The L.U.C Perpetual Chrono by Chopard combines two complications, flyback chronograph and perpetual calendar. Its looks are dominated by the orbital moon phase display with its blue background, contrasting with the dark grey ruthenium-plated dial. The continuous seconds hand is on the moon phase subdial. The two subdials above are nicely organized to show two sets of information, chronograph readings and calendar. The chronograph scales have red numerals, and the corresponding hands are red-tipped, showing 30 chronograph minutes on the right, and 12 chronograph hours on the left.
The perpetual calendar follows a pattern similar to the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Twin with the year indicator in the form of a small subdial extending out from the subdial at 3 o’clock. The other subdial also has this extra bulge, this time for a day/night indicator. It’s a very compact system, but I can’t help feeling that the two tiny subdials remind me of Mickey Mouse ears. They also make reading chronograph times more difficult, because the scales bulge away from the respective hands at those points. The same sort of compromise can be seen on the chronograph seconds scale at the edge of the dial, on which parts of the scale are interrupted by lettering, above all at the bottom with the words “L.U.C” and “SWISS”.
But overall, the impression generated by the dial is one of quality, with a very three-dimensional effect provided by the different levels of the subdials with the raised chronograph tracks and recessed moon phase, the guilloché radiating outwards from the big date display, and the ever-changing patterns of light and reflections that are one of the hallmarks of a fine watch.
The case is in white gold, fairly large at 45 mm diameter, 15.06 mm thickness. The gold is Fairmined, meaning that its provenance is traced back to source, and that its production has not damaged the environment or the people involved in mining. Water resistance is the standard 30 metres. The case has contrasting finish, polished bezel and caseback, vertical brushed caseband, and satin-brushed pushers with polished bevels. There are recessed pushers on the caseband for adjusting the calendar and moonphase.
The hand-wound movement was designed and built in-house. It runs at 4 Hertz (28,800 vibrations per hour), and offers a power reserve of 60 hours. The view through the caseback reveals the crown wheel that controls the chronograph functions, including the flyback capability. The part of the movement controlling the perpetual calendar is on the dial side and so is not visible through the caseback. The moon phase is accurate to one day’s deviation in 122 years. The movement is certified both by the Chronometer Testing Institute COSC and by the Geneva Seal.
With this watch, Chopard joins the other few manufacturers capable of building prestige complication watches, such as A. Lange & Söhne, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet. Its principal characteristics – column wheel control with vertical clutch, perpetual calendar with big date – are accompanied by superb movement finish. Chopard adds an extra component, hints of the sports heritage that is such an important part of its identity. It looks more modern than the watches by its distinguished counterparts.
Price and reference
The Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono offers an additional plus with respect to the competitors mentioned above, a distinctly lower price. The reference in white gold, 161973-1001, costs €83,730, 85,000 Swiss francs, US$85,000. It is a limited edition of 20 pieces, and it is also available in rose gold, reference 161973-5001, same price.