May 1, 2014
As the watch is hand-wound, the movement is clearly visible via a transparent sapphire scratch-resistant caseback without visual obstruction from a rotor. Clearly visible are numerous rubies. Often described as the “no. of jewels,” the function of rubies in a watch movement are to reduce friction, hold lubricant longer, reduce the amount of lubricant needed, increase temperature stability and reduce corrosion. Rubies are part of the Corundum group of minerals, just like the sapphire crystal above the dial and caseback, with crucial watchmaking properties, such as a ultra hard slick surface with low coefficient of friction with metal. Whether a “jewel” is functional or non-functional in terms of the movement is clearly identified in the ISO 1112:2009.
The watch back is engraved with a flurry of information including the gold purity–Au750, or 75% pure gold, beneath the word “Fairmined.” In addition, the number of the watch within the limited edition is clearly marked. In this case, it is the 11th timepiece of 25.
As with the Fairmined Gold, this watch has surpassed its own set of standards and endured rigorous testing and scrutiny. The L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined timepiece has been awarded the seal of approval from the Fleurier Quality Foundation, which is the first qualitative horological certification for finished watches completely manufactured in Switzerland. Thus far, only Chopard, Bovet, Parmigiani and Vaucher have participated in this Certification.
It has also achieved the mark of Chronometer and is Chronofiable Certified and tested with a 24 hour precision test on a Fleuritest simulator designed by Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.
The Fleurier Quality Mark is the latest in superior watchmaking standards. Although only Chopard, Bovet, Parmigiani and Vaucher have participated in the QF thus far, this certification is open to all Swiss producers of mechanical fine watchmaking. By purchasing a timepiece that has achieved the Fleurier Quality Certification, one can be assured that this timepiece is wholly manufactured in Switzerland, COSC Certified, passed the Chronofiable test, achieved an exclusive level of aesthetic quality of finish, and finally, received the approval of the completed watch by the exclusive Fleuritest machine.
In order to effectively control the stringent Fleurier Quality requirements, all testing occurs in Fleurier or at a location authorized by the foundation. The testing does not have to be in Fleurier, as it clearly outlines as part of the Foundation’s Principles that “geographical constraints are not part of the criteria for obtaining this certification” (aside from being 100% Swiss Made); however, the movement kit and computer data must remain in Fleurier.
The unique aspect of the Qualite Fleurier is that it incorporates multiple forms of testing. In addition, all the timepieces must be chronometers, which is a certification provided by the COSC or the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, an institution much older and unrelated to the Qualite Fleurier Foundation. Once a watch has adhered and surpassed the Qualite Fleurier Standards, each individual watch is provided with a certificate stating the number of its case and movement. The QF logo is placed on the movement and watch case.
As depicted in the image above, the ergonomic structure of the watch case, lugs and attached strap ensures premium “on-the-wrist” comfort. The hand-made alligator leather strap is CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) certified–a whole other discussion altogether.
The Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon is quite a boost for the Fairmined economy, as all good intentions have finally come to fruition in an exemplar form of Chopard’s craftsmanship. The timepiece is priced at $144,570. chopard.com