Some brands don’t like it when you talk about the price first, but it is the first thing people ask about when they see a watch. Before we go into that, let’s have a closer look at this Chopard L.U.C All-in-One that was presented to us in Basel last March. Limited to 10 pieces only, so we might be a bit late but the Chopard website doesn’t indicate this watch as ‘Sold Out’ or words with equal meaning.
There are no less than 14 indications featuring a tourbillon, a perpetual calendar, sunrise & sunset times and astronomical orbital moon phase, with a 7-day power reserve. Boom! There you have it, it becomes clear that the Chopard L.U.C All-in-One is a grand complication that can definitely be seen as a show-piece to demonstrate what this manufacture is capable of. Grand Complications are not only the territory of Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, but Chopard also plays along with this L.U.C All-in-One.
Chopard L.U.C All-in-One
The Chopard L.U.C All-in-One is not new, but already 8 years ago in 2010, there was a version of this watch for the 150th anniversary of the brand. Now, in 2018, Chopard showed us this new 46mm Chopard L.U.C All-in-One, limited to 20 pieces. 10 in rose gold, as we have here today (reference 161925-5002) and 10 in platinum (reference 161925-9003).
Normally, as a human being, you would like to stay far away from any sort of complication. But when it comes to horology, it is actually a good thing. Or at least interesting. Everything other than the ‘normal’ time indication, let’s say a three-hand watch, is referred to as a complication. This also includes the date feature, this is a complication already. Besides the date, the most famous types of complications are of course a chronograph, a moon phases indicator, a power reserve indicator, an annual calendar, additional (world) timezones, a perpetual calendar, a tourbillon and a minute repeater. Complications that you don’t see often, are for example an indication of the equation of time, a planetarium, dead seconds, and the indication of all sorts of times besides our standard time (think solar time, sidereal time, sunset and sunrise time etc.). Unofficially, a Grand Complication is a combination of at least three complications in one watch. Not any three, but one from the timing complications (equation of time, chronograph, sunset/sunrise for example), one calendar complication (perpetual calendar for example) and something with sound (alarm, repeater etc.). Although the Chopard L.U.C All-in-One does not have a striking mechanism, the 14 indications it has on both sides, definitely places this watch in the illustrious list of Grand Complications.
On the dial side of the Chopard L.U.C All-in-One, we find the central display of hours and minutes. A small seconds on the tourbillon at 6 o’clock, a perpetual calendar with 24-hour indication and day of the week indication as well as a month and leap year indicator. Last but not least, a large date display at 12 o’clock. To be honest, the dial isn’t overly crowded or cluttered. If you find it difficult to read, it might be of the colour and hand-guilloché finish. On the back side of the watch, instead of looking at the mechanism of the watch, you will find the indications of the equation of time, a power reserve (170 hours!), the day & night indicator, sunrise and sunset times (Geneva time) and an astronomical orbital moon phase. While we’re still at the back side of the watch, you will find the unique number (out of 10) engraved in the gold bezel as well as the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark.
L.U.C Calibre 05-01-L Movement
All these indications are powered by Chopard’s L.U.C calibre 05.01-L, initially created for the brand’s 150th anniversary. This chronometer certified movement consists of no less than 516 parts and all that in this tiny space with a dimension of just 33mm x 11.75mm. You can imagine how painstakingly this must have been for the Swiss watchmakers at the Chopard Manufacture, that was founded in 1996. The conception and finishing of the movement, as well as the adjustments and assembly, are treated with the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark. Not only that, it also makes up for the price that without proper context could have been perceived as vulgar. The retail price of the Chopard L.U.C All-in-One is €360.000 (€374.500 for the platinum version). That, however, should always be placed in the right context for watches like this. The number of hours that have gone into the finishing of the movement, the dial, the hands etc. Not only that, but all the hours that went into the research & development of this watch also need to be included of course. It is not a mass-produced Swiss mechanical watch, but built and finished by hand.
18-Carat Rose Gold Limited Edition
With only 10 pieces in rose gold, the Chopard L.U.C All-in-One is not really your average limited edition where this definition is being used as marketing tool. Only 20 pieces (in total) probably has more to do with the capacity Chopard needs to create this grand complication. Often, pieces like this are not even considered a ‘limited edition’, they just come with a unique number and are limited by production capacity. The Chopard L.U.C All-in-One is truly a rarity and the lucky owner is assured that he receives something truly exclusive. By numbers, but also by all these complications it has.
The 33mm diameter movement has been housed in a 46mm case, made of 18-carat rose gold (or platinum). The height of the watch is 18.50mm. Quite thick, but with 46mm as diameter and all of the complications on board, it makes sense. But on the wrist, it will remain quite a thick piece for sure. The case band (or centre) has a vertical satin brushed finish were the bezel on the front and caseback have been polished. All engraving on the caseback is done by hand. As mentioned above, the dial has received this hand-guilloché finish in a beautiful verdigris colour that has been obtained by a galvanic treatment.
The hollowed subdials (for the calendar functions) have been snailed and the applied hour markers are gilded. Chopard used dauphin-style hands for the hour and minutes and a baton-style hand for the small seconds on the tourbillon. On the backside of the watch, the hands used for the equation of time, 24-hour indication are of the same type as the small seconds’ hand. The power reserve and sunrise & sunset are small red pointers.
Chopard L.U.C All-in-One
Hand-crafted and using no less than 516 components for the movement, the L.U.C. All-in-One watch is a clear show-piece by Chopard to demonstrate what they are capable of. In-house, to be precise. This means that the movement development, design, gold melting(!), machining (cases, movement parts etc.) as well as the hand-finishing, assembly, adjustments etc. are done by Chopard in one of their production sites in Meyrin (near Geneva) and Fleurier. As a watch enthusiast, you can only have admiration for this.
I have tried the watch on my wrist in Basel during the introduction, and it is very impressive. Not only due to its 46mm x 18.5mm dimensions (in gold), but also but the level of craftsmanship that this watch is all about. When this is on the wrist, you start to become short of superlatives to describe it. This is exactly what Chopard wanted to achieve with this exclusive piece of haute horlogerie I guess.
This is a watch that makes you quiet (for a while) and simply enjoying the view. The 18-carat rose gold colour perfectly matches the verdigris dial, a wonderful combination. Although I am not a tourbillon fanboy, it is perfectly in place here and not disturbing at all. The caseback is just something else and I’ve always been in love with those astronomical displays. What remains is the fact that it is hardly available (by quantity and price) for many of us, so whenever you get the chance to see one of these watches up close and personal, grab this opportunity.
More information can be found on the official Chopard website.