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Review: Chopard L.U.C. Perpetual Calendar Chrono

Full hands-on analytical review with live high res photographs of the new flagship L.U.C. Perpetual Calendar Chrono
by Robin Lim on May 13, 2016
Positives

It is a well-made timepiece, combined with stunning aesthetics and excellent technical prowess. The "Fairmined" case is also something that encourages sustainability, and we think that it is a good idea for the industry to follow upon.

Negatives

The watch is slightly on the chunkier side, and its slightly contemporary design might be a double-edged sword for some.

You know it when you have seen something that is rather special or extraordinary. That particular feeling that is indescribable, but one that will simply keep you coming back for one more glance. That was what we felt at that particular instance, when we first saw the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Calendar Chrono.

We have been big fans of Chopard, and it is no secret that we have a thing for its remarkable L.U.C collection. In this year’s Baselworld, we were pleasantly surprised by yet another novelties of theirs – the L.U.C Perpetual Calendar Chrono. It is, notably, the first in-house produced chronograph and perpetual calendar from the Geneva-based watchmaker. But more importantly, the timepiece is one hell of a stunner.

The Case, dial and hands

 

A close-up of the dial. It is stunning; the attention to detail here is nothing short of amazing.

A close-up of the dial. It is stunning; the attention to detail here is nothing short of amazing.

 

We start off with one of the most important visual aspects of the watch: the dial. As usual, Chopard watches are always a sight to behold. This particular timepiece is no different; in fact, we would like to think that this is possibly one of the most beautiful dials that Chopard had ever produced. It features a ruthenium-toned sunburst gold dial, which features both satin-brush finishing and hand-guilloché. The combination of the effects is gorgeous, and it has definitely added some flavors into the timepiece.

But, it doesn’t end there. The watch features 5 sub-dials: 3 mains ones, and two that are extended from the chronograph counters. On top of that, it also features a big date indicator that is placed below the logo at the 12 o’clock position of the watch. Despite the fact that the watch has many indicators, Chopard had managed to assimilate them into three main sub-dials harmoniously, which enables the watch to look less cluttered and more symmetrical. We also like how Chopard had introduced depth and contrast between the dial and the sub-dials; it makes the whole watch looks much better and helps to differentiate between the different components on the dial itself. One instance would be the chronograph complication, in which Chopard had used red to identify the sub-dials/hands/numerals that were used to measure the lapsed time. Even though it is something simple, but it had managed to achieve both form and functionality simultaneously.

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Another look at the L.U.C Perpetual Calendar. Splendid stuff.

Another look at the L.U.C Perpetual Calendar. Splendid stuff.

 

The highly-polished hands, as mentioned feature different tips to differentiate its purpose. For instance, the red-tipped hands signify that they are reserved for the chronograph function, and hence the user will not confuse it with the month or day indicator that shares the same sub-dial. Also, the minute and hour hands are coated with lume, to ensure visibility when the environment is dark.

 

The side profile of the watch. It looks stunning, at different angles.

The side profile of the watch. It looks stunning, at different angles.

 

Another interesting bit to take note is the gold case. Unlike most of the gold watches that are available in the market, the L.U.C Perpetual Calendar Chrono is fitted with a “Farmined” gold case. In order to attain the “Fairmined” status, the gold that is extracted must be done in a responsible way in which both miners and the environment are to be treated with care and respect. Also, the premium that is paid for the “Fairmined” golds are to be reinvested for community projects and other environmental initiatives. It is rather meaningful, and it certainly makes mining more sustainable for both the environment and the miners in the longer run.

On the subject of cases, at 45mm wide and 15.06mm thick, the watch is naturally large and hefty. This is because it is required to accommodate the massive movement, although it measures slightly wider and thicker than its similar counterparts like the Datograph Perpetual (41mm by 13.5mm). Despite that, we think that the watch still looks rather gorgeous and proportional.

Read also:   Vintage Ebay Watch Find: Longines Nonius Valjoux 72 Vernier Seconds Hand

 

The movement: L.U.C. Calibre 03.10-L

 

The exhibition caseback which displays the stunning movement.

The exhibition caseback which displays the stunning movement.

 

The watch is powered by the in-house produced L.U.C. Calibre 03.10-L, which was based on the L.U.C. 03.07-L. The base movement, notably, was featured in Chopard’s 1963 Chronograph that we have raved about previously.

The new hand-winding movement features a flyback chronograph with a vertical clutch system, and it boasts a power reserve of around 60 hours. Additionally, it is fitted with a perpetual calendar system, in which it features an orbital moon phase that requires a correction once only after every 122 years. The other indicators, such as the month and day display, were located at the other two sub-dials. Finally, the large date is displayed at the 12 o’clock position, in which there are two apertures to display the numerals.

 

A close up shot of the movement. Note the finishing on the components; it is remarkably intricate.

A close up shot of the movement. Note the finishing on the components; it is remarkably intricate.

 

In the usual fashion, the finishing on the L.U.C. movement is excellent. The L.U.C. Calibre 03.10-L, for instance, features a variety of finishing such as the Côtes de Genève motif, anglage, perlage, and graining. One noteworthy point would be the sharp corners of the bridges, in which it requires a lot of skill and effort to achieve such a result.

In addition, the watch is awarded both the COSC and the Poinçon de Genève certifications. These awards are a hallmark of excellence, and they are only awarded to watches that have met a very stringent set of tests and prerequisites. This is a testament to the quality and technical prowess of the timepiece, in which not many watches, let alone one that features two highly technical complications, are able to achieve.

Read also:   In Conversation: Walter von Kânel: President, Longines

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

A mandatory wristshot. It looks good on the wrist, although the 45mm case might be too big for some.

A mandatory wristshot. It looks good on the wrist, although the 45mm case might be too big for some.

 

Now, how do we start?

The Chopard L.U.C. Perpetual Calendar Chrono is a stunning watch, without a shadow of doubt. The attention to detail is staggering, and we feel that this is probably one of the prettiest pieces that Chopard had produced. Every aspect of the timepiece is put together harmoniously, and the combination of these bits are simply akin to an orchestra that plays a beautiful symphony with many instruments coming into the picture.

Also, we would like to think that this is an interesting alternative for someone who wishes to own a highly complicated and well-made timepiece. Not only does this watch matches up in terms of the quality and robustness with some of the more intimidating and illustrious counterparts, but we also think that its contemporary design might be of interest for people who wishes to buy something that looks less traditional and formal.

However, at 45mm, the size of the watch may not be suitable for collectors with smaller wrist size. Although the shorter curved lugs might have mitigated the problem for some, we reckon that some of the collectors might be better off with something that is sized more appropriately for their wrists.

Finally, the Chopard L.U.C. Perpetual Calendar Chrono comes in two different case variants, in either White Gold or Rose Gold. They retail at S$121,890 each, and they are limited to just 20 pieces per variant. Granted, the price of this watch probably out of reach for most of us. But to be frank, this is one of the most stunning pieces from this year’s Baselworld, and we feel that this is a timepiece that would seriously give the likes of Patek Philippe and Lange a run for their money. If you are blessed with the opportunity to own something that is of such caliber, we would strongly recommend you to give this watch a double-take.

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