The Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono, Chopard’s answer to perpetual calendar chronographs of Haute Horlogerie powerhouses like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and A. Lange & Söhne, was first launched in 2016 as a limited edition of 20 pieces. The 45mm watch in Fairmined 18k white gold offered a unique fusion of avant-garde looks paired with a highly traditionally decorated movement. 2021 sees the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono, now in titanium, face-lifted with small tweaks that lead to a more coherent and ultimately more refined package.
There is no getting around it: measuring 45mm in diameter and just over 15mm in thickness, the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono is a large watch. It retains the same case shape and finish as the 2016 white gold edition, meaning vertically brushed case flanks, polished lug hoods, and a polished domed bezel. The first major update to the 2021 model comes in the choice of case metal – Chopard opted to go with surface-hardened Grade 5 titanium instead of precious metals. The dark colour of the base metal pairs surprisingly well with the black rhodium-coloured dial, and the whole look is sporty yet understated (to the extent a high complication in 45mm can be understated).
Titanium comes with other real-world benefits, as it is less dense than precious metals and steel, resulting in a watch that is far easier to wear. The ergonomics are further helped by the watch’s short lugs that sharply turn downward so that the watch hugs the wrist and wears smaller than its size would suggest. The watch is paired with a casual dark grey calfskin nubuck strap with a deployant clasp in matching Grade 5 titanium.
The dial of the 2021 L.U.C Perpetual Chrono starts as an 18k gold blank that is decorated with a guilloché pattern that radiates outward from the brand’s logo. The dial is then ruthenium treated, giving it a metallic, slate grey colour. Breaking with the Chopard tradition of using stylised Roman numerals for the hour indices, the 2021 model features pared-back arrowhead markers. The result is a less cluttered dial that gives the sub-dials more room to breathe. The large date of the perpetual calendar is displayed in twin apertures at 12 o’clock. The day display at 9 o’clock and the month display at 3 o’clock are displayed coaxially with the chronograph hours and minutes registers, respectively. The day-night and leap year indicators are nestled within these sub-dials, and the chronograph counter tracks arc around these “sub-sub-dials”.
The chronograph tracks were galvanized silver in the 2016 release, whereas now they are the same matte grey of the sub-dials – the more refined look of the dial comes at the expense of superior legibility. Finally, the orbital moon phase is displayed in its own sub-dial at 6 o’clock. In line with the overall sporty feel of the watch, and in an appreciated nod to practicality, the hours and minutes hand have been lumed. The dial features small shocks of red at the quarters and on the tips of the chronograph hands, providing additional contrast against the greyscale of the dial.
Powering the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono is the L.U.C 03.10-L, Chopard’s in-house perpetual calendar chronograph calibre. The movement is based on the L.U.C 03.07-L chronograph, which was first introduced in 2014 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Sheufele family’s ownership of Chopard. The L.U.C 03.10-L is a modern chronograph calibre in terms of its functionality, meaning it features a column wheel and vertical clutch architecture. The former gives the actuation of the chronograph pushers a crisper feel and is the more traditional (and costly to produce) mechanism. The latter allows the chronograph to start without the jittering seen in chronographs with horizontal clutches that is the result of the running train meshing with the chronograph seconds wheel. Also, because of the vertical clutch, the chronograph can be run without any detriment to balance amplitude. The movement also features a flyback function, which allows the chronograph to be reset without first stopping it.
An additional modern touch that is making its way into more and more calibres is the balance bridge instead of the more traditional balance cock for increased resistance to shocks. The L.U.C 03.10-L comprises 452 parts and 42 jewels and beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour for a rated power reserve of approx. 60 hours.
In sharp contrast to the movement’s modern architecture, the finishing is entirely traditional and is without reproach. It is clear that this movement was designed with aesthetic beauty in mind, not just functionality – the bridges are crafted of German silver, giving the movement a warmer look, and feature multiple sharp exterior and interior angles. These artistic flourishes speak volumes to the attention to detail lavished on the movement. The baseplate features an even perlage, the jewel countersinks are bevelled, the levers of the chronograph mechanism are straight grained and bevelled on their flanks, as are the movement bridges. The watch bears the Poinçon de Genève, or Geneva seal, attesting the exceedingly high level of movement decoration and habillage.
If one criticism had to be made, it would be that the movement, at 33mm, is rather small for the case, a fact that is accentuated by the flange bearing the numbering and the model designation that slopes down from the sapphire crystal to the movement – a caseback rehaut if you will.
Availability & Price
The Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono in titanium will be priced at EUR 74,500 and is limited to 20 pieces. More details at chopard.com.