The year 2016 will be the big one for Chopard’s L.U.C haute horlogerie collection, as it marks its 20th anniversary. The celebration starts during Baselworld 2016 watch show when the Swiss manufacturer plans to unveil its anniversary models. This March, we will see the new L.U.C Perpetual Calendar Chronograph which combines a hand-wound chronograph and a wonderfully crafted perpetual calendar within the exceptional L.U.C movement, caliber 3.10-L.
The impeccable mechanism is entirely developed and produced in the Chopard Haute Horlogerie workshops in Fleurier and assembled in Geneva. L.U.C Calibre 03.10-L is built around a column wheel that controls all chronograph operations – including the flyback function.
The chronograph features a zero-reset system for the counters and a central sweep seconds hand is handled by progressive-contact hammers preserving optimal accuracy. It guarantees smooth yet firm activation of the timing-related parts via a vertical coupling clutch. The final result is astonishing – long-term timekeeping (perpetual calendar) and short-term time recording, via a chronograph.
The perpetual calendar of the L.U.C Perpetual Calendar Chrono is fully integrated into the chronograph movement and it is recognizable by its large twin-aperture date window situated at the 12 o’clock position. A stunning dial is coated with a gray ruthenium and encrusted with a hand-guilloché pattern that creates light effects radiating from the twin-aperture date display on the top of the dial. The gorgeous dial also comprises, a 30-minute chronograph counter, a months display and an off-set leap year indicator between 2 and 3 o’clock position, a moon phase and a small seconds counter at the 6 o’clock position, chronograph hours, a day of the week and day-night indicator between 9 and 10 o’clock position. The orbital moon-phase display offers graphic and precise readings of the age of the moon, with a minor one-day deviation in 122 years.
The hours, minutes and chronograph seconds are in the center of the dial. There is also a railroad track around the outside, with some arrowhead five-minute markers and Roman numerals for the hours.
Considering the fact that the original configuration of this calendar uses the same areas as the chronograph – both involving indications at 3 and 9 o’clock positions – the architecture of the perpetual calendar had to be adjusted to offset the day/night indicator by a few millimetres.
The first thing that catches attention on its dial is definitely the “Mickey Mouse ears” off-set sub-dials between 2 and 3 o’clock and 9 and 10 o’clock – especially the way the chronograph hours and minutes continue to run around the edges of the leap year and day-night indicators.
The rating precision of the hand-wound movement has been certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC certification). The 42 jewels mechanism oscillates at the rapid frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) and provides 60 hours of power reserve.
Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono is cased in Fairmined gold. That means that the 18-karat white gold used in this watch is sourced from certified mining cooperatives in Columbia, Peru and Bolivia. The certificate actually means that the Swiss manufacturer is dedicated to supporting mining communities, as well as contributing in training and environmental protection. The watch is produced in a symbolic limited edition of only 20 pieces worldwide, each housed in a 45mm case.
From the rear, a sapphire case back reveals the inner beauty of the chronograph movement, including the impeccably finished movement parts. Although the movement decoration is traditional and elaborate, the chronograph is constructed in a quite efficient and modern manner.
The retail price of the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Calendar Chrono will be approximately $85,000.