“Quattro” in an Audi car means all wheel drive, while in a Chopard watch, Quattro means “four mainspring barrels.” I just needed to get that clarification out of the way. You’ll see the “Quattro technology” term thrown around quite a bit when reading about many of Chopard’s L.U.C collection watches. It means that the watch has a total of nine days of power reserve, or rather, 216 hours. That’s a healthy number, and today, I am going to review not only a watch with Quattro “technology” inside, but what is also simply titled, the Chopard L.U.C Quattro watch.
Chopard L.U.C collection watches are named for the brand’s founder and represent their highest effort timepieces produced at a special facility in Switzerland. This is often the case with brands who produce luxury watches at various price points, as more high-volume watches are produced at one facility, while more complex and higher-end models are produced at another. aBlogtoWatch visited Chopard’s L.U.C manufacture location, and I have to admit, it is rather impressive. I will further admit that I overlooked a lot of the L.U.C watches in the past, but in recent years have come to greatly admire (and desire) the products that Chopard is producing in the L.U.C family.
It would not be correct to say that the Chopard L.U.C Quattro is a “basic” watch, as there are more simple models in the L.U.C family. It would, however, be more accurate to say that the Chopard L.U.C Quattro is the most basic watch to have the Quattro technology. Built on this base movement, other Chopard L.U.C watches also feature complications such as a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, and a complex “orbital” moonphase indicator. Remove those complications, and you have the relatively basic, but certainly not simple Chopard L.U.C Quattro with the in-house made caliber 98.01 movement.
Chopard is dangerously close, if not already meeting the finishing standards of many of the brands that seasoned collectors feel help define good finishing in a quality movement. Explaining that is a great place to start when talking about the caliber 98.01-L which dutifully takes up much of the caseback window on the watch. Manually wound, the movement is produced from 223 parts.
Fitted with a lot of classic technology and decorative finishing, what I like most about this and most other Chopard L.U.C movements is that they also feel quite modern. That has to do with the wide size (it isn’t very thick, at 3.7mm) of 28.6mm and the contemporary frequency of 4Hz. As you may know, I have little patience for watch movements that operate at 3Hz or less… when they have no good reason to operate so slowly. The more frequency a watch movement has the more accurate it will be over time.
In terms of performance, there are two certifications that the 98.01-L movement has which are important to be aware of. First is the Seal of Geneva. Today, this certification is about a watch satisfying a list of qualifications, performance metrics, and assembly within the canton of Geneva. This latter requirement makes Seal of Geneva watches a bit rare – and as such, most of the timepieces which have the Seal (which does mean something) tend to be of a high quality. The movement also has the more basic COSC Chronometer certification. This is about accuracy for the movement itself. Together, these two certifications should garner a lot of respect for the watch as well as what Chopard is doing.
Looking at the movement, you can easily tell the location of the two stacked mainspring barrels – which, in total, equal four mainspring barrels. On the dial side, the movement offers the time with subsidiary seconds dial, a date indicator hand (built into that latter dial), and of course, the power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. The symmetry and elegance of the dial is impressive to me.
What is also impressive is how most Chopard L.U.C watches today are great at communicating modern strength as well as traditional values. I am referring to the fact that the timepiece has design elements which make it look classic, but a lot of lines and angles which offer it a sense of modern masculinity and pride. The design isn’t for everyone, and frankly, it took Chopard a while to get here. Some of Chopard’s earlier L.U.C watches didn’t look that great, in my opinion, but over the last few years, the brand’s highest-end area of horology really found a nice aesthetic groove.
The Chopard L.U.C Quattro dial has applied gold Roman numeral hour markers which each gently curve and distinctive hands that are unique to Chopard. The hands are the right length and, thankfully, are given a strip of SuperLumiNova in the center for darkness viewing. While lume isn’t always the most attractive element on a dress watch, I do have to say that the utility of lume should be enough for most brands to take it seriously. We are talking about the technology that more or less killed the minute repeater – so let’s thank Chopard for giving lume a bit more credit as something useful.
The hands for the time on the dial of the Chopard L.U.C Quattro are in gold and match the case material color. The hands for the power reserve indicator and the date are in blue – which is a nice way to add color and help people from getting confused with the hands. There is a slight level of depth to the dial which includes the various levels as well as the applied indicators. Flat dials are the enemy to anything high-end looking and more watch makers know that. I feel that Chopard’s approach to the dial of the L.U.C Quattro was very successful even though the design is trying to be slightly avant-garde (which, at the end of the day, tends to be a good thing from an artistic perspective).
At 43mm wide, the Chopard L.U.C Quattro is at the larger end of what a dress watch should be for most people (but not too thick at all, at 8.87mm). For comfort, Chopard uses nicely sloping lugs. If you like your formal watches on the wide side, then you’ll love the size. If you are used to a more petite dress timepiece, then the Chopard L.U.C Quattro perhaps isn’t for you – but Chopard certainly does have other smaller choices (they just won’t have over a week of power reserve).
Chopard offers the Chopard L.U.C Quattro in both this 18k rose gold version as well as an 18k white gold version. I like that the two models are priced the same. It is true that, technically, white gold costs more because of the included platinum in the alloy. With that said, the markups for gold in luxury watches are pretty silly, so no one is really losing out by simply charging the same for both materials. A few companies do this in the same way Chopard does; one that comes to mind is MB&F.
Attached to this very masculine and technically impressive formal watch is a thick brown alligator strap with also an alligator lining. Even the strap conveys a sense of traditionalism but also strength. That is a rare combination to get right, and in my opinion, a lot of today’s Chopard L.U.C watches do so rather well.
While the Chopard L.U.C Quattro isn’t a cheap watch, it doesn’t feel like too much money for the value you are getting. In fact, most Chopard L.U.C watches feel like good value for the money compared to what a lot of other high-end Swiss watchmakers charge. People looking to spend money in this price segment should really take a closer looks at some pretty good stuff they may have been missing out on from Chopard, and with its simple, strong, and sensible good looks and features, the Chopard L.U.C Quattro is among the watches more easily worn on a daily basis. Price for this reference. 161926-5001 Chopard L.U.C Quattro watch in 18k rose gold is $26,510. chopard.com
>Model: L.U.C Quattro
>Size: 43mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Watch collector searching for a modern-size timepiece with great features that isn’t from one of the common go-to brands for these types of watches.
>Best characteristic of watch: Pleasing to wear and read, the quality is quite good and the movement is easy to admire in terms of performance and certification. Value also happens to feel real.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Some sharp edges on the underside of the case. 43mm-wide size might be too large for some who’d wear this with sleeves.