Impressive, yes. Gorgeous, yes. One of our top ten watches at Baselworld 2016, definitely. The new L.U. Chopard Perpetual Chrono is one of those watches that comes with a special aura. Little did we know, that in the metal, this new watch would blow us away the way it did. An authentic watch collector’s dream, the new L.U.C Perpetual Chrono from Chopard, combines a manual wound chronograph and a finely crafted perpetual calendar within an unprecedented L.U.C in-house movement. Typically, when watch collectors use the words Perpetual and Chronograph in just one watch, the first brands that come to mind are Patek Philippe and A. Lange & Söhne. Well, as of last week, L.U. Chopard will also come to mind for sure. Presented as a celebratory piece in a limited edition of 20 pieces in "Fairmined" 18K white gold and 20 pieces in "fairmined" 18K rose gold, this new Perpetual Chrono celebrates the 20th anniversary of this manufacture with all whistles and bells.
The new Chopard L.U. Perpetual Chrono is fitted with a robust and very solid 45 mm x 15.06 mm case made of “Fairmined” 18K rose gold or white gold, sourced from "Fairmined" certified mining cooperatives in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. The L.U.C Perpetual Chrono by Chopard in white gold is the first L.U.C watch being produced out of 18K "Fairmined" white gold by Chopard. The case on the new L.U. Chopard Perpetual Chrono features a mirror polished bezel and mirror polished top on its lugs and a nice vertical satin-brushed finished caseband. The watch features rectangular boxtop pushers with satin brushed and highly polished areas. Without a doubt, this is a watch that follows the classical design cues of some of the best timepieces out there.
The new L.U.C Perpetual Chronograph by Chopard, features a gorgeous ruthenium-toned sunburst satin-brushed and hand-guilloché gold dial, with beams radiating from the date, snailed silver-toned inner bezel ring with red and black transfers, rhodiumed plated applied Roman numerals and hour markers and rhodiumed plated dauphine hands. The dial layout is very legible and not busy at all considering the information displayed on it. Depending on lighting conditions, the color of the dial varies drastically going all the way from a light grey as in the picture below, to a darker grey/brownish hue as in the following pictures showing the details on the dial.
Some of the signature features on this new Chopard perpetual calendar chronograph, include the signature large twin-aperture date display at 12, complemented by indications of the day of the week, day/night indication and 12-hour chronograph register at 9 o'clock, a month, leap year and 30-minute chrono register at 3 o'clock and a gorgeous orbital moon-phase display at 6 o'clock. The latter guarantees graphic and accurate readings of the age of the moon, with a mere one-day deviation in 122 years.
Since the original configuration of this calendar uses the same areas as the chronograph —both involving indications at 3 and 9 o’clock— the design and development of the perpetual calendar had to be adjusted to offset the day/night indicator by a few millimetres. This arrangement determined the specific layout of the dial and its counters. The hands for the chronograph feature red tips that not only provide greater level of contrast against the grey dial, but also maximize proper readability of the different functions.
The beating heart inside the new L.U. Chopard Perpetual Chrono is the manual wound L.U.C calinre 03.10-L entirely developed and produced in the Chopard Haute Horlogerie workshops and is built around a column wheel that controls all chronograph operations including the flyback function. The zero-reset system for the counters and the central sweep seconds hand is handled by progressive-contact hammers guaranteeing optimal precision. The movement featuring 42 jewels, beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph to provide a power reserve of 60 hours. Additionally, to make things even more interesting, the movement main plate and bridges are made of nickel silver resembling the color and hue of those German silver movements from A. Lange & Söhne.
Additionally, the new Baselworld 2016 L.U.C Perpetual Chrono has earned double certification. The rating precision of its L.U.C Calibre 03.10-L has been certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute —COSC— and in parallel, each of these 20 watches in “Fairmined” gold has successfully met the evaluation criteria of the Poinçon de Genève, which now encompass the watch in its entirety, providing an excellent guarantee of superlative craftsmanship and expertise. Formerly attributed to the movement only, the Poinçon de Genève currently puts the watch as a whole to the test.
Chopard is in fact the first luxury watch and jewellery company to have committed itself to supporting mining communities in order to help them achieve Fairmined certification. It contributes to training, to social well-being and to environmental protection. Fairmined certification ensures that gold is extracted in a responsible way by artisanal and small-scale mining organisations, that both miners and the environment are treated correctly and that purchasers pay a premium, in addition to the fixed gold price, to be reinvested in community projects. The choice of fine materials runs right the way through to the strap of the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono, made of hand-sewn large-scaled vegetal tanned alligator leather. Given that a L.U.C watch will be admired from every angle, Chopard has also made the lining in chestnut brown small-scaled alligator leather. The strap is fitted with a double folding clasp in matching gold.
On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and extremely elegantly. This is a watch that brings all sorts of unexpected elements to the table, especially coming from such a young manufacture. All we know, is that after reviewing this watch in person, we can attest that the craftsmanship, quality and design are present all the way in this timepiece. Kudos to Chopard for putting together one of the most impressive watches at Baselworld 2016.
Sticker Price $95,630 USD for either 18K white gold or 18K rose gold. For more info on Chopard click here.