To celebrate the Chopard manufacture’s 20th anniversary in 2016, the brand made its first foray into the complex domain of minute repeaters. Determined not to produce just ‘another’ minute repeater, Chopard invested 15,000 hours in the lab surprised us all with its revolutionary use of sapphire crystal gongs that produce a unique crystalline sound. With its bold openworked dial exposing parts of the movement and the hammers, and its user-friendly crown-operated functionality, the L.U.C Full Strike took home the top Aiguille d’Or prize at the GPGH 2017. Today, and in light of the L.U.C collection’s 25th anniversary, Chopard ups the ante with this 18k ethical rose gold Full Strike model with a tourbillon secured by a transparent sapphire bridge on the dial. A new complication requires a new movement and the L.U.C Full Strike Tourbillon flaunts a new chronometer-certified calibre. For the first time in the trajectory of the L.U.C Full Strike, the dial is almost closed, relegating the two openings for the striking mechanism and tourbillon.
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.
The tourbillon and striking mechanism are showcased in the two cut-out areas on the grey dial. Made from a solid gold base plate, the dial is decorated with a radiating hand-guilloché floral pattern before receiving a galvanic treatment to produce the ruthenium grey-coloured surface. The cut-out area between 9 and 11 o’clock reveals the mirror-polished hammers that strike the gongs. With its signature spiral-shaped steel carriage, the tourbillon is placed in an aperture at 6 o’clock and protected by a transparent sapphire crystal bridge that emulates the shape of a historic tourbillon bridge designed by founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard. The applied Roman numerals and hands (central hour and minute, subsidiary seconds on tourbillon and power reserve indicator) are gilded in rose gold to match the case material. Contrasting to the floral decoration in the centre, the chapter ring features a series of concentric engravings, while the perimeter hosts a railway-style minutes track engraved directly on the sapphire crystal ring.
Calibre L.U.C 08.02-L
The incorporation of a tourbillon meant a complete overhaul of the Full Strike to ensure the tourbillon did not modify the acoustic quality of the chimes. Given the independent barrel dedicated to the minute repeater that is wound directly by the crown, there was no energy-related interference with the tourbillon complication. The separate barrel for the strikeworks allows the watch to chime the most complex and energy-consuming time – 12 hours and 59 minutes – up to 12 times. However, if the barrel is depleted and cannot power the minute repeater, a safety mechanism blocks its release.
Sharing the same 42.5mm diameter as the Full Strike, the Full Strike Tourbillon has a slightly thicker case of 12.58mm and is made of ethical 18k rose gold with polished and satin-brushed finishings. The high level of finishing of the case and movement has earned it the Poinçon de Genève hallmark, and the new L.U.C 08.02-L movement is chronometer-certified by COSC. The L.U.C 08.02-L calibre, which is comprised of 568 components (compared to 533 on Full Strike models), required a complete rethinking of the interactions and layouts of the functions. Beating at 28,800vph, the power reserve is 50 hours, and the movement displays Haute Horlogerie finishings.
Availability & Price
The Chopard L.U.C Full Strike Tourbillon is presented on a grey hand-sewn alligator leather strap with an 18k ethical rose gold folding clasp. The watch is limited to 20 numbered pieces. Price to be confirmed.
For more information, please visit Chopard.com.