The stately Chopard L.U.C Lunar Big Date, one of the most striking models in the Swiss watchmaker’s whole collection, has recently been slightly face-lifted. Although the wristwatch doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking in terms of exterior finish or movement design, it now looks a lot more up-to-date and, well, relevant to current design trends. Still a tiny bit too big for a modern dress watch, the new accessory nevertheless delivers you an extremely well-balanced combination of functionality and ease of use.
First revealed more than five years ago as a member of their even more exclusive “L.U.C” family, the original Chopard Lunar Big Date clearly was in need of a redesign. It was not just that the original design has become dated (it hasn’t), it is the fact that the family itself has evolved and its older member just didn’t fit in with its clearly different styling.
If you compare the two watches, you will immediately notice that the Arabic numerals of the original were replaced with Roman digits. While still as bold (a bit too bold to my taste), they seem to look a bit more elegant better matching the overall styling of the gadget that seems to have been influenced by the same art-deco heritage as the original. They are now accompanied by a railway-style minute track that makes measuring short time intervals a bit easier.
The hands, too, changed their shape in order to better match styling of other currently available L.U.C timepieces, as did the moon disk and the small seconds indicator. While the latter on the 2009 year model was a bit more interesting to look at with its two 30-seconds scales one atop of the other, the new one seems to be a bit more legible. It also better balances the feel of the dial serving as a counterweight to the moonphase indicator that visually dominates the timekeeper’s face.
However, the gorgeous Caliber 96-actually, the main part of the 2009 Lunar Big Date that gave the trinket its gorgeous appearance- seems to be still in place. Slightly modified to accommodate changes to the interface and thus renamed as Caliber 96.20-L, the mechanism still sports that same highly accurate moon phase complication that, thanks to its 135 teeth moon-bearing disk, is capable of correctly displaying current phase of our planet’s natural satellite for a lot more than a whole century! It is only after 122 years of continuous operation that a grandchild of yours would have to take the watch off his wrist to press that moonphase corrector button located at 4 hours (there is, by the way of speaking, yet another corrector between one and two o’clock that makes it easier to set the big date display at 12 hours).
Of course, these days, when you can have all the necessary astronomical information displayed on a high-res screen of just about any digital device, the complication serves a purely decorative purpose, but it is still a very pleasant thing to have in a mechanical watch of this caliber.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Chopard L.U.C Lunar Big Date Redesigned (Ref. 161969-1001) watch specification
Price: CHF 31,700 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber 96.20-L, two stacked co-axial barrels, COSC-certified chronometer, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 33
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 65 hours
Movement decoration: “Cotes de Geneve” pattern
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, big date, moonphase
Case material: 18-carat white gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 11.04 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Silver-toned, sunburst
Numerals: Roman, white gold
Hour markers: Three-dimensional railway-track
Hands: White gold, luminous
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Hand-sewn black alligator leather strap on a white gold pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire