Chopard’s first L.U.C calibre with a flying tourbillon made its debut at Baselworld 2019 in a rose gold case with a grey dial. The epitome of a contemporary dress watch with a nod to the past, Chopard’s ultra-thin flying tourbillon returns this year in an ethical 18k white gold case with a handsome blue guilloché dial in a limited edition run of 50 pieces. Although it exhibits traditional complications like the tourbillon and traditional decorative techniques like guillochage, the L.U.C Flying T Twin does not fall into the category of a ‘traditional’ or ‘classical’ watch. Rather, it comes across as a remarkably elegant and refined contemporary dress watch powered by a sophisticated ultra-thin movement with a robust power reserve. Like its predecessor, the watch is COSC chronometer-certified and flaunts the prestigious Poinçon de Genève seal of quality.
What’s in a name?
Accustomed as we are to brands with watch names that run on for miles, Chopard’s collections tend to stick to short names with abbreviations. In this case, the name of the L.U.C Flying T Twin is worth dissecting to understand what we are dealing with. L.U.C, which are the initials of the founder Louis-Ulysee Chopard who established a watchmaking workshop in Sonvilier in 1860, is also the name given to Chopard’s top range of movements produced in the brand’s manufacture in Fleurier. Founded in 1996 by Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the manufacture in Fleurier produces movements for the brand’s top-tier L.U.C watches. Models bearing the prestigious Poinçon de Genève seal are subsequently assembled and regulated at the company’s facility in Meyrin, Geneva. The “Flying T” in the name refers to a flying tourbillon, and “Twin” alludes to Chopard’s patented Twin Technology that relies on two coaxial barrels to increase the power reserve.
With its diameter of 40mm and slim height of 7.2mm, the L.U.C Flying T Twin has perfect dress watch proportions. Made from ethically sourced “Fairmined” gold, the white gold case has a brightly polished bezel contrasting with a vertical satin-brushed finishing on the casebands. The gently sloping lugs are also polished and have smooth, rounded corners for comfort.
A flying tourbillon in a large aperture at 6 o’clock animates the dial. Unlike ‘regular’ tourbillions, the flying tourbillon, which was invented by Alfred Helwig in 1920, dispenses with the upper bridge. Held in place by the lower bridge, the tourbillon appears to fly as it completes its one-minute gyrations. Framed by a silver ring to match the case colour, the flying tourbillon doubles as a small seconds counter with a white triangular-shaped hand fixed to the flying tourbillon carriage.
The dial is made from a solid gold blank with a galvanic treatment to obtain the striking blue colour. A beautiful guilloché honeycomb pattern, executed by hand, decorates the central area of the dial, a pattern that has been used in the L.U.C collection since 2017. Almost like an Escher print in its abstract geometry, the hexagonal compartments of the honeycomb pattern are positioned at different angles adding a great deal of relief and playing with the light in unexpected ways. The honeycomb pattern is an allusion to Louis-Ulysee Chopard’s original beehive trademark, which was, in turn, a reference to his forebears who were beekeepers.
A snailed chapter ring hosts the applied rhodium-plated hour markers and Arabic numeral 12, while the peripheral railroad track for the minutes and inscriptions on the dial – L.U. Chopard, Chronometer and Swiss Made – are gilded for contrast. Matching the hour markers, the Dauphine fusée-style hour and minute hands are also rhodium-plated.
An evolution of Chopard’s original ultra-thin automatic calibre 96.01-L, the first calibre produced by the manufacture in Fleurier 25 years ago, the 96.24L retains the same dimensions (27.40mm diameter x 3.30mm height) and has the same 22k gold micro-rotor. Do not be deceived by the ultra-thin height of the movement because, thanks to Chopard’s patented Twin Technology using two stacked barrels, it can deliver a robust 65-hour power reserve. Finished to the high standards of L.U. C watches with Geneva striping on the bridges and perlage on the plate, the movement is certified by COSC as a chronometer and stamped with the prestigious Poinçon de Genève seal of quality that encompasses technical, functional and aesthetic aspects of the watch.
The L.U.C Flying T Twin comes with a hand-stitched matte blue alligator leather strap with a cognac-coloured alligator lining and a pin buckle in 18k white gold
Availability & Price
Limited to 50 numbered pieces, the L.U.C Flying T Twin will (ref. 161978-1001) be priced at approximately CHF 115,000 (to be confirmed). For more information, please consult Chopard’s website.