Some watches just ooze class; among them, timepieces with officer-style casebacks seem to start with an unfair advantage. The Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer Vendome One watch might be a tad too colorful for some. Yet, it is very difficult to argue that an extra-thin, double caseback-equipped, hand guilloche-decorated timepiece in yellow gold does not have at least one foot set firmly in class.

The concept is not new. Chopard’s L.U.C line is reserved for the especially elegant and thin watches, often with yet more elaborately crafted cases, dials, and movements than in other collections such as Racing (with Mille Miglia watches) or Alpine Eagle. Within the Chopard L.U.C line, XPS stands for Extra-Plat Secondes, i.e. extra-thin, with a seconds display. The icing on the cake, here, is, of course, the “officer” style case with its hinged double caseback — just as it was on the first-ever Chopard L.U.C watch, reference 16/1860/1, that debuted in 1997.

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Chopard has developed its own honeycomb-inspired pattern — a favored animal of the Scheufele family that runs the company now. Not only are they beekeepers themselves, but so was the father of Louis-Ulysse Chopard who founded the company in 1860. In fact, from 1860 through to the 1920s, watches signed by Louis-Ulysse Chopard were all engraved on the movements and on the inside of the back covers with a beehive surrounded by bees. Meaningless trivia for some, and an on-brand pattern for the most dedicated fans.

Press the button neatly integrated into the crown of the Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer Vendome One watch and a latch releases the solid gold outer caseback. The inside reveals the Parisian connection of the watch with a hand-engraved motif of the Sun strongly associated with Louis XIV, the instigator of the project to build Place Vendôme. During his reign (1643-1715), the Sun represented the sovereign’s influence on the world and can still be seen on the square’s wrought ironwork — a most humble symbol one could choose for themselves, really. And so, whenever you are wearing this 40,000-dollar solid gold watch, it will remind you just how admirably restrained you are in relation to some others.

Once you manage to draw your eyes away from the magnificent image of “Louis XIV, By the Grace of God, Most Christian King of France and Navarre; Count of Provence, Forcalquier and the lands adjacent; Dauphin of Viennois, Count of Valentinois and of Diois,” (I knew it was worth looking up his full title), i.e. the Sun King, you are greeted by the image of the equally elaborate Chopard L.U.C Calibre 96.01-L. Dating back to 1996, as its name implies, the 96.01 stands as the company’s first manufacture movement. Just 3.30mm thick and combining an extended 65-hour power reserve with a modern 4Hz operating frequency, it is an absolute tour de force not just for the ’90s, but even for today. And if all that was not enough, it is also COSC and Geneva Seal (Poinçon de Genève) certified.

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From the front, it is covered by a solid 18k gold dial — yes, all of it — decorated with a bespoke, hand-guilloche (not stamped) honeycomb pattern, and gilded hands and hour markers. Its color is Bering blue “[echoing] that of the doorway at 1 Place Vendôme: A deep, rich hue reminiscent of the famous square’s distinctive architecture.”

The Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer Vendome One watch measures 40mm wide and 7.70mm thick, which is impressive for a double caseback-equipped watch and therefore worthy of the “XP,” i.e. extra-thin designation in the name. Fitted with a brighter brown calfskin scrap with white ecru bridle stitching, blue leather lining, and 18k yellow gold pin buckle, it is a bit more on the casual side — if there ever was such a thing for a solid gold, extra-thin dress watch.

The Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer Vendome One watch is priced at $40,100. That is Day-Date money, but here you trade that gold bracelet for a solid gold dial and caseback, both hand-guilloche engraved, and a Geneva Seal-certified movement (and case, since the requirements have been largely expanded and made yet more stringent several years ago). Oh, and stupendous exclusivity, as the Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer Vendome One watch (reference 161242-0002) is produced in just 8 examples, and all 8 are available only at the Chopard boutique on Place Vendôme, Paris. You can learn more at the brand’s website.

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