Chopard was founded back in 1860 as an independent Manufacture. Now, the brand works under the umbrella of the Fleurier Quality Foundation (a joint project of Chopard, Parmigiani Fleurier, and Bovet Fleurier) and has access to the most advanced machinery and manufacturing processes. In 2009, it has presented the gorgeous L.U.C Lunar Big Date automatic chronometer with a brilliantly executed moon-phase display.
I’m beginning to fall in love with the brand. Really. As of late, the Swiss-based brand keeps churning out marvelous timekeepers at a rate that can put to shame even such juggernauts as the Federal Reserve System, which is good at printing dollar bills.
Can’t say that I was particularly fond of their Happy Sport or the Mille Miglia collections (however, I might admit that, when it comes to exterior design, they are great, no doubts about that), but heir latest lot of models from the premium-priced L.U.C. collection that features manufacture-made movements just makes me want to buy one of those ticking beauties.
The L.U.C Lunar Big Date is a full-fledged COSC-certified chronometer, which means that the timekeeper was tested by the respected COSC (Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres, an authority that tests an enormous amount of mechanisms of the same origin every year) over several days, in varying temperatures and in different positions (both variables tend to noticeably affect the accuracy of a mechanical watch and a watchmaker has to employ high-quality components that help to minimize the effects of gravity and thermal fluctuations.)
The dial can also present an actual lunar cycle. The lunar month is said to be equivalent to 29.53059 days, or 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds, or 2,551,442.98 seconds.
To present this cycle with the highest precision, the watchmaker has equipped its in-house L.U.C. Calibre 96 LD with an extremely precise moon phase complication, in which the moon-bearing disc sports 135 teeth.
Well, it may sound not so impressive, but it also implies that one of your many great-grandchildren will have to correct the moon-phase calendar by just one day in 122 after you buy the timepiece! Sounds accurate enough to me.
Cased inside a fairly large (for a dress watch) 18-karat rose gold body whole 42 mm in diameter, the Calibre 96 LD‘s main feature is a pair of stacked co-axial mainspring barrels providing for a generous power reserve of 65 hours.
Chopard doesn’t say anything about the unit’s price, but I’m afraid it won’t be cheap*.
*UPDATE ON PRICE: The brand decided to set the MSRP at hefty $30,000. Well, all things considered, the watch does deserve such an impressive price tag.
Chopard L.U.C Lunar Big Date specification
Price: $30,000 (Retail)
Movement: L.U.C. Calibre 96 LD, automatic, COSC-certified, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, big date, moon phase
Power reserve: 65 hours
Case: 18-karat rose gold
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 10.90 mm
Dial: Silvered, with a guilloche pattern
Hands: Rose gold, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous dots
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-sewn alligator leather strap, available in brown or black, folding clasp in 18-karat rose gold
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated