London in the Fall has an exceptional atmosphere. Maybe because I usually visit the city at this time of the year, but I’ve always enjoyed walking the streets of UK’s capital. It was one of this perfect Autumn days that I arrived for a short but sweet watch introduction by Chopard. If you have to mention something about independent family owned brands, such as Chopard, it has to be the fact that most of the people involved with the brand speaks with such a charisma and passion, the average spectator has a feeling that every word they say comes from their hearts. Pure and honest joy when they discuss a new project they are about to launch. At least this is how it seems for us. These expressions were the ones I noticed on Mr. Scheufele’s face during the presentation.
Two Exceptional Timepieces
The venue was the illustrious Philips building on Berkeley Square and the occasion was the launch of two exceptional timepieces; the Chopard L.U.C GMT One and the Chopard L.U.C. Time Traveler One. Chopard talked about these two new models with such passion, like parents talk about their kids. During the presentation the company emphasized how Mr. Scheufele was driven many years ago, in the mid 1990’s to create a manufacture department for Chopard. He succeeded, of course. These new watches we saw in London are here to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Chopard Manufacture. The department in Fleurier has 160 employees and are creating 4500 L.U.C watches a year. L.U.C is the manufacture line of Chopard bearing the name of Louis-Ulysse Chopard, who in 1860 set up a watchmaking shop in Switzerland.
Chopard L.U.C GMT One
A simple yet elegant watch with a great complication; a GMT. The L.U.C GMT One is Chopard’s first dual time function integrated into the watch movement. Powered by the L.U.C 01.10-L caliber, a 31-jewel automatic movement. It is Chronometer-certified with 60 hours of power reserve. Aesthetically remarkable with ‘Cotes de Genève’ decoration but also a true work of art in terms of its functionality. The watch we have seen comes in stainless steel and a 42mm diameter. It is about 11mm thick and has water resistance up to 50m. The watch sports dual crowns, resembling the old super compressor divers. The crowns, bearing the L.U.C logos are positioned at 2 and 4 o’clock. The upper one controls the date and time setting while the lower is used to set the large orange GMT hand for the second time zone.
The case as well as part of the crowns are satin brushed, the bezel as you can see in the photos, is polished just like the case back. The Chopard L.U.C GMT One has a display case back with sapphire crystal. The dial is simple and easy to read. Black sunburst and satin brushed finish makes the watch elegant. Chopard covered the hour markers and the numerals with Super-LumiNova as well as the rhodium plated dauphine hour and minute hands. The GMT hand is a very distinct orange baton-typed arrow also painted with Super-LumiNova. You can find the date window at 6 o’clock. Around the dial you see the GMT disc. It’s grey with white numerals between 6:30am and 6:30pm, black with orange numbers between 6:30pm and 6:30 am. The Chopard L.U.C GMT One comes on a black alligator strap with steel pin buckle. It’s current price is €9.360,-.
Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One
After the presentation of the GMT One we moved on to something bigger; the first worldtimer watch in Chopard’s L.U.C collection. We did not only get to see one, but even three watches from this collection. Chopard released the L.U.C Time Traveler One in steel, 18k rose gold and platinum simultaneously. A wonderful trio of an intriguing line of watches, I especially loved the platinum version. The Time Traveler One has the same 42mm case size as the GMT model. Thickness and water resistance are also identical. The movement is the Chopard L.U.C 01.05-L, the improved version of the 01.01-L. same power reserve, decoration and COSC certification but this time with 39 jewels. It’s a complicated movement that includes 262 components. The case, the caseback and the crowns are all identical to the GMT model, but the colors of the dials are a bit different.
The steel version has the same black and grey colors with a bit of orange, though to me this orange looks a bit different. The disc around the dial has the names of the cities in white with red transfers. The main color of the rose gold version is silver with a tad bit of royal blue for indicating pm.
In my humble opinion, the coolest of all as I previously mentioned, is the platinum version. The sunburst satin-brushed grey-blue dial is something to die for. The color scheme is homogeneous only the white pm part of the GMT ring breaks this unity. The L.U.C Time Travel One models also come on alligator straps, equipped with steel, 18k rose gold and white gold pin buckles. The prices are somewhat different than the GMT One model but this is obvious. The steel version is €12.610,-, the gold is €22.170,- while the platinum is €34.680,-.
The come back of the GMT
GMT as a complication are a bit overlooked lately, I think. Watch manufacturers tend to focus on more complicated, more expensive models. Chopard went against this with these models and while the price is certainly not that accessible it is also not astronomical. Chopard is an independent watch company, they developed and produce these watches in-house with the added complication. If you take all this into account, this watch and its price tag paints a totally different picture. While the GMT One was only released in stainless steel to us, we have to urge you to pay attention to the brand.
More information via Chopard on-line.