A smaller case, a more contemporary design and a chronometer-certified manufacture movement inside; there’s a lot to like about the new monochromatic Chopard L.U.C Chrono One Flyback. Not to mention the fact that this model is offered in steel – albeit in a limited edition of only 250 pieces. Given that previous iterations have only been available in precious metals – and larger cases – I wouldn’t be surprised if this new flyback chronograph proves to be quite popular. We had the opportunity to get some wrist time with it recently. Here’s what we thought.
The Chopard L.U.C Chrono One Flyback
You may or may not recall the previous iterations of the L.U.C Chrono One Flyback. Here’s some basic background to provide a basis for comparison. As I mentioned before, those models were exclusively available in precious metals, such as rose or pink gold and offered more traditional styling. Think Roman numeral dials, two-tone colour schemes and 44mm cases. Very nice watches but a bit strong for my tastes, if I am honest. This latest version takes many of those same design cues and tones them right down.
For a start, the steel case is smaller and thinner on the wrist at 42mm x 13.42mm (versus 44mm x 14.06mm on the previous models). On paper, these dimensions don’t seem that different, but it does make a noticeable change on the wrist. It’s still not small by any means but certainly better proportioned for the type of semi-dressy attire you will likely pair this watch with. Short lugs and a leather strap mean the case hugs the wrist comfortably and sits nice and flat.
Clean, sleek, made of steel and with a more contemporary design, the L.U.C Chrono One is a nice move from Chopard
As with the earlier precious metal versions, all upper surfaces of the case including the bezel, lugs and pushers are highly polished, while the case middle features contrasting vertical satin brushing. The caseback is a mix of the two finishes, with the highly polished inner flange hand-engraved with the words “Chrono One Flyback” / “Limited Edition 250”. Although you will note each model is not individually numbered. The case is rated water-resistant to 100m, not that I imagine you would ever wear this watch swimming. On a boat certainly, but in the water less so.
A Clean Face
Back on the dial side, things are very understated and elegant. It’s quite a departure from the earlier models which border on garish (particularly the rose gold version). At the base is a slate-grey dial, with a handcrafted vertical satin-brush finish. It changes from light to dark depending on how the light catches it and offers plenty of contrast despite the monochromatic colour scheme.
On previous versions, the chronograph counters were in a contrasting colour but here Chopard has made clever use of rhodium plating for the sub-dial rings. It’s more understated but just as legible and complements the rhodium-plated hour markers and 12 o’clock numeral. The hour and minute hands are the familiar Dauphine fusée-type found across the L.U.C range and have been painted with Super-LumiNova. The rhodium plating gives everything a high-polish finish, which stands out nicely against the sombre tones of the dial. As is customary on this model, the date is shown via a window between 4 and 5 o’clock, which I’m sure will ruffle a few feathers. It does add functionality though, and the black background means it blends well with the dial.
Inside is the well-known L.U.C 03.03-L calibre, which features several patented developments by Chopard. This is the same movement used in earlier versions and it really is a thing of beauty. Comprised of 359 components, it is manufactured entirely in-house by Chopard and has been independently certified as a chronometer by the COSC. A self-winding movement, it features an openworked rotor in 22k gold and offers a 60-hour power reserve.
As the name suggests it is also equipped with a flyback function, meaning you can zero-reset the counters at a single press to measure short times in quick succession. The movement is pleasantly finished, with its bridges adorned with the Côtes de Genève motif. If I had one criticism though, it’s that there is too much text on the bridges. I understand why Chopard wants to convey all the various technical aspects, but I don’t think it’s necessary to spell them out here. It’s a minor complaint though and certainly wouldn’t impact too greatly on my enjoyment of this watch.
Worn on a matching slate grey alligator leather strap with brown alligator leather lining, it is closed with a polished stainless steel folding clasp. Overall a very good looking watch, the new Chrono One Flyback is a welcome evolution from Chopard. Price is CHF 26,100, which is arguably a touch on the high side, but this reflects the fact that Chopard’s L.U.C watchmaking division is vertically integrated. That means you’re not just getting a high-quality manufacture movement, you’re also getting a whole watch that has been manufactured, assembled and finished in-house.
And if the slate/black colour scheme is a bit too understated for your tastes, there’s also the option of a khaki green varnished dial. Intended as the sportier option of the two, it’s housed in a case made from Titalyt ®, a material widely used in the aerospace, aeronautical and medical fields. This means the lightness of titanium, but with hardness and abrasion resistance reinforced by an electro-plasma treatment. The case has a sort of green tinge to it and is worn on a double-sided brown calfskin strap. According to Chopard, it plays on military codes and colours, but that’s a bit of a stretch for me if I’m being honest. This version is limited to 100 pieces and retails for CHF 28,200.
It’s cool to see Chopard experimenting with models like this that are a little out of the ordinary but in this instance, my preference is for the more conservative steel version.