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Chopard L.U.C Quattro - Prodigious power

Chopard L.U.C Quattro - Prodigious power

28 - 12 - 2012 | 13:56
Published by Escapement (UK)

I can think of few brands where the Co-President of the company participates in the Mille Miglia each year with his best friend, who happens to be a six-times winner of Le Mans. However, I cannot think of another brand quite like Chopard.

It is a family-owned business run by Scheufele family. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is the unassuming gentleman I am referring to and his best friend is Jacky Ickx. I have had the pleasure of meeting them both and I have witnessed the knowing looks they share like only good friends do.

Chopard have always had a fascination with motor sport exampled by the classic cars the family have amassed. I recently read a book, “Chopard, the passion for excellence” where Karl-Friedrich’s father was sat at the wheel of a Dubonnet red Mercedes 300 SL with gull-wing doors. The thirst for speed is at the centre of the Chopard paradigm.

They have been sponsors of the Grand Prix de Monaco and Mille Miglia. Automotive influences have filtered into the Chopard Classic Racing collection. The line of racing watches often feature an iconic rubber strap with tyre tread motif.

L.U.C has a different character. There is little reference to motor sport or frenetic racing. In fact, the sublime excellence of the watches has a gentler persona born of patient craft and the relentless pursuit of eminence in the field of haute horology. Nothing is rushed and all aspects are distilled to a fine conclusion. Those of inquiring minds may question my mentioning motor racing, but there is a rationale to my prelude.

The battle for Formula One teams is creating an engine with copious power and torque which can accommodate a small space with a low centre of gravity. This is where I see a parallel with the Chopard L.U.C Quattro. It contains a movement with a relatively shallow height of 3.70 mm, remarkable considering the prodigious power it is able to store.

The name alludes to the four barrels which cache energy. Often watches have one or sometimes two barrels but four is unusual. Each barrel contains a 47 cm long mainspring. The four springs work in concert, capturing 216 hours of stored energy. The four barrels are arranged in two sets of two stacked barrels. This ingenious arrangement ensures much power is harnessed within a small area, similar to the aforementioned racing car’s engine.

Beyond the headline grabbing break horse power, or rather stored energy, is an incredible timepiece which has many delightful facets to its brilliant appeal.

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The dial

Roman numerals impart hours congruent with the design codes of several L.U.C models. They are gold and applied to a silver satined dial. The numerals have a slightly retro feel harking back to the 1960s.

Dauphine fusée-type hands eloquently convey hours in a refined tone. They match the material of the case. My preferred variant is 18-carat white gold but an 18-carat pink gold version is also available. The hands are lined with luminous material aiding legibility at night.

A subdial is located to the southerly aspect of the dial. It displays the date and subsidiary seconds.

The power reserve is located at noon. The crescent shaped scale with blued hand charmingly conveys the stored energy within the four barrels, expressed in days.

A chapter ring, with delicate black strokes frames the dial. There is often a graceful appearance to L.U.C timepieces and this model is no exception. It reminds me of the elegantly attired lady who enters a room, sans makeup with a face so pure she does not require overt adornment. The dial is a succinct expression of discernment and taste.

The case

Chopard have selected a polished finish for the bezel and caseback but selected a satin-brushed finish for the caseband. The judicious use of the latter is perfect. To have used a highly polished surface for the caseband would have overloaded the senses and distracted the eyes from the handsome dial.

The crown is neatly knurled and bears the L.U.C nomen on its vertical flank.

The lugs are highly polished on the their upper surface. I wish there was a little less space adjacent the horns. However, this is personal taste and a little nitpicking on my part.

The caseback features a sapphire crystal at its centre. Chopard bestow the wearer with a magnificent vista of horological art. The movement is a living, breathing sculpture whose form enchants from every angle. I am pleased that Chopard do not hide their light under a bushel.

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The movement

The LUC 98.01-L is a manual wind movement measuring 28.00 mm in diameter with a lithe thickness of 3.70mm. This is remarkable when you consider the previously mentioned four barrels.

The movement is hand-finished and bears the Poinçon de Genève and is accompanied with COSC certification. The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève, the mainplate is circular-grained.

I like the appearance and functionality of the swan neck regulator.

Screws are tirelessly polished with immaculate slots. Bevels are executed, bestowing a brilliant shine.

It is the refined finish of the movement which distinguishes it as something a little special. There is no hint of perfunctory manufacture, rather a mature quality reminiscent of an aged Scotch Whisky.

Conclusion

The Chopard L.U.C Quattro features a virile movement housed beneath a handsome torso. It’s chiseled face is august and sublime.

I am drawn to its prodigious power because of the engineering excellence necessary to bring it to fruition. The innovative movement featuring four barrels is protected with two patents. Chopard have wonderfully conveyed their horological prowess and justified their place among the finest names in the rarified atmosphere of haute horology.

Technical specification

Model: Chopard L.U.C Quattro
Model reference: 161926-1001
Case: 18-carat white gold case; diameter 43.00mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and caseback.
Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds; date; power-reserve indicator.
Movement: L.U.C Calibre 98.01-L; Hand-wound; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 39 jewels; 216 hours power reserve.
Strap: Hand-sewn alligator leather with pin buckle in 18-carat white gold

WebsiteChopard - Swiss Luxury Watches and Jewellery Manufacturer

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