Unveiled last year during Watches and Wonders, the Chopard L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel with a guilloché salmon dial is a watch that left quite an impression on us. But there’s more to this timepiece than its elegance, its compact dimensions or its combination of materials and colours – salmon over steel is, by far, one of our favourite combos here at MONOCHROME. It’s a watch with historical importance, both mechanically and design-wise, which is why we’ve elected this Chopard L.U.C for our latest video review.
Chopard, and specifically the L.U.C collection (named after the brand’s founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard) is known for its handsome, elegant watches with impeccable execution. But more than anything, this collection launched in 1996 has secured the brand a position on the map of high-end watchmaking. With the L.U.C Collection, Chopard became part of the elite of Geneva-based Haute Horlogerie, together with some of the most respected brands of the region. And it was all down to one movement, the emblematic calibre 96, which is basically the same as the watch we’ll review today. And in addition, the watch that housed it first was very close in design and proportions to this handsome, extremely elegant Chopard L.U.C 1860 Salmon Dial… Many reasons to go deeper into the details.
For this reason, and before we start talking about what is, objectively, a very beautiful watch, we need to dive into history and look at the rise of Chopard as a top-tier manufacture. For this reason, I invite you to watch our video review, which explains the birth of the L.U.C collection and its inaugural movement, the Calibre 96, but also to have a close look at this in-depth article part of the Collector’s Corner column, retracing the history of the creation of this movement and the first watches to be equipped with it. With this movement and this collection, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the Co-President of Chopard, had an ambitious plan: transforming Chopard from a brand mostly known for jewellery to a proper watchmaker. And he certainly succeeded.
What to say about this watch…? It might well be one of the most elegant and appealing dress watches we’ve seen recently. Chopard decided here to go back to the roots of this collection with a case that measures 36.5mm in diameter and a slim profile of 8.2mm. Restrained, elegant, almost old-fashioned but in a charming way – and yet, with such presence on the wrist. And after multiple L.U.C watches in precious metals, it’s here done in steel, or Lucent Steel A223 to be precise – an ethically sourced proprietary alloy with more sheen and resistance to scratches.
Under the sapphire caseback is the calibre L.U.C 96.40, a slightly modernized version of the movement that started it all in 1996. It is wound by a solid 22-carat gold rotor decorated with a guilloché pattern. It is also certified by the Geneva Seal, meaning that the decoration has been done according to highly demanding standards and the precision has been certified by the COSC as a chronometer.
But I invite you to watch the video, which has all the details regarding what is, objectively, a stunning (and quite expensive too) watch. For more details, please consult our hands-on article here, as well as our in-depth look at the history of L.U.C and the calibre 96.