The Chopard L.U.C. saga goes back to 1996 when CEO Karl-Friedrich Scheuffele decided it was time to return to the realms of Haute Horlogerie. Named after the firm’s founder, Louis Ulysse Chopard, it was to be the start of a continuous devotion to the finest watchmaking imaginable, marked by the inaugural L.U.C. XPS 1860 in 1997. After a decade of high-end watchmaking, the celebratory L.U.C. Strike One was presented, the brand’s first-ever venture into the world of repeater mechanisms. Fast forward to today, the new Chopard L.U.C. Strike One combines several of the best elements developed under the L.U.C. label, including the patented monobloc sapphire crystal/gong chiming technology.
As said, Chopard celebrated the 10th anniversary of its manufacture with the L.U.C. Strike One, the brand’s first-ever striking watch. This featured the in-house manufactured Calibre 96.14-L with a striking mechanism visible from the front and on/off pusher at 10 o’clock. This very watch serves as the spiritual predecessor to today’s L.U.C. Strike One, yet is granted several important updates.
The refined and elegant case of the new L.U.C. Strike One is made with fairmined 18k rose gold, measures 40mm in diameter and a slim 9,86mm in height. The caseband has a fine vertical brushing, with a polished bezel on top. The most important update compared to the first L.U.C. Strike One is without a doubt the patented monobloc sapphire crystal and gong system. This was first seen on the incredible Chopard L.U.C. Full Strike in 2016 and since in a number of adaptations.
The idea is to construct a repeater watch in the same way as a musical instrument. The top crystal, a solid piece with the crystal gong, acts as an amplifier to the soundwaves created when the hammer strikes the gong. This results in a louder, crisper and crystal clear sound, time and time again. This hasn’t come easy, as there are more than 17,000 hours of research invested in the concept. Even in this more simplified hour strike complication, it is still a superbly impressive bit of innovation.
The dial for the Chopard L.U.C. Strike One is made of solid gold, with a galvanic treatment resulting in a ruthenium grey colour. The centre section is decorated with a hand-guilloché honeycomb pattern, with a chapter ring featuring concentric circles on the outside. The minute track is printed on the inside of the crystal, with applied gilded hour indices on the dial. A cut-out between 12 and 1 o’clock gives way to the striking hammer with the crystal gong encircling the entire dial.
The Chopard L.U.C. Strike One uses the emblematic Calibre 96 architecture as a base. This was the first movement developed for the L.U.C. line, back in 1996, and featured a micro-rotor construction. It still serves as the foundation of various L.U.C. watches today, and is here combined with a striking mechanism for the first time. The movement is constructed with 275 expertly crafted and finished components, including 33 jewels. It runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and thanks to Chopard’s patented Twin Technology double-barrel system provides a running time of 65 hours when fully wound.
The Calibre L.U.C. 96.32-L is produced in-house and relies on the expertise garnered through watches like the XPS 1860 and the Full Strike. The latter provides the conceptual base for the patented monobloc sapphire crystal and gong striking mechanism. In this new L.U.C. Strike One, it is constructed as a Sonnerie au Passage, with the exposed hammer visibly striking the gong at every full hour. A crown-integrated pusher allows putting the movement in silent mode, indicated through the small aperture at 12 o’clock.
The Chopard L.U.C. Strike One is worn on a handmade grey alligator leather strap with an ethical 18k rose gold pin buckle (satin-brushed and polished). Chopard presents it as a numbered limited edition of 25 pieces. At the time of publication, the price is yet to be confirmed but the article will be updated when we know the price.
For more information, please visit Chopard.com.