Chopard might not be the first brand to come to your mind when thinking about Haute Horlogerie and dress watches. You might first think of Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin or Breguet. However, when having a closer look at the wide range of watches produced by Chopard, there is a collection worthy of (horological) interest, a collection with in-house movements, with superb finishes and with timepieces adorned with the Geneva Seal… and with another certification called ‘Qualité Fleurier’, said to be even more rigorous. We look at one of these watches, the Chopard L.U.C Qualité Fleurier Chronometer with Ruthenium dial.
The Chopard L.U.C Qualité Fleurier Chronometer is the essence of a dress watch. We already gave you our opinion about what we believe such watches should be when reviewing the Girard-Perregaux 1966. It has to be a rather small timepiece, with a simple dial, a potentially conservative design and a thin case. Precious materials are of course always welcome here. Now, when looking at the Chopard, we have all of these elements. It is reasonably sized, it is thin, it is pure and very elegant. However, it adds something more, a superb movement controlled with extremely rigorous standards.
The case, measuring 39mm x 8.92mm, is made of 18K pink gold. Its design is very classical, with a round center part. However, the complicated lugs (that seem to be added to the central case) are giving some extra-originality to a conservative scenario. The size is perfect for such a watch, masculine enough but not too big or too thick. It will for sure fit under your cuffs and will give a luxurious touch to your outfit, without being ostentatious. It comes with a flat black alligator strap, with the inner lining made of brown alligator skin (instead of the usual beige calf skin). Small details that, when combined, create an excellent package.
The dial is made of Ruthenium, with a sunburst pattern. Once again, another small detail catches the eye: the sunburst pattern starts from the O in the Chopard logo instead of starting from the hands axis. The Chopard L.U.C Qualité Fleurier is a 3-hand watch, with a small second sub-dial at 6 (finely circled with a gold surrounding). The applied indexes and hands are made in the same metal as the case and present a discreet but original shape. The colour of the dial is also interesting, changing from a warm grey to a vivid brown, depending on the light conditions. On the wrist, the watch is comfortable, refined and original, without being too catchy: a proper distinguished dress watch.
Now moving to the mechanics. The Chopard L.U.C Qualité Fleurier comes with an in-house movement with interesting features. First, it has two barrels for 65 hours of power reserve. Then it is a self winding calibre, with an off-centered micro-rotor. Quite impressive considering the 3.30mm thickness and the 27mm diameter. The architecture is close to a Calibre 240 from Patek. However, with comparable dimensions, Patek only achieve 48 hours of power reserve (with a single mainspring) and a slower beat-rate (21,600vph vs 28,800vph for the Chopard). So, the calibre L.U.C 96.09-L is technically impressive. What about the finishes?
The movement is made regarding the Qualité Fleurier standards. This certification is different from the Geneva Seal or the COSC as it controls the whole watch (not only the movement) on several aspects: accuracy, quality of the finishes, quality of the assembly, durability and reliability. First, the watch has to pass the COSC certification. Then, it has to undergo the Fleuritest that simulates wearing conditions for 24 hours. Finally, it assures the owner of a watch made 100% in Switzerland (all the components of the movement, the case or the dial should be manufactured in Switzerland) and made according to high standards of quality. We’ll get back closely on this subject in a following article, dedicated to Qualité Fleurier.
So, the movement is precise (chronometer rating by COSC said -4/+6 seconds a day and Fleuritest said -0/+5 seconds a day) and shows some beautiful finishes: circular graining on the main plate (even on non-visible parts), Geneva stripes on the bridges, polished screw slots and heads, polished bevelled angles. All the parts, even if hidden, are finished to the very highest standards.
In the end, the Chopard L.U.C Qualité Fleurier delivers quite a buck for the price. The design and feeling on the wrist are undoubtedly pleasant and refined. It has everything a dress watch should have and even more considering the quality of the movement and the delicate finishings. A serious contender for the big names such as Vacheron-Constantin or Piaget. Price is actually not unreasonable, considering what you get for your outlay: 14,880 euros.
More details on Chopard.