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Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition Watch Hands-On

Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

When I think of high-end Swiss watchmakers, I must admit I tend to overlook Chopard. The so-called “Big Three” tend to get the most attention in this space; Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe, all three steeped in history and accolades. But after seeing the new Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition watch for 2018, I’m putting this brand firmly on my radar; featuring both the Geneva Seal and COSC chronometer certification, as well as a 4-barrel (or “Quattro”) power reserve of 9 days, this is a timepiece offering some serious horological clout.

Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

All images by Ariel Adams

The Geneva Seal, or “Poincon de Genève” in French, is primarily a certification of origin and finishing; the watch must be assembled, adjusted, and cased-up in the Canton of Geneve, and every component of the watch must be finished to exacting standards. Since 2011 the Seal criteria was updated to also include a cyclotest of the watch functions, water and power reserve testing, and an accuracy test over 7 days, during which the watch must deviate by no more than a minute. As this is less strict than COSC’s -4/+6 seconds per day requirement, the brand have opted to double-certify the Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition to both standards. This might seem redundant, but it also makes a strong statement about the brand’s confidence in this watch. This is not just a finely-finished luxury item but also an accurate and reliable timepiece, making the Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition more suited to everyday wear than your typical dress watch.

Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Another element I tend to associate with luxury Swiss watchmaking is history, and Chopard is no slouch in this regard either. Founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard, (whose initials name the L.U.C. collection), this is a company with more than 150 years of heritage. Unlike many of the conglomerated luxury brands which dominate the market, Chopard is still family-owned; Louis’ grandson Paul-André Chopard sold the business to a German watchmaker and goldsmith named Karl Scheufele III in 1963, and the Scheufele family still runs the brand to this day. This story is not greatly dissimilar to that of Patek Philippe, who pre-date Chopard by less than a decade and were sold to the Stern family in 1932. Although Chopard’s horological achievements over this period may pale in comparison to Patek’s, I feel the comparison still serves to solidify Chopard as a brand that can claim real history and continuity.

Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition borrows some style cues from the brand’s L.U.C. XP watch (hands-on here), trading in the collection’s typical Roman numerals for blued Arabic numerals at 3 and 9 o’clock, blue faceted indices, and a much cleaner implementation of both the small second/pointer date sub-dial and the power reserve indicator. The color scheme of the hands has also been reversed; the brand’s signature “dauphine fusée” hour and minute hands are now blued, as is the baton-style small seconds hand, while the pointer date and power reserve hands are gold. The combined effect is very legible, although I’m not sold on the cutouts in the hour and minute hands. At a glance they appear to be coated in Super-LumiNova due to the silvery white dial being visible beneath, a look I immediately associate with more sporty watches.

Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Normally I’m very critical of “dress watches” with cases bigger than 40mm, especially those with vintage or retro design cues. That being said, the 43mm, 18-carat rose gold case on the Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition seems to actually be just about the right size. It’s suitably slim at 8.84mm, the curved lugs help the case hug the wrist, and the more casual styling in this version helps the larger-than-usual case feel modern. The bezel and lugs are polished, while the caseband is vertically satin-brushed, which ties in well with the brushed dial. Glare-proofed sapphire crystal covers both the dial and caseback, and the watch is water-resistant to the quite respectable depth of 50m; dressy watches of this echelon all too frequently offer 30m or less. The included leather strap is a mixture of blue calfskin leather with brown alligator leather lining and an 18k rose gold pin buckle, whose overall appearance is not dissimilar from the cashmere strap used on the L.U.C. XP, striding a middle ground once again between dressy and casual.

Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The case-back is also polished and hand-engraved with “QUATTRO” at 12 o’clock and the individual serial number at 6 o’clock, and also features the Geneva Seal at 3 o’clock. The in-house L.U.C 98.01-L calibre shows off a second Geneva Seal on the bottom-most bridge, and is finished accordingly; chamfered edges, Geneva stripes, and polished screw-heads abound. The quality of the Geneva striping is particularly noticeable, achieving a highly uniform appearance comparable to one of A. Lange & Söhne’s three-quarter plates. The two sets of stacked barrels correspond with the raised jewel bearings near the top of the movement, each encircled with rings of golden text which denote the level of adjustment, brand and manufacturing locale of the calibre. This movement oscillates at the very modern frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz), making the 9-day power reserve figure even more impressive.

Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Overall I think the Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition is a fantastic statement piece for the brand. The only other current-production watch with both the Geneva Seal and COSC certification that I’m aware of is the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Chronomètre Royal 1907, with a price-tag north of $47,000. Patek Philippe also used to make dual Geneva Seal and COSC certified watches with 10-day power reserves, in the form of their limited edition reference 5100J “Manta-Ray” which can command prices in the ballpark of $30,000 pre-owned. With an asking price of 24,600 CHF (equivalent to $25,900 USD at time of writing), the Chopard L.U.C Quattro Limited Edition offers a significantly more affordable alternative to its direct competition, with the added exclusivity of being a limited run of 50 units. chopard.com

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  • Pretty sure there is no lume on the hour and minute hands (as evidenced by the shadows on the dial). So there is no lume disparity – just no lume, which for a dress watch may be forgivable.

    So nice looking and while far from cheap, the price is not so crazy considering the competition. Me likely a lot.

    • Jason Swire

      Good catch, thanks! The post has been updated accordingly.

    • ProJ

      Thanks for pointing out this info. I was always under the impression this were lumed hands, never thought them skeleton.

    • cluedog12

      Read somewhere else that the production version would have lume. I like the hands as-is.

    • IanE

      I read elsewhere that this is the prototype version and that it will have lume (in the hands) in the finished version (much to many people’s disappointment!)

  • jgbbxl

    A 43mm “dress watch”. What a joke!

  • Mikita
  • David Rolls

    Beautiful and almost affordable, compared to it’s competition. The 9 day power reserve with a 4Hz movement is excellent. Impressive.

  • SuperStrapper

    LUC wasnt on your horological radar before this watch? Hand in your credentials.

    Regardkess, nice offering. The high power without sacrificing rate is always worth noting as it still has yet to become common. Price seems very reasonable all things considered.

  • I’m not big on gold usually but this watch is done right in my opinion. I would be interested in a plain stainless steel version.

  • BNABOD

    No dress watch expert here but 43 is too big. Tops 41 and that is already big especially since that watch seems to wear quite big ( All dial and reasonably thin bezel and all )
    Looks really nice finished and I dig the art deco hands. No a fan of seconds and the date all in one but not a deal breaker either.
    Movement wise something bugged me right away see next post

    • BNABOD
      • SuperStrapper

        Tough to get a good look at as the movement pictures here are all almost squarely top-down. Those jewel bearings are raised so i assume those are basically like 2 nipples elevated up from the movement. Knowing LUC quality and seeing that seal i would have to assume it is a trick of the lighting or photography as the finishing must be fine and complete.

        • BNABOD

          I hope so but could not unsee it

          • Raymond Wilkie

            I can’t see what you can’t unsee.

      • Nateb123

        That’s how Cote de Geneve are made, through multiple passes with each taking a bit more material. You just can’t tell on most movements because nothing protrudes and the edges are often beveled, in part to mask the microscopic unevenness of the surface.

        • cluedog12

          This watch is a prototype, not intended for commercial sale. Right?

        • BNABOD

          Not making sense to me . You do Geneve first then the countersinks. So the countersinks should be perfectly round but they are not unless the angle of the pic is deceiving

  • Richard Baptist

    There is nothing wrong with this watch but for some reason it doesn’t do it for me. I prefer the LUC XPS and that movement. I feel I should like it but I don’t and I can’t tell you why. It may be the mix of colors on the dial.

  • Luke Deerstalker

    I’m sure my eyes are off but to me it looks like the 9 is taller than the 3.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      They’re off.

    • Cliff Barnes

      You’re correct. It’s not an optical illusion caused by the different shapes. If you use the markers as a guide, you see the 9 rises to the top of the market whereas the 3 does not

      • SuperStrapper

        I dont think so. This is not a perfect science but i leveled this shot to 0. Im sure all of the proportions are fine and worthy of the the seal.
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/663cd808f086e06538f54f22ffe3746f52cf94ba1474c96d31e496b5d1ddcfb0.png

        • Luke Deerstalker

          Thank you for putting in the time to do that but I don’t think it clears it up.

          • SuperStrapper

            I had the spare 90 seconds so its all good.

          • Nateb123

            You have to also take into account the crystal distortion from the angle of the shot. The left side is clearly distorted when you look at the 46 second/minute marker vs the 14 marker. The former is seemingly pointed towards the top of the date subdial while the latter is clearly angled towards the centre pinion.

        • Cliff Barnes

          Ah, thank you. I now can see.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Very nice but choose between markers and numbers.

  • SuperStrapper

    Where is a picture of this movement at a steeper angle.

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    Thank you Jason, finally we are coming back to the good stuff, and leave the nightmares of Suchy and Monaco behind.
    Sadly, I am already an alcoholic after that.
    Overall very nice, I like the watch, 4Hz is good, not so much the hands, maybe solid would have been classier, and in a smaller size. On the case back, not much to see, lots of letters, but not magic anything, shame. If you tease, you have to deliver.

  • ASnog4’Squatch

    Hey David, you still missed some pictures below. Be sure to get rid of them a toute vitesse.

  • ASnog4’Squatch

    Comment sections are so 1st Quarter 2018. Close ’em down! Unleash your inner Nazumi.

  • Arwed

    OK, four mainspring barrels for a ~10 day power reserve as well as a reserve indicator on the dial is impressive. But:

    – ‘warm’ gold with silver dial and blued hands looks strange. White gold and/or platinum, or even steel case would have looked more consistent, I think.
    – Overlapping sub-seconds with a date dial (same sub-dial) is unnecessary. Leave the date indication out. If you know that if yesterday was the third you can expect that somebody would know that today is the fourth.
    – I still always prefer “Chronometre” over “Chronometer” as an identification on the dial. Which is also actually ‘legally’ correct, I think, according to COSC. – Geneva Seal and then plus COSC is not really a feat. But that’s a general ‘problem’.
    – L. U. Chopard does already much better: https://monochrome-watches.com/chopard-l-u-c-qualite-fleurier-chronometer-hands-live-photos-specs-price/. Qualite Fleurier (Fleuriyest) is ‘better’ than Geneva Hallmark and COSC (it also includes COSC BTW) together. About Fleuritest: https://www.fleurier-quality.com/fleuritest.html.
    – And even ‘better’: https://www.escapementmagazine.com/articles/chopard-l-u-c-xps-twist-qf-fairmined.html/. It has additionally a ‘fairmined’ gold case.
    – OK, the two watches with the links above from L. U. Chopard don’t have manual movements but are ‘at least’ micro-rotor automatics (for me almost as good as manual; even if 4 barrel manually-wound is impressive). BTW, I think, all movements for the three Chopard watches I compare here are coming from Vaucher (one of the best Swiss movement manufactures) in Fleurier.
    – OK, this is ‘complaining’ at a super-high level. Chopard (Scheufele etc.) develops, at least for me, to one of most the fascinating watch brands nowadays.

    • Timestandsstill

      If I’m not mistaken, Chopard, al least in its LUC line, makes it’s own movements in Fleurier and does not source them from Vaucher, also in Fleurier and part of the Sandoz group (and which includes Parmigiani Fleurier)
      Bovet, Chopard, Parmigiani and Vaucher are all participants in the Qualité Fleurier standards

      • Arwed

        This is about as much as I know as well. I just additionally ask myself that if QF (Fleuritest) with PF, L. U. Chopard, Bovet, and Vaucher is principally as ‘sparse’ as the Geneva Hallmark ‘followers’ (nowadays), if there are not things going on behind the scenes. At least the QF standard would not stipulate that other brands who adopt it for some of their models have to be on Fleurier town territory. Unlike the Geneva hallmark. In other words, and while I am a proponent of standards (professionally, I am an engineer and I am for ISO standards etc.), and usually standards are tied to transparency, but exactly that doesn’t seem to be the case (clearly communicated) in the Swiss watch industry. So, I am just interested to learn more about who’s who and who works together with whom, in this domain of hallmarks/standards. If somebody has more insight please let us know.

        • Jason Swire

          The Fleuritest is in some ways more exclusive than the Geneva Seal, as it requires the watch head to be 100% manufactured in Switzerland (with some exceptions, such as wire drawing), while the Geneva Seal requires that: “assembly, adjustment and casing-up of the movement and the additional module shall be performed in the Canton of Geneva. The applicant must be registered with the Trade Register of the Canton of Geneva.” So although restricted to a smaller geographic location, Geneva Seal watches can have parts manufactured outside of Switzerland.

          The accuracy benchmark of the Fleuritest is also tighter, at -0/+5 seconds per day over 24 hours (rather than one minute over 7 days, or roughly +/- 8.5 seconds per day). But on the flip side, the Geneva Seal’s finishing requirements are much more exacting and detailed than the Fleuritest’s. If you want full details, I’d recommend checking out this excellent article by David Bredan:
          http://ablogtowatch.com/geneva-seal-movements-roger-dubuis/

          • Arwed

            This, my reply, is principally an ode to highest-level standards and embracing maximization of quality of mechanical watches. Standards such as Poinçon de Genève (PdG) and Qualité Fleurier (QF), but also METAS, Bulletin ‘d’Observatoire (BdO), and at the lowest level COSC. I sure missed some. And this generally as being still ‘better’ and still more attractive to buyers than self-regulated, even highest quality watches/products can ever be. Examples: PP, L&S, JLC.

            Reading David Bredan’s article on PdF and Roger Dubuis (RD) is indeed worth one’s time. I do have several RDs (mainly from the 2000s; pre-Richemont time) such as Much More, Too Much, Golden Square and Sea More models. I like their design-boldness (but still being poetic) and the back then the combination of PdG and BdO de Besançon certifications. Made it altogether a fabulous package. Diaz/Dubuis were smart by embracing these certifications: the brand was new, the certifications (PdF was introduced in 1886) were old/established. This approach can give a new brand a boost, right from the beginning. And BTW this is really what standards are for. By adopting them you are already somehow automatically part of the inner/’’established’ circle. BTW, David’s article also states that PdG has recently been updated to now also include the assembled “watch head’s” accuracy, water resistance, power reserve, and overall functioning.

            I would also like to point to this article about QF: https://www.forbes.com/sites/yjeanmundelsalle/2015/11/25/the-fleurier-quality-foundation-celebrates-the-worlds-most-demanding-watchmaking-certification/#54e630b77051. The five criteria to gain QF certification outlined in the article speak for themselves, I think. BTW, it also ‘regulates’ the finish of movements, which is otherwise the hallmark of PdG. Fascinating is the fifth criteria: Fleuritest. This short video should say more than a thousand words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZulLrUf5p0. Also see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdI379BIi44 if you’re further interested. I think that this, altogether’ should show that QF is the most stringent and farthest-reaching quality certification standard for mechanical wrist watches currently in existence and most likely exceeds any other standard and/or proprietary (in-house) ones.

            Scheufele (L.U. Chopard (LUC)) and Parmigiani (Parmigiani Fleurier (PF)) teamed up (also mentioned in the Forbes’ article above) in the early 2000s to define and implement QF. Bovet (also in Fleurier) and Vaucher (also in Fleurier) eventually joined. But Bovet is out of reach for me. And Vaucher is a movement producer ‘only’. Why no other watch brand has so far adopted QF has probably to do with the town name “Fleurier” in the QF standard. As particular and as fragmented Swiss are (I am originally Swiss BTW, so I should somehow know) people (watchmakers) already have a problem to associate themselves with a town (where yourself are not located) only 5km away. In other words: 5km can be equal to one light year in Switzerland. Ha ha.

            Now let’s get back to practical, actually the more poetic, side of things. I eventually want to add a QF watch to my collection. Ideally time-only (definitely also no date aperture; and tourbillons I leave to the pocket watches I have in my collection). Both LUC and PF have a few QF models in their collections. I don’t like the PF lugs. That’s just personal taste. Also PF’s QF automatic movements have mainly full-rotors, which I don’t like, unless you have a solid case back. In other words, I prefer LUC (a watch design I like much better) which mainly uses micro-rotors. And the added plus is the offering of some of their QF models with Fairmined gold for the case. In a nutshell: a LUC QF it will be for me down the road. And I would even say that it could be my grail watch, which by chance is still somehow affordable. Chapeau LUC/Scheufele!

  • benjameshodges

    This is beautiful. Thanks for write up. Quick question: is this fairmined gold?

    • “The Dick”

      Does anyone really care about that with the gold??

      • Arwed

        I for example do. If I can afford such a watch I can also ‘afford’ that the workers who mined the gold have OK working conditions and are also paid fairly. That’s for me also one aspect of being able to treat myself with a piece of luxury, i.e. never forget to also give back.

        I agree with Jason that this is not a Fairmined gold case (which can always be an added plus with LUC). I think, LUC only offers Fairmined toegther with QF respectively vice-versa for men’s time pieces.

        • Arwed

          I forgot the mention: this Swiss watch industry isn’t very good at telling the stories of their watches (motivation why the watch exists as it is). Sometimes you really have to second-guess. And the Boutique staff has no clue either. On the other hand, they can spend endless time to secure another celebrity ambassador for the brand. Also look at the typical watch manual/instructions. For a time-only piece, one to max three pages (usually starts with “turn the crown in clockwise direction to initially power the mechanical watch movement …”. Yea, yea. As I said, max 3 pages, no background explanations etc. On the other hand translated to at least 30 different languages. This is wrong. For a ~10k or above luxury good I usually expect at least a booklet, if not a book accompanying the fancy box and warranty cards. Explaining things, such as the story behind, in detail. But what can you expect from average marketers who are not watchmakers at the same time?

        • “The Dick”

          I understand your position. Mine is a little different.
          If using “fairmined” gold adds one penny to the price – I don’t want it. My concern is not how the gold is mined or by whom. I am only concerned with the price. I don’t feel it is my responsibility to supplement any workers income or working conditions, by paying more than the average price.
          If the price of fairmined gold is equal to all others….sure, why not.

          • Arwed

            It’s your right to decide for yourself for sure. That’s what I call having choices. Nevertheless, let me get on a slight tangent here: I assume then that you would also not pay a single cent more for a chocolate bar or coffee beans with Fair Trade label. Correct? Would I then also be correct that you wouldn’t buy an organic product over a conventional one. If it’s a single cent more. Correct? But I can think of two examples where people buy organic not because it’s better for the environment and the well-being of the animal until it’s slaughtered in the case of livestock: organic bananas and organic/free-range eggs. People who otherwise don’t care about organic food nevertheless buy organic bananas and eggs just because they taste better. Back to watches: the examples above are obviously a far cry from gold for watch cases. You can’t eat gold. So Fairmined gold can’t really taste better. But again, the money for a mechanical wrist watch during times of Quartz, GPS, and smart phones is a totally necessary expenditure. But here, a cent more or more, doesn’t seem to matter.

          • Arwed

            … unnecessary expenditure …

          • “The Dick”

            You are correct. I could not care any less, about any product labeled “Fair Trade”, and avoid them. To me, that is just an excuse to raise the price. Again, it is not my problem whom farms the product or their working conditions. Organic anything is avoided as a higher price and a gimmick. I don’t see the value proposition there.
            If I had the opportunity to get a deal on “Blood Diamonds”, I would be a buyer.

          • You do seem to honor your handle, “The Dick”; that attitude, that it’s not your problem other people’s problems, is exactly the problem with the world.

            Hopefully, one day we’ll all stop thinking in such a closed, naive and egoistical way.

          • “The Dick”

            Funny, I don’t remember asking for any character references here. But, if that is your opinion, it has little importance to me. Please remember that I did not berate or resort to calling anyone names over their opinions on the “Fair Mined” or “Fair Trade” products. I only expressed my thoughts.
            Arwed expressed his opinions, and I accepted them without any criticism towards him.

            As far as my name, it was changed to that after Mr. Bredan called me a “Dick” in an e mail.

          • Timestandsstill
    • Jason Swire

      Neither the product description on Chopard’s website nor our press release material for this watch mention anything about fairmined gold (and for their previous fairmined products this info has been made very apparent), so I’m guessing not.

  • mark

    This watch is incredible, 9 days power reserve. Beautiful looks incredible precision engineering.
    Totally out of my price range but the sort of watch I dream about.

  • Cuppa Joe

    This might be my favorite L.U.C. yet. I love everything about it except the size. 38 or 39 would be much preferred. And with a slightly smaller face, the sub-second hand would be more centered between the center and edge of the dial. Less gold around the movement would save them some pennies too.

    But man… I love those hands. Perfect.

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