Chopard L.U.C Chrono One – Flyback Chronograph with Integrated Column Wheel
I have a confession to make. I am a frustrated watchmaker. I unfortunately lack the fine motor skills to deftly manipulate the tools necessary in assembling a timepiece. Moreover, I have the wrong psychological mindset to patiently toil at a watchmaker’s bench. In the past, apparently simple DIY tasks, requiring the use of tools, have flummoxed me. A red mist stealthily descends on my psyche and a diva moment ensues as I hurl said tools across the room in a blind rage.
This may seem surprising to those who have met my acquaintance, as ordinarily I exhibit patience and calm. However, there is something which drives me to temporary insanity as I chew screw threads with the wayward use of a screwdriver. A psychologist would find even more to fill his notepad as my obsessive compulsive order rears its head. A sense of dissonance overwhelms me as I look at the aforementioned damaged screw threads and hashed outcome. It is with this cocktail of personality traits that I wholeheartedly admire the artisans that adroitly create these magnificent pieces of horological art.
I have often waxed-lyrical about the immense craftsmanship and skills practised by Chopard, especially with their haute horology offerings bearing three special letters, L.U.C. Now they have created a watch which not only indulges my need to see a finely finished movement without even the merest hint of human error but blessed a timepiece which presents its perfection in the most novel way.
As you place the L.U.C Chrono One upon your wrist, its handsome looks will arrest the attention of virtually all males who possess a functioning pulse. It is quite simply gorgeous. However, removing the watch from your arm and admiring the reverse is equally mouthwatering.
￼The “arena” caseback includes an inner flange which tapers towards the movement within, revealing the vertical flank of the mainplate. Study the flange and you will note the words; “Chopard Manufacture”, “Chrono One” and observe the L.U.C logo. Indeed, it is whilst admiring the caseback that I felt a sense of calm and wellbeing. All aspects of the movement presented were beautifully executed. My need for order was fulfilled and all aspects allowed quiet enjoyment without any psychological discord evidenced. This is a watch which demands further discussion and due reverence.
Dauphine fusée-type hour and minute hands convey time eloquently. They are intrinsically graceful with their elegant noble form. The central chronograph seconds hand is gold, lithe and features a red tip. It embraces the markings on the chapter ring, facilitating ease of read off. Applied rose gold Roman numerals convey the hours.
Two slate-black counters are located at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. The former is a 30-minute chrono counter, whilst the latter is a 12-hour chrono counter. They feature gold circlets around their perimeters and golden hands.
Between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock a date aperture resides and a small seconds display is located at 6 o’clock. Despite the numerous pieces of information conveyed, it is remarkably easy to interpret. Nothing appears cluttered and no aspects distract or appear superfluous.
The 18-carat pink gold case has a diameter of 44.00 mm and height of 14.06 mm. The short lugs allow the strap to envelope the wrist and the ensemble is incredibly comfortable to wear.
Upper surfaces of the watch including bezel, lugs and pushers are highly polished. The caseback repeats the shiny presentation. However, the caseband and inner flange of the caseback are satin brushed. The considered interplay of finishes is fantastic. All aspects work in pleasing harmony without errant discourse with the wearer.
The chrono pushers are rectangular in form with rounded edges and follow the contour of the caseband.
The L.U.C 03.03-L (L.U.C 11CF) has been designed, developed and produced by Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier. When fully wound, its two main springs deliver 60 hours of autonomy before the watch has to be wound again.
I have visited the atelier in the district of the Val-de-Travers in the canton of Neuchâtel and it ranks as one of the finest exemplars of haute horology I have had the privilege to see. Craftsmanship is splendidly expressed with matchless movements few can better. During my visit close examination of the integrated chronograph movement revealed the castellated form of a column wheel, typical of only the finest chronographs. Moreover, this was no regular chronograph but a flyback.
I smiled as I repeatedly pressed the pushers. Their action was light and positive. There was no sense of having to force the chronograph functions into submission. Their sublime tactility is partially due to a lever pivoting three supple hammers, ensuring optimal return of the chrono hands and enabling the reset action.
The 22-carat gold rotor is open-worked affording greater visibility of the movement beneath. The finishing of the movement is distilled to perfection. The movement features Côtes de Genève motif on the bridges, polished jewel sinks, circular-graining on wheels, mirror polished screw heads and perlage on the mainplate. The watch is a chronometer with certification from COSC.
When writing about watches, I often reveal small insights into my personality. My disposition can be ascertained by men who wear white coats and record their observations with propelling pencils. My adoration for watchmakers and the work they lovingly create can probably be explained by my psychological makeup.
The Chopard L.U.C Chrono One provides pacific pleasure which relaxes my soul and indulges my foibles with its comely arena caseback. As I lose myself, admiring each hand drawn bridge, I feel a sense of calm. To my scrutinising eyes this timepiece is little short of perfection and I love it.
Photos of the white gold version are stills from a video made by The Watch Enthusiast. For more information and technical specifications, please visit the Chopard website (click here).
This article is written by Angus Davies, guest contributor for Monochrome Watches and editor of the UK website, Escapement.uk.com