The L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer by Chopard is an attractive piece that combines discretion and flamboyance. Discretion, because the silver-coloured case and dial are in solid gold, the dial has a sophisticated, minimalist design, and the caseback at first sight is solid. Flamboyance, because when you take off the watch and press the crown, the caseback cover flips open to reveal the beautifully-finished ultra-thin L.U.C 96.01-L movement with its yellow gold oscillating weight.
The white gold dial with galvanic silvered coating is worked in hand-guilloché, with a series of honeycomb hexagons in the central area. The same motif appears on the outside of the caseback cover. It is a reference to the guilloché motif that was featured on the first in-house watch made by Chopard in 1996, and also to the beehive and bees motif used historically by Chopard to hallmark its pieces from its foundation in 1860 right through to 1920. The white gold case is 40 mm in diameter and just 7.7 mm thick, water resistance 3 atm. Its polished bezel and caseback contrast with the vertically satin-brushed caseband. It has a hand-sewn strap in alligator leather with alligator lining and a white gold pin buckle.
Officer-type caseback cover
The hinged back cover is a feature originally used in pocket watches, as a way of protecting the watchglass. Later, it provided a space for personalized engravings. In the L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer, pressing the crown opens the cover to exactly 90°. Outside, the honeycomb motif; inside, a hand-engraved beehive and bees, the latter positioned at random. Each watch in this limited edition is therefore unique.
The L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer is powered by L.U.C Calibre 96.01-L, a self-winding movement with two mainspring barrels, stacked one on top of the other using Chopard’s Twin Technology. Fitting these twin barrels into a movement just 3.3 mm thick is a prodigious feat. The system provides a 65-hour power reserve. The movement runs at chronometer precision as certified by COSC, therefore with a maximum deviation of -4/+6 seconds per day. The balance has a frequency of 4 Hertz, 28,800 vibrations per hour.
The movement marked the start of Chopard’s new course of in-house calibres, an operation planned by co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, launched secretly in 1993 after it had received the blessing of his father Karl. Karl-Friedrich didn’t choose the easy route: he wanted a slim movement equipped with a micro-rotor, a high power reserve, and the flexibility to integrate complications as required. The first attempt was the Calibre ASP 94, that proved too noisy and unsuitable for the company’s industrial strategy. The Calibre 1.96, later renamed the L.U.C 96.01-L, was presented at Christmas 2005 with 20 prototypes. From 1996 it was built at the unit in Fleurier, where there were initially about 12 employees. Today there are 145.
Price and reference
The L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer by Chopard is reference 161242-1001. The acronym XPS comes from the French extra-plat, ultra-thin, while the S stands for the small seconds subdial. All pieces are COSC-certified and have the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark. It is a limited edition of 100 pieces. Each costs €27,760, 28,180 Swiss francs. More information from the Chopard website.