Released last year, the elegant and complicated Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chronograph now sees a wonderfully deep blue limited edition done in platinum. The latest edition to Chopard’s haute horologerie L.U.C range, this iteration of the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is limited to 20 pieces. Chopard’s high-end watchmaking prowess tends to be underrated in my opinion, but having just approached the 21st birthday of the Chopard Manufacture, we’ve seen countless pieces that elicit horological envy of the highest order. Let’s see what this limited edition, Geneva Seal-bearing, blue-dialed perpetual calendar chronograph piece has to offer.
The L.U.C Perpetual Chronograph sits among Chopard’s range topping collection of totally in-house manufactured pieces which are worthy of the L.U.C moniker. L.U.C stands for Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the brand’s founder and a skilled maker of chronometer movements in his own right. Originally released in 2016, this updated version differentiates itself with a platinum case and very attractive blue dial. Before we delve too deeply, It’s important to note here that this piece will retail for over $100,000 and be produced in a very limited series of only 20 pieces. A cost of ownership like that makes it an aspirational piece for all but the very wealthy who appreciate fine watchmaking. That being said, it’s exactly the kind of watch we watch enthusiasts love to love because it represents what is possible in watchmaking when you take finances as a limited factor and chuck it out the window of your probably high rise downtown loft.
One of the most striking features of this L.U.C Perpetual Chronoraph is the blue guilloche dial. The sunburst effect, which originates not from the center of the dial but from the applied Chopard signature, contrasts beautifully with the also applied Roman numeral hour markers. At twelve o’clock center, just below the signature, we see a large date aperture split into separate windows, a design feature which is carried forward from the previous version of this model. The chronograph display is done in the white ring around the sub-dials with the inner dials telling (from left to right) the am/pm, day, month, and leap year. The dial has a ton going on but there is a refined elegance to the piece that is uniquely Chopard.
The sub-dials, printed mostly in stark white, add depth and interest to the dial without making it overly busy or difficult to read. The 6 o’clock sub-dial shows the moon phase against a field of stars which features actual constellations. This is probably an especially helpful complication for those afflicted with lycanthropy. And, of course the moon phase is accurate to one day every 122 years assuming the watch runs for that time. Hands across the board are highly polished and the time hands at the center feature lume, a nice addition for a luxury piece. All of this is positioned beneath a sapphire crystal with an anti-glare coating.
Platinum is somewhat seldom used in watch case making due in part to its extreme cost, the heavier weight, and the difficulty it can provide in manufacture and finishing. Chopard are clearly up to the challenge and have succeeded beautifully with the L.U.C’s alternating brushed and polished 45mm wide and 15mm thick case. I imagine that all 45mm of width are necessary when you consider the size of such a highly complicated movement and the fact that the various sub-dials are already positioned so close together. As you’d expect, turning the watch reveals a sapphire equipped exhibition case back to enable easy viewing of the caliber 03.10-L which is based on Chopard’s 03.07-L hand-wound flyback chronograph movement.
Our own James Stacey summed up the 03.10-L movement wonderfully when he discussed the first model: “The COSC-certified 03.10-L operates at 4Hz with 42 jewels and a power reserve of 60 hours supporting a flyback column wheel 12-hour chronograph with a vertical clutch and the myriad functions of the perpetual calendar. Manufactured and hand-finished entirely in-house by Chopard, the L.U.C Perpetual Chronograph also passes the muster of the Poinçon de Genève (fully explained here), which now considers the watch in its entirety, rather than just the movement. This highly regarded hallmark is a tribute to the considerable quality of all aspects for the design and execution of the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chronograph.”
Attaching this 45mm exposition of watchmaking to the wrist is a fairly straight forward blue alligator leather strap with a matching, signed, folding platinum and 18k white gold clasp. For a manufacturer like Chopard who also produces leather bags that cost more than I make in a month, the strap is, as you would expect, beautiful and of supremely high quality.
The Chopard Perpetual Chronograph demonstrates the brand’s ability to not only create world-class haute horologerie pieces, but visually appealing and thoughtful designs that make both the right and left sides of the brain go wild with desire. Beautifully done in blue and platinum, this is a piece that most anyone can enjoy but only a few can truly appreciate. It’s a grail piece for sure, and the fact that only 20 will be made only underscores that point. Price for the Chopard Perpetual Chronograph in platinum with blue dial is $116,000. chopard.com