It is a well-acknowledged fact that the minute repeater is among the most difficult complications to produce, requiring impeccable technical expertise. So when Swiss watchmaker Chopard released its very first minute repeating watch late last year, the L.U.C Full Strike, the horological community understandably took note. For one, the piece featured gongs that were machined from solid synthetic sapphire (instead of the more typical hardened steel), giving it a beautifully clear acoustic quality.
Naturally, all eyes continued to be trained on the manufacture as it rolled out its novelties for 2017 at Baselworld in March — and it didn’t disappoint. Headlining the lot was, of course, the acclaimed L.U.C collection. Inspired by and named after the brand’s founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the range is known for its highly technical timepieces that showcase the manufacture’s savoir faire. First launched in 2005 featuring the brand’s very first perpetual calendar, the L.U.C Lunar One has been updated with a contemporary aesthetic. The watch is presented in a 950 platinum case and displays a new deep blue sunray pattern on its dial, radiating from the logo positioned at 12 o’clock. Its perpetual calendar indications are highlighted by bevelled rims, with fonts in white for better readability. Powered by the calibre 96.13-L, the timepiece features a moon phase indicator so highly precise that it will take 122 years to accumulate a one-day time lag. Only 100 units will be released.
Also joining the L.U.C ranks is the Perpetual Chrono, which is presented in platinum too. Introduced in 2016 (in Fairmined 18k white gold) as the manufacture’s very first all in-house perpetual calendar chronograph, the ticker is fitted with the L.U.C calibre 03.10-L, which is built around a column wheel that controls all chronograph operations, including its flyback function. Displayed on the galvanic blue sunburst satin-brushed and hand-guilloché patterned dial are indications for the day, month and cycle of standard and leap years, day and night, and orbital moon phase (which deviates only by a day once every 122 years). This exclusive timepiece will be available in just 20 units.
The L.U.C XP family, which is known for its ultra-thin sensibilities, also welcomed new members. This includes a L.U.C XP model with a satin-brushed silver-toned dial and large blued numerals. It runs on the calibre 96.53-L that features a tungsten micro-rotor and Chopard’s proprietary dual-barrel Twin technology (comprising two stacked barrels), guaranteeing a power reserve of at least 58 hours.
Also introduced is the L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony, crafted with women in mind. This eight-piece-only edition proudly showcases the intricate traditional fleurisanne engraving against a white gold dial. As its name implies, the peony motif is used throughout, and accented with diamonds for extra radiance.
Look out also for the L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer — it features the first officer-style case in the L.U.C XPS 1860 line-up. While both the dial and case back of the watch showcase a refined hand-guilloché pattern, its back cover opens to reveal the ultra-thin L.U.C 96.01-L movement within. This comes in a limited series of 100 pieces.
In line with its continued focus on sustainability, Chopard also turned out the L.U.C XPS Twist QF Fairmined. It is distinguished by a slate grey dial endowed with a sunburst texture within the Fairmined 18k rose gold case. This 250-pieces-only watch is paired with an alligator strap that is hand-sewn and dyed with plant-based pigments.
In celebration of the Mille Miglia car rally’s 90th anniversary, the Swiss watchmaker also added several timepieces to its quintessential racing collection. This is headlined by the 90-piece Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary Limited Edition. A tribute to the iconic open-road endurance competition, it recalls the svelte curves and accents of notable race cars like the Ferrari 250 GTO and Alfa Romeo 6C, and features a slick rose gold case with piston-inspired chronograph pushers. Displayed against a white dial are Arabic numerals and snailed counters that reference vintage dashboards, and a tachymeter scale. Nestled within its chassis is a L.U.C chronograph calibre 03.07-L hand-wound flyback chronograph that bears the collection’s very first Poinçon de Genève certification.
Don’t miss the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph, with aesthetic tweaks to the XL version from 2016. Inspired by the cars that took part in the Mille Miglia from 1927-1940, this comes in a men’s version (42mm, downsized from the previous 46mm), with a black or silver dial and large luminescent numerals, as well as a women’s one (39mm), with a silver or white mother-of-pearl face accented with diamonds.
For this year’s race, Chopard has issued the Mille Miglia 2017 Race Edition in a series of 1,000 pieces. The brand, after all, has been Official Timekeeper since 1988. Borrowing design cues from the sport, the chronograph showcases sleek curves paired with an engine-turned dial, with counters inspired by vintage dashboards. It also comes with pushers fashioned like car engines, and a large fluted crown that recalls a fuel tank cap.