It may come as a surprise, but rarely do I wear fuchsia-strapped, diamond-encrusted, rose-gold-cased watches with brightly colored floral dials. I’m not really sure how to deal with the cold, hard reality that the Chopard L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony watch makes me want to.
Let me make one thing clear: My attraction to this watch is purely aesthetic. I promise you I have not fallen for the fantastic press release pitch that heralds Chopard’s special relationship with the peony (which is a flower, in case anyone is wondering) as some kind of existentialist metaphor. Nor am I completely convinced that the peony was one of Chopard co-president Caroline Scheufele’s favorite flowers until she started working for the company. What I wholly buy into, though, is that the peony is a very popular flower in China. I would wager that might be why we get an annual release inspired by this fleetingly flowering bloom.
Moderate cynicism, this is a truly exceptional work of art, and it expresses that visually without the need for words. That said, I understand the need for press releases; I understand the need for stories. It’s patently obvious that we need to somehow rationalize a purchase of such extravagance through a process of referenced justification. But sometimes it just isn’t necessary — sometimes the product speaks for itself. In the case of Chopard L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony watch, I really believe that to be true.
Brand: L. U. Chopard
Model: XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony Watch
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Case Material: 18k rose gold
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire Crystal
Movement: L.U.C 96.23-L
Frequency: 28,800vph (4Hz)
Power Reserve: 65 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Hand-stitched crocodile
Price & Availability: POA. 8 pieces available in Chopard Boutiques
I don’t dislike Chopard watches at all, but I just don’t feel anything toward the vast majority. I’m always swayed by their competition. And as a value proposition the brand never sits well with me. It’s not that the pieces aren’t incredibly wrought, excellently finished, and in possession of a strong horological pedigree that some may not associate with a brand widely known for its jewelry, but they are positioned as extremely luxury items, and are positioned to appeal to a specific high net-worth audience, rather than the wider watch community.
But this model does make me feel. Here we have something that has taken a team of highly skilled artisans weeks to produce. The watchmaking, the engraving, the miniature painting, the enameling, the gem-setting, the polishing, and the printing required to get from raw materials to the finished product is awe-inspiring.
Horologically speaking, this watch is not going to change the world, but it is going to make eight lucky people happy. To look upon an item so finely made (assuming you like a scene of purple and pink flowers set against some leafy greens) would be a daily pleasure.
And then to flip the watch over and study it from the back, a real treat awaits. This style of movement engraving is very uncommon and was, apparently, down to the “golden-handed” skill of one woman working in the engraving department for Chopard who offered to teach herself a skill, of which she has now become a master.
Co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele had become inspired to include this style of finishing after discovering an old carriage watch from 1870. He decided that Chopard should experiment with this engraving style. Thanks to the ability of his volunteering employee, it was not long before the brand could add this skill to its arsenal.
I am always very impressed by such remarkable hand skills. The fusion of so many talents is a fact of life for most watches that hit the market, but it is quite uncommon for so many art forms to be brought together in one piece so harmoniously. I guess what I like most about this piece is that for a bright pink, rose-gold watch dripping with diamonds, and floral motifs, it somehow comes off as elegant rather than egotistical. With only eight pieces being produced and availability restricted to Chopard boutiques, it is unlikely any of us will see this piece in the wild. But I for one will be keeping my eyes peeled in hope. POA. Visit chopard.com to learn more.