In 2016, with a crystal-clear sound, Chopard announced the launch of its L.U.C Full Strike minute repeater, introducing an exciting solution featuring a sapphire gong directly attached to the crystal. This departure from the conventional metal segment gongs, which vibrate around the movement to produce sound, marked a significant step for Chopard. Beyond its innovative sound mechanism, the L.U.C Full Strike boasted several remarkable features and a complex design. However, another chiming watch from the brand needs to be mentioned, a slightly simpler but nevertheless exquisite one, the Chopard L.U.C Strike One, which now comes in white gold with a green dial for Dubai Watch Week.
However, Chopard’s journey into striking watches predates the L.U.C Full Strike. In 2006, the Fleurier-based manufacture introduced the Strike One with the passing of hours acoustic complication, commemorating its 10th anniversary. This timepiece featured the in-house Calibre 96.14-L, showcasing a visible striking mechanism from the front and an on/off pusher at 10 o’clock and served as a precursor to the more recent L.U.C Strike One 2022 iteration, which used the sapphire crystal gong technology of the Full Strike, powered by the new calibre L.U.C 96.32-L. The latest edition draws inspiration from the 2022 model, but with a white gold case and a captivating green-grey dial, it exudes a fresh and inviting charm.
The watch, enclosed in ethical 18-carat white gold as part of Chopard’s commitment to responsible sourcing, boasts a modest 40mm diameter and 9.86mm thickness. The polished bezel and caseback, coupled with a satin-brushed caseband, exemplify Chopard’s consistent design language, harkening back to the inaugural L.U.C XPS 1860 model in 1997. The fluted crown with an integrated pusher at 3 o’clock, though sizable (7.8mm), doesn’t compromise comfort during wear, a lesson learned from the previous reference.
The green-grey dial, achieved through galvanic treatment on ethical white gold, initially presents a simple appearance, blame it on good legibility. However, closer inspection reveals intricate details that invite exploration. Rhodium-plated dauphine fusée-type hour and minute hands seemingly hover above a hand-guilloché’ central medallion’ adorned with a honeycomb pattern, a plaque with L.U.Chopard logo and chronometer assertion. Rhodium-plated herringbone-type hour markers grace the snailed circle between the medallion and the railway minutes track etched on the sapphire crystal. At 6 o’clock, a snailed subdial houses a rhodium-plated small seconds hand to indicate the watch’s running status.
Down from the 12 o’clock position, an aperture indicates if the mechanism is ready to chime or keeps silent; the integrated crown pusher operates the switch. Meanwhile, at 1 o’clock, a highly polished hammer against a perlage backdrop, visible through a hammer-shaped aperture, announces every hour as it strikes the monobloc sapphire crystal gong.
Driving the precise timekeeping and hourly striking functions is the self-winding calibre L.U.C 96.32-L. This movement features a gold micro-rotor responsible for energizing two mainsprings, ensuring a 65-hour power reserve. This setup provides a consistent torque supply to the escapement and regulating organ, resulting in superior chronometry. Adding to its precision, the balance spring incorporates a Phillips terminal curve for enhanced isochronism. Certified as a chronometer by the COSC, calibre L.U.C 96.32-L is meticulously executed to impeccable standards, free from any machining signs. Examining the movement through the sapphire caseback reveals exquisite finishing techniques, including perlage, anglage, Côtes de Genève, polished jewel and screw sinks. It proudly carries the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark.
The new white gold edition of Chopard L.U.C Strike One elegantly graces the wrist with a hand-sewn grey alligator leather strap featuring matching lining. Securing the watch is a pin buckle crafted from polished and satin-brushed ethical 18-carat white gold. Limited to just 25 pieces, this exclusive chronometer should be priced at around EUR 75,000. More details at Chopard.com.