A compendium of innovative horological solutions, Chopard’s award-winning minute repeater returns in 2021 in a gleaming platinum case with a grey-blue dial. First presented in Fairmined rose gold in 2016, the L.U.C Full Strike has also appeared in white gold, in carburised steel, as well as the recently launched Día de Los Muertos model with a skull on the dial. Endowed with the revolutionary sapphire crystal gongs that give this minute repeater its unique crystalline sound, the latest platinum edition of just 20 watches perpetuates the legend with an even bolder and colder aura.
The L.U.C Full Strike, A crystal-clear sound
The apogee of the 20th-anniversary celebrations of Chopard’s Manufacture in 2016 was the unveiling of the L.U.C Full Strike. Marking Chopard’s first foray into the elite domain of minute repeaters, it needed to make a striking impression – acoustically and visually. To meet the challenge, Chopard revisited the minute repeater from head to toe. After 15,000 hours of R&D and many patents later, Chopard was ready to unveil its L.U.C calibre 08.01-L. The result was an innovative crown-operated striking watch with a crystal-clear sound. Visually, the watch also made an impact with its bold, openworked dial exposing the movement and hammers. Chopard’s wager was a resounding success and won the top “Aiguille d’Or” prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève awards of 2017.
Unlike any minute repeater on the market, the gongs of the L.U.C Full Strike are made of sapphire crystal. Conventional gongs are generally made of hardened steel and fine-tuned to achieve the right note. In the L.U.C Full Strike, the gongs and protective top glass are machined from a single block of sapphire crystal without any welding, screws or glue. Tuned to notes C# and F, the transparent sapphire crystal gongs produce a clearer, purer and more crystalline tone than metal, similar to someone tapping a wine glass with a knife.
Bypassing the limitations of Platinum
The latest L.U.C Full Strike is housed in a platinum case with the same dimensions as the original (42.5mm diameter x 11.5mm height) with a vertical satin brush on the caseband and a polished bezel and caseback. Given its density and softness, platinum is not the best material to produce sound or musicality and is rarely used for minute repeaters. However, since the sapphire crystal and the gongs form a single entity, they create a perfect loudspeaker. And because the crystalline sound produced by the sapphire crystal gongs is emitted through the top of the watch, it bypasses the limitations of platinum so that it does not affect the quality of the sound or its power.
One of the safety features of the L.U.C Full Strike resides in the crown, which is used to wind the movement in one direction and the repeater in another. Reactivating a striking mechanism (strikework) while a sequence is in progress can lead to irreversible damage. To counter the risk, the calibre is equipped with a patented disengagement system for the strikework pusher in the crown.
Another feature to ensure the highest quality and emission of sound is the incorporation of a second barrel dedicated to the strikework. If the barrel does not have sufficient energy, the strikework cannot be activated. The independent barrel can store energy for 12 complete soundings of the longest time sequence that occurs at 12:59 (with 12 chimes for the hours, 3 chimes for the 3 quarters and 14 chimes for the minutes). The energy accumulated or depleted in the strikework barrel is indicated by the longer hand on the power reserve gauge at 2 o’clock on the dial.
Minute repeaters perform thanks to the presence of a strike governor, the component responsible for synchronising the striking mechanism, which you can see on the dial at 8 o’clock. To enhance the auditory pleasure, Chopard has managed to silence the characteristic humming sound of the strike governor and has eliminated the awkward and often unpredictably long silence that occurs between the last chime of the hours and the first of the quarters. Unlike traditional minute repeaters, the hours, quarters and minutes gear trains of the L.U.C Full Strike are superimposed and when one has finished, it triggers the next, maintaining a constant cadence and automatically skipping the silences.
Like the rose and white gold models, the openworked dial reveals a good part of the mechanics as well as the mirror-polished hammers at 10 o’clock. The chapter ring, which spans the dial from 12 to 7 o’clock, is made of solid gold and has a grey-blue colour obtained with a galvanic treatment. The background of the chapter ring is snailed and features signature L.U.C applied rhodium-plated Roman numerals. The power reserve indicator with two arched tracks and two hands (short hand for movement, longer hand for strikework) and the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock have white printed transfers. In contrast, the peripheral railway minutes track has black printed transfers.
Visible on both the dial and reverse side of the watch, the manual-winding movement of the L.U.C Full Strike is meticulously finished and bears the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva quality seal. The mainplate and bridges, hand bevelled, polished and decorated with Geneva stripes, are made from non-treated nickel silver (aka German silver) and gleam with a greyish-golden sheen.
The movement is chronometer-certified by COSC and oscillates at 28,800vph – a rare feature in a minute repeater – and can deliver a power reserve of 60 hours. To protect the movement from any handling mistakes or damage, Chopard has equipped the watch with seven safety devices. There is also a stop-seconds function for accurate time settings.
The watch comes with a CITES-certified hand-stitched blue alligator strap with a cognac-coloured lining dyed with plant pigments and a platinum folding clasp.
Availability & Price
The Chopard L.U.C Full Strike in platinum is a limited edition of 20 pieces. The retail price is not confirmed yet but should be in excess of CHF 250,000. For more information, please visit Chopard’s website.