The name is very symbolic. L.U.C. is a reference to Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the watchmaker who founded the brand in 1860; 1963 is the year in which Paul André Chopard sold the company to Karl Scheufele, transferring ownership from one private family to another. With all this history, it is not surprising that Chopard developed a design for this tourbillon watch incorporating a lot of traditional features. The black numerals painted onto the white enamel dial are based on a vintage Chopard pocket watch. The dial is made using the grand feu enamel technique, in which the metal is coated with powdered enamel and fired at 900°C, with successive layers being added to build up the thick layer of pigment that creates the characteristic intensely white finish. The dial is then polished to remove any imperfections, and a final transparent glaze is added, again by kiln-firing. It’s a lengthy procedure and even more difficult considering the complex cutouts for the tourbillon window.
Unusual dial features
The dial and the watch have some features that add to its character. The chemin-de-fer minutes scale is unusually inside the Roman hour numerals, and it cleverly arches up to become the power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. This is also unusual because the scale runs from 8 to 1, from left to right.
At the base of the dial, the tourbillon window is generously sized, but the bridge, secured only by two screws, is rather broad and obscures quite a lot of the tourbillon itself. There is a second hand with its own scale, and inside the window, you can glimpse some other wheels in addition to the tourbillon and its cage.
The in-house L.U.C. Calibre 02.19-L1 is a new version of the 02.01-L movement launched in 2010, 0.6 mm slimmer. It provides a nine-day (216 hours) power reserve by virtue of the four barrels. The movement is COSC-chronometer-certified. Its bridges are attractively in view through the sapphire caseback.
Case and strap
The rose gold case is 40 mm in diameter and 10.6 mm thick, making it ideal as a watch for special occasions, slipping easily under a shirt cuff. The case has an unusual rounded profile that is also a reference to historical pocket watch models. Water resistance rating is 50 metres. The crown is generously large at 7.5 mm. The watch has an alligator strap with rose gold pin buckle.
Reference and price
The Chopard L.U.C 1963 Tourbillon has reference number 161970-5001, and it is a limited edition of 100 pieces. Price: 115,000 Swiss francs / £83,490 / €107,870