As you’ve already been reminded a couple of times this month, we get a ton of new watches each year. Some are hits, and others are flops. One of the best watch surprises in 2023 was the introduction of the Chopard L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel. Perhaps it’s better to call it a reintroduction, though, as the first Chopard L.U.C 1860 was introduced in 1997, and one could see this new version as a long-awaited update. It’s classic, it’s dressy, but is it any good? I got my hands on the watch to answer that question.

Chopard L.U.C 1860

One year before the introduction of the first L.U.C 1860, Chopard had introduced its L.U.C 1.96 movement. It found its way into the L.U.C. 1860 in 1997, which became available in several variations. One of the most sought-after versions is the rare white gold model with a salmon dial.

The 1997 Chopard L.U.C 1860 — Image: Mr Watchley

This year, besides an updated Mille Miglia collection and a beautiful Alpine Eagle XPS, Chopard showed us this L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel, which is very similar to that rare 1997 white gold version.

Chopard L.U.C. 1860

The 2023 re-edition of the L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel

Like the original 1997 model, this 2023 version has a modest 36.5mm case diameter, is only 8.2mm thick, and has a lug-to-lug of 44.5mm. The salmon dial is made of gold and has been decorated with a hand-engraved guilloché finish. The motif is slightly different from that of the original model, and the nameplate, sub-dial, central dial, hour sector, and minute track all have separate white gold frames. Excluding the beveled frame of the nameplate, all of these also bear a notched guilloché pattern. When reading all this, you’d expect it to be a very busy dial, but it’s not. Chopard found a great way to feature all this decoration on the salmon dial without making it cluttered or too busy.

The applied white gold hour markers are shaped like spearheads, and the hands are in the classic dauphine style.

Compared to the original version from 26 years ago, what is most prominent in this version is the lack of a date. I am not a fan of a date window on a dress watch, but I also admit that Chopard pulled it off very nicely on the earlier L.U.C 1860 watches. It didn’t bother me, but let’s be honest here: the new L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel looks perfect without it.

Caliber L.U.C 96.40-L

Let’s look at the movement before I share my experiences of wearing this new 2023 Chopard L.U.C 1860. This automatic caliber L.U.C 96.40-L is small but very thin — only 3.3mm thick, to be precise — and consists of 176 parts. The power reserve of the L.U.C. 96.40-L movement is 65 hours due to the two stacked barrels (called L.U.C Twin Technology). It ticks at a 28,800vph frequency, has 29 jewels, and includes a chronometer certificate from COSC.

Chopard L.U.C. 1860 96.40-L movement

But that’s all “tech talk.” Look at how beautiful the L.U.C movement is when peering through the sapphire crystal on the back. We see a specially decorated micro-rotor in 22K yellow gold surrounded by beautiful, chamfered bridges with Côtes de Genève and perlage visible on the mainplate below the rotor. As you may notice, this caliber also bears the Poinçon de Genève (Geneva Seal), which demands this high level of finishing, as detailed here. In my opinion, the L.U.C 96.40-L movement is a large part of the attraction of owning this watch.

Chopard L.U.C. 1860 wrist shot

Wrist fit and case finishing

I have worn the Chopard L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel for a few days, and the 36.5mm diameter works well for my 18cm wrist. Chopard has put it on a very comfortable and soft gray calfskin strap. It perfectly matches the salmon dial of the L.U.C 1860. The watch’s case has vertically brushed sides and a polished upper surface. The bezel also features a polished finish, contributing to its dressy look.

The brushing on the sides is nice and deep; you can feel the grooves when you move your finger over it. On the right side, you will find the crown slightly recessed, with the L.U.C logo embossed on it. The case back of the watch also has a polished bezel and is fixed to the case with eight screws.

A perfect dress watch

I find that the Chopard L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel ticks many boxes to be that perfect dress watch. This is not only because of the size and beautiful movement but also because I’ve warmed up to handmade guilloché dials in the last few years. Maybe I’m finally getting old? Watches like the Breguet Classique 5157 and now also this Chopard L.U.C 1860 come to the top of my mind when I think of the perfect dress watch.

Looking at this watch on my wrist, it’s a combination of the soft lines of the case combined with the salmon-color guilloché dial and its highly outspoken lines that make this Chopard L.U.C 1860 so mesmerizing. Despite generally preferring a precious metal, this L.U.C 1860 is, without a doubt, the dress watch of 2023 for me. I usually don’t mind shipping watches back to the brands after we’ve tried and tested them, but this time, I do so with some healthy resistance. I can honestly say that I’ll miss this one.

The Lucent Steel that Chopard uses deserves a mention as well. It’s (50%) harder than regular stainless steel and has a greater shine, hence its name.

Chopard has indicated that this watch is not a limited edition but has a limited production.

The retail price of the Chopard L.U.C 1860 is €25,700 / US$23,700. If you’d like to find out more about it, visit Chopard’s official website.

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Watch specifications

L.U.C 1860
Manually engraved gold guilloché dial in salmon color with applied indices
Case Material
Lucent Steel (stainless steel with 50% greater hardness and a whiter glow)
Case Dimensions
36.5mm (diameter) × 44.5mm (lug-to-lug) × 8.2mm (thickness)
Case Back
Stainless steel and sapphire
Chopard L.U.C 96.40-L — in-house caliber, automatic and hand winding, 28,800vph frequency, 65-hour power reserve, 29 jewels, micro-rotor, Poinçon de Genève
Hand-sewn grey calf leather (18/16mm) with Chopard-signed buckle
Time only (hours, minutes, sub-seconds)
€25,700 / US$23,700