Announced at Baselworld 2016 are new Chopard L.U.C dress watches including these lovely Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 timepieces as both a standard and a limited edition model. What you see are both the steel (168583-3001) and 18k rose gold (161946-5001) versions of the L.U.C XPS 1860, and they actually differ quite a bit even though that might be difficult to notice at a glance. I believe that this is the first time Chopard has offered an L.U.C watch of this dress character in steel. This is a good thing for collectors who want this color and don’t always want to spend 18k-white-gold money. Chopard has been conservative in their approach by not including as many “goodies” in the movement of the steel version – which is perhaps understandable as they don’t want to undermine the value and desirability of their watches that come in precious metal cases.
Apparently, Chopard is using this opportunity to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Chopard Manufacture” which is the arm of their company that produces movements in-house opened in 1996. The first such watch from 20 years ago was also called the L.U.C 1860, and this new-for-2016 model contains a version of the original movement – which is the first to come from Chopard Manufacture, being the caliber 96.01-L. Allow me to explain…
These new Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 watches contain slightly different movements based on the case material. The 18k rose gold model contains the the caliber 96.01-L. The steel version contains caliber 96.03-L automatic movement, which is a similar albeit toned-down version given the much lower price point. Chopard wanted to add an entry-level model to the L.U.C collection (even though it is a limited edition), but also didn’t want to take away stream from the most high-end models which will contain not only precious metal, but other mechanical features and finishing details.
How the 96.01-L and 96.03-L movements differ is slight, but important. Both of the movement offer the time, date, and small seconds, and are automatics using a micro-rotor. The movements are 3.3mm thick and operate at 4Hz (28,800bph) with a power reserve of 65 hours. This long power reserve is thanks to twin-stacked barrels. Also, both movements are COSC Chronometer certified.
How are they different? Well only the 96.01-L has the Geneva Seal, which implies a range of small decorative/finishing details and going through the Geneva Seal certification process. The 96.03-L does not have a swan-neck fine regulation system for the balance wheel – which would be found on the balance cock, as can be seen on the 96.01-L. A swan-neck fine regulation system means that the movement can be adjusted more finely and with ease by a watchmaker. Those are pretty much the only differences, and for daily wear, it shouldn’t really matter much. Enthusiasts with the deepest pockets will want the slight edge the 96.01-L movement has, but for value, the 96.03-L is a great choice.
Aside from the movement differences, the steel and 18k rose gold versions of the Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 also differ in the dial. The dial base is gold and given an attractive guilloche-engraved look on the 18k rose gold version, while the steel model has a more simple dial in silver tone with a satin-finished opaline look.
Given that I love both automatic watches and Chopard’s style of dress watches, these (and other) L.U.C XPS watches appeal to me. Chopard calls these re-issues of the 1996 L.U.C 1860 watches, but they aren’t really, given how different the dials look. Over the years, Chopard has honed its sense of design and really gotten to a point of high refinement as well as brand distinctiveness. So let’s just consider the 2016 Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 models to be “thematic reissues” of the 1990s classic.
The Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 watch cases are 40mm wide and 7.2mm thick. They are water resistant to 30 meters and are, of course, capped with an AR-coated sapphire crystal. You can see the movement through the exhibition caseback, and attached to the cases are nicely made alligator straps. Both watches have gold automatic micro-rotors.
I’m not the type of person who wears dress watches a lot, but I never fail to mention that I find Chopard L.U.C dress watches to be among the nicer ones out there when it comes to price and design – especially the L.U.C XP and XPS models (“S” implies there is a seconds hand). These 2016 Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 models in 18k rose gold or steel add to the larger family nicely and continue to remind collectors about the work Chopard has done with their in-house movements over the last 20 years. The addition of the steel model is a nice touch – offering a more accessible price point while not taking away too much from the appeal of the precious metal models.
The Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 in 18k rose gold is the reference 161946-5001 and will be offered as a limited edition of 250 pieces. The steel version is not a limited edition (which is a good thing) and is the reference 168583-3001. Prices are $22,790 and $9,470, respectively. chopard.com