The L.U.C Perpetual Chrono by Chopard is a watch that the brand already had in its range, with versions in white and pink gold with dark grey dial released last year. For 2017, a new limited edition in platinum has been presented, with an on-trend blue dial. Why is blue so popular? It has dominated watches, but also fashion, for several seasons now. In Pantone’s top ten colours for spring/summer 2017, there were three shades of blue, and it has become almost de rigueur for men’s fashion. Blue is the colour that has replaced black and grey for modern gentlemen’s suits. And so watch companies are making timepieces that fit the trend. In the case of Chopard, there is something of a brand heritage: blue is the colour that it uses for its limited-edition watches in platinum. The L.U.C Perpetual Chrono has a dial in in solid gold, and it is given a deep blue tint by means of a galvanic process.
For a brand, to have the ability to design and build the movement for a complication watch such as a perpetual calendar and chronograph sets it apart from most. It also means that they can start from scratch and design the dial exactly as they want it. Chopard’s L.U.C Perpetual Chrono has a unique design that gives it a lot of character. It’s normal that in this sort of complication, different functions have to be displayed on the same subdial, but Chopard have taken their own route. So the left-hand subdial shows chronograph hours and days of the week, but a small projection provides space for a small day/night indicator. The scales of the first two functions curl around to frame the tiny sub-subdial. The same thing happens on the right-hand subdial, in which the scales for chronograph minutes and months frame the leap year indicator. This doesn’t help legibility – above all on the chronograph minutes where the markings on the scale from 3 to 6 minutes are distanced from the red-tipped hand – but it is a compact and balanced composition. If you believe in the “form follows function” approach to watch design, you will also take issue with the quarter-second scale at the edge of the dial, which is interrupted by numerals at three positions, and by the lettering “L.U.C Swiss” at the bottom. The blue guilloché radiating from the big date display is an attractive touch, but I can’t help wondering whether any watch designer has ever thought of using the guilloché to reinforce the fractional seconds scale, in other words 240 rays (60 secs x 4 quarter-seconds), which in this case would have to project from the centre pivot.
The chronograph minutes hand is jumping, which makes it easier to take a time reading. The chronograph hour hand is continuous.
Orbital moon phase
The moon phase display at 6 o’clock is combined with continuous seconds. Chopard have created a different display with respect to the usual “bosom” display, with the circular moon phase window that itself rotates, along with the background of stars and northern hemisphere constellations, making one complete rotation in a lunar month, 29.5 days. The moon phase is accurate to one day’s deviation in 122 years.
The movement is based on a column-wheel chronograph calibre with vertical clutch, and it provides the flyback function. It is built with mainplate and bridges in nickel silver, harder than brass, and naturally anti-oxidant because it develops a darkish patina. The movement is chronometer-certified by COSC, while the entire watch has Poinçon de Genève certification. It is hand-wound, with 452 components, 42 jewels, and a balance rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hertz.
The platinum case is 45 mm in diameter and 15.06 mm thick, polished on bezel, lugs and caseback, and with vertical brushed finish on the caseband. Water resistance is the standard 3 atm. Pushers and crown are in white gold. The strap is in hand-sewn large square-scaled alligator leather, with a lining in chestnut brown small square-scaled alligator leather.
L.U.C Perpetual Chrono price and reference
The L.U.C Perpetual Chrono by Chopard, reference 161973-9001, is not a cheap watch. It is a 20-piece limited edition, and each piece costs €101,710, 103,250 Swiss francs. More information from the Chopard website.