This year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its L.U.C brand, Chopard has released several new Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono replica timepieces, including the technical tour de force, the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono.Entering the bathroom and staring at the mirror above the washbasin, I diligently brush my teeth and commence shaving with my eyes still sleep-filled.

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Every morning it’s the same ritual, I am woken by the irritating shrill of my alarm clock. The index finger of my right hand clumsily fumbles for the switch to nullify the intrusive din and I finally emerge from my bed after several presses of the ‘Snooze’ button.

 

A company which is no stranger to the notion of wisdom is Chopard. The company, founded in 1860, has become synonymous with crafting fine watches and sublime jewellery, gaining incredible insight and skills with the passage of time. The watchmaking prowess of Chopard came to the fore with the creation of the L.U.C sub-brand in 1996. This year, Chopard is celebrating the 20th anniversary of L.U.C, the collection of haute horlogerie known to those individuals of discerning temperament.

The problem I have with being a middle-aged male is that every time I shave, I have to stare at my reflected image in the mirror. The frank honesty of the mirror is no longer welcome. I cannot fail to note my receding hairline, the emergence of greying hair to the sides of my head and the increasingly wrinkled texture of my brow. It’s no fun growing old.

However, the lines which have accumulated adjacent my eyes betray the numerous observations I have made over the years. Moreover, these lines, which emanate outwards from the side of each eye, reveal an accumulation of experiences and a degree of amassed wisdom.

At Baselworld 2016, Chopard unveiled the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono and I was generously allocated a period of time to appraise this horological tour de force.

The dial

The dial is presented in a sumptuous grey ruthenium finish. A hand-guilloché motif, consisting of radiating lines that emanate from the Chopard nomen, stand testament to the adroit skills employed. Indeed, the deft execution of the lines reveals the time-served wisdom of the most accomplished artisan.

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A large date display sits below noon, positioned between the brand’s name and the word ‘Chronometer’. This model is certified by COSC and bears the Poinçon de Genève.

The dauphine fusée hour and minute hands uphold the design language Chopard has frequently used over the last few years. The hands are lined with white fill and interface with the Roman numeral hour markers and a snailed minute track, respectively.

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The Corum Replica L.U.C Perpetual Chrono, as the name implies, combines a perpetual calendar and column-wheel chronograph. The left hand subdial combines a 30-minute chronograph register, month display and leap year indication. Positioned opposite, a similarly styled subdial features a 12-hour chronograph register, day display and day/night indicator. The styling of each subdial consists of two overlapping circular forms of differing scales to provide an interesting asymmetric outline adjacent the minute track.

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Several indications feature on the dial of the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono, but nothing impairs interpretation. A vibrant shade of red is used to highlight those dial elements relating to the chronograph e.g. the tip of the central chronograph seconds hand. The judicious use of colour, texture and arrangement makes this timepiece an exemplar of coherence and, by default, simple to read.

Located in the lower portion of the dial is a large moon-phase display, framed with a snailed circlet, said to indicate the moon age accurately with only ‘one-day deviation in 122 years’. The blue moon-phase indication wonderfully depicts the nocturnal sky. Floating above the moon-phase display is a small seconds hand.

 

The case

Measuring 45mm in diameter, the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono exhibits notable wrist-presence. However, do not misconstrue, it shares the same restrained, tasteful demeanour of its siblings. Indeed, one reason for my own predilection for L.U.C watches is that they exude a prudent elegance which sidesteps the gauche and embraces the refined.

Chopard intends to produce 20 examples of the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono in ‘Fairmined’ 18-carat rose gold and a further 20 examples in ‘Fairmined’ 18-carat white gold. I encountered the ‘Fairmined’ 18-carat rose gold when I reviewed the L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined a couple of years ago, when I explained the background to this ethically sourced noble metal. However, I personally favour the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono in ‘Fairmined’ 18-carat white gold, a first for Chopard. White gold seems a fitting bedfellow for an L.U.C timepiece because of its cultured character and softly spoken tone.

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The curved bezel of the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono is highly polished. This is repeated on the upper and lower surfaces of the lugs and the crown. However, Chopard tempers this ebullience, employing a vertical satin-brush on the case band and vertical flanks of the lugs and push-pieces. The blend of surface treatments bestows a harmonious mix which proves very agreeable.

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An exhibition case back exposes the gorgeous hand-wound Caliber 03.10-L. A sloping rim sits adjacent the movement, reminiscent of an amphitheatre in styling, drawing the eyes to the spectacle of the manufacture movement centre stage.

The movement

Ever since Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier unveiled its inaugural in-house calibre, the L.U.C 1.96, the Swiss watch replica company has been producing some of the finest movements in existence. Take any L.U.C movement and, with a loupe in hand, scrutinise its elevated finishing. Each component is distilled to an exalted level. The new Caliber 03.10-L proves to be no exception.

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The feel of the push-pieces when starting / stopping the stopwatch function is incredibly smooth without the merest hint of jarring.The L.U.C Perpetual Chrono features a chronograph with a flyback function. Moreover, the central sweep seconds hand, once actuated, embarks on its journey with a gentle gait, free of any wobble or stuttering. The reason for this matchless mechanical virtuosity can be attributed to the column-wheel and vertical coupling collaborating together in perfect harmony. This is a purist’s chronograph and one of the best I have encountered.

The jewel and screw sinks are highly polished. The main plate is adorned with pristine perlage and the screws visible on the bridges they are mirror polished with chamfered rims and slots. Indeed, this is reaffirmed with the independent validation conferred by the Geneva Seal adorning the case and movement. Quite simply, the finissage is exemplary.The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif with stunningly beautiful bevels according magnificent contrast with the upper surface of the bridges. The wheels are circular grained.

A trained watchmaker can alter the frequency of the balance by adjusting four small inertia blocks set in-board on the spokes of the balance wheel. The location of the blocks in-board mitigates turbulence when the balance oscillates to and fro, thereby aiding precision.Beyond the beauty of the movement there are several functional highlights, including the brand’s Variner® balance.

Closing remarks

The L.U.C Perpetual Chrono is beautiful to behold and intuitive to read. The case back, lugs and luxurious strap embrace the wrist with a cosseting touch. The white gold case evinces a muted tone. However, it is the ubiquitously presented, no-compromise craftsmanship which especially stands out. Surveying the movement reveals a myriad of components, lovingly enhanced by time-served hands.

 

Technical specification

  • Model: Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono
  • Reference: 161973-1001
  • Case: 18-carat “Fairmined” 18ct white gold; diameter 45.00mm; height 15.06mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and case back.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; large date; moon-phase indicator; day; month; day/night indicator; leap-year indicator; perpetual calendar; flyback chronograph
  • Movement: Caliber 03.10-L; hand-wound movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 42 jewels; power reserve 60 hours
  • Strap: Black hand-sewn alligator leather strap presented on a matching gold pin buckle
  • Price: £61,710 (RRP as at 8.6.2016)

The grey dial with numerous deep lines adorning its face stand testament to the experience of the artisan responsible and remind me of the wisdom lines which come with age. Whilst Chopard is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of L.U.C, it must be remembered it has been crafting watches since 1860. As many learned, middle-aged individuals will attest, with age comes experience and, once again, Chopard L.U.C replica watch reveals the high degree of wisdom it has acquired over during its lengthy trading history.