or rose gold, with a fully polished finish on the top side and a vertical satin-brushed finish on the case middle. Uniquely, the sourcing of the gold is from “Fairmined” certified mining cooperatives in Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia. Each case metal (white or rose gold) is limited to 20 pieces.
The dial is a masterpiece by itself, but it would not work without the technically sophisticated movement underneath. Made completely in-house at the Chopard L.U.C. manufacture in Fleurier, Switzerland – caliber L.U.C. 03.10-L – is a work of art. Measuring 33 mm x 8.32 mm, the mainplate and bridges or made of soft nickel silver, which has a light gray appearance, is has a beautiful appearance that is distinct from the more common brass material used to produce most mechanical movements. Due to its softness, it is much harder to work with as it is easier to scratch.
Finishing of the movement components is amongst the best in the industry – with Côtes de Genève, circular graining, chamfering, satin-brushing, and polishing – completed only by Chopard’s top craftsmen.
The hand-wound movement has 42 jewels and beats at 4Hz (28,800 vph), with a 60-hour power reserve. The movement has a COSC certification, making it a chronometer, and in addition, it fully meets the requirements of the Poinçon de Genève, which include aesthetically finished standards, as well as rate accuracy that meets chronometer specs after being fully cased up (which differs from COSC, that is tested prior to casing up the movement). Moreover, Poinçon de Genève encompasses the entire watch, not just the movement.
The L.U.C Perpetual Chrono is completed with a hand-sewn large-scaled vegetal tanned alligator leather strap with a matching gold buckle. (Ref. 161973-1001 – white gold, 161973-5001 – rose gold) Water-resistance is 30 meters.
Retail is $85,000.
Photos by Josh Shanks