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Chopard L.U.C 150 all in one
A fleeting moment
I confess to standing like a vertical sardine on the London Underground and catching the momentary sight of a beautiful lady. Our eyes meet and there is a brief connection. Vanity makes me think it is my august good looks. However, in reality it is more than likely that her smile is born from the shared humour of commuting around the capital in vertical repose. As the doors open, the vacuum seal is temporarily broken and she parts to who knows where.
The mid-life crisis I sometimes find myself in, questions whether this could have been the love of my life. An opportunity lost. A still-born life-long friendship.
Sometimes in life, fate and timing conspire against us.
I was recently a guest of Chopard at their prestigious Bond Street store in London. I had arranged to film a few products and interior shots of the luxurious boutique for a video I am scheduled to publish in the coming weeks. I had barely unpacked my camera when I was told that a rare watch was available for filming but was scheduled to be collected at any moment.
I feverishly unfurled the legs of my tripod, angled my lighting and began to shoot footage. No time was wasted. This was an opportunity I could not miss. Those of inquiring disposition may wonder what was special about this watch. This was no ordinary timepiece.
This rare watch was the Chopard L.U.C 150 “all in one” and when it was released in 2010, to mark Chopard’s 150th anniversary, it was described as their “most complex model made to date”.
One of only 15 examples ever produced, the probability of seeing and moreover touching this rare beauty again was miniscule.
Those unfamiliar with the beguiling charms of Chopard L.U.C may not understand my hysteria for this watch. Let me impart the rationale for my unbridled lust.
The Chopard L.U.C 150 “all in one” is the culmination of 516 parts working in spellbinding union. The watch houses 14 complications. It features a Chopard Manufacture movement.
The upper dial
Black Dauphine fusée hands impart hours and minutes. Their elaborate profile is congruent with the complicated character of this raven haired beauty with black alligator locks.
Black applied Roman numerals denote the hours. A minute rail circumnavigates the perimeter of the dial.
The guilloché dial is beautifully decorated by hand. The pattern is applied manually by a skilled artisan. No expedient CNC has besmirched the virgin-like purity of its innocent face. Curving lines, engage the eyes, encouraging dilated pupils to admire every detail of the dial.
Below noon, the name, “L.U.Chopard” resides above the complex mind of the watch. Beneath the aforementioned nomenclature resides the date. It is cleanly visible via two windows.
Towards the centre of the dial, “1860”, is framed in a rectangular box. The date is significant to Chopard. It was in 1860 that Louis-Ulysse Chopard founded his watchmaking atelier in Sonvilier in the Jura mountains. Indeed, it is the Jura region which is world-renowned for its expertise at creating complicated timepieces.
The watch is equipped with a perpetual calendar. At 3 o’clock a subdial displays the month on its outer circumference, whilst a leap-year indicator is located near the fulcrum of the dial.
At 9 o’clock a subdial displays the day on its outer edge and a short hand is employed for the 24-hour indicator at its centre.
At the most southerly aspect of the dial is a tourbillon. It industriously revolves, enchanting eyes as it regulates time. Floating above the carriage is a small seconds hand, again presented in black.
The discriminating use of limited colours is well-judged. The silver coloured dial and black hands pleasingly work in concert with the 18-carat white gold case.
The lower dial
It is seldom I talk about a dial to the rear of a watch. However, it is seldom I write about a watch quite like the L.U.C “all in one”.
At the most northerly aspect of the dial is a power reserve indicator. The watch has a power reserve of 7 days.
As I travel clockwise around the perimeter of the dial, there is a day / night indicator, a display showing the time of sunrise in Geneva, an astronomical orbital moon, a display showing the time of sunset in Geneva and finally a display for the equation of time.
The Equation of time, expressed in minutes, expresses the difference between apparent solar time and mean solar time.
The case is substantial with a diameter of 46 mm and height of 18.5 mm. This appeals to my working-class need to feel the value. This watch has substance and is no worse for that.
The bezels on the upper and lower dials are satin brushed. The lugs are highly polished on their horizontal flanks, yet their vertical sides are satin brushed, perfectly blending with the caseband.
Chopard have mastered the subtle orchestral play with light and shade like an accomplished conductor. The performance delights the senses.
The knurled crown bears the L.U.C logo on its vertical plane, reminding the wearer this is from the top-end of the Chopard horological collection.
The L.U.C Calibre 4TQE has a diameter of 33.00 mm and height of 11.75 mm. Beneath the handsome looks of the watch is a profound intellect. Ingenuity resulted in Chopard registering five patents for this movement.
The calibre is equipped with a Variner® balance wheel, an exclusive Chopard feature which consists of four inertia-blocks located in the rim of the balance wheel. This allows for fine adjustment of the inertia without disturbing the aerodynamics of the balance wheel.
The watch does not have one or two spring barrels. It has four. This confers copious energy to power the numerous functions of this complicated watch. Moreover, the watch has a power reserve of 189 hours.
I confess to being an admirer of Chopard L.U.C. I smile when I see a discerning watch collector wearing one of their wonderful watches. It signifies that they appreciate haute horology and a finely finished movement. This watch does not disappoint with its exemplary finissage. The watch bears the prestigious Poinçon de Genève.
The Poinçon de Genève or Hallmark of Geneva, as it is sometimes referred to, is a series of stringent criteria which the watch must meet. Furthermore, frequent inspections by Laboratoire d'Horologerie et de Microtechnique de Genève ensure that all 12 criteria of the Poinçon de Genève are met. The office of the Hallmark of Geneva works with the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC), hence the watch also receives Chronometer certification from COSC.
The motivation to write about the L.U.C “all in one” was the result of subsequently discovering that my film coverage of this watch did not do justice to this regal beauty.
My video footage was blighted by camera shake and poor lighting. Releasing my rushed efforts would have been disrespectful to this gorgeous timepiece, distilled to perfection by the loving hands of time-served craftsmen.
My short encounter with the L.U.C “all in one” was prematurely curtailed. A moment longer staring into its bewitching eyes and I would have offered my hand in marriage. I will never see my lovely again, but “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.
- Model: Chopard L.U.C 150 "all in one"
- Reference: 161925-1001
- Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 46.00 mm; height 18.5 mm ; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and rear.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds; date; days; months; leap years; 24-hour display; power-reserve inidcator; equation of time; sunrise and suset times calculated for Geneva; day / night display; orbital moon-phase display.
- Movement: L.U.C 4TQE, manual-wind; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 42 jewels; power reserve 189 hours.
- Strap: Hand-sewn alligator leather with pin buckle in 18-carat white gold.