The new Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon Esprit de Fleurier (Ref. 161911-1001) hand-wound watch looks like it is based on the gorgeous L.U.C. Tourbillon Tech Steel Wings model that was revealed about two years ago. It is nice to note that the Swiss watchmaker has somehow managed to squeeze a nicely decorated hand-wound movement that offers whole 9 days of power reserve into a relatively compact white gold body of only 40.5 mm diameter.
The new watch is powered by an in-house L.U.C 4TT3NGM hand-wound movement.
Based on L.U.C “Quattro” technology and featuring four-barrel design, this caliber comes with two sets of two coaxially stacked barrels that operate in series to ensure ideal isochronism and energy transmission to the movement.
Together, these energy storage facilities can provide the movement with up to 216 hours (9 days) of uninterrupted operation.
The movement is also equipped with the Variner (Variable Inertia) free-sprung balance with variable inertia weights — the kind of technology, which is usually employed in very sophisticated watches and so far mastered only by a handful of true manufactures, like Rolex with its Microstella system and Patek Philippe (Gyromax.)
Introduced seven or eight years ago, the Variner was first featured on the 8-day tourbillon Calibre 1.02, which is based on the four-barrel 9-day Calibre 1.98 introduced in 2001.
The movement is packed into a mid-sized, undistinguished but elegant 18-carat white gold case 40.50 mm in diameter and 10.90 mm thick.
As you can see on the photos, bridges of the movement are made of solid 18-carat gold, are engraved in the traditional Fleurier style, and can be visible both through a sapphire-covered transparent case back and through a partly skeletonized dial.
Like it is often the case with high-end watches that are bound to spend 99 percent of their life in a well-guarded safe, legibility here is sacrificed for the sake of beauty (try, for example to find the power reserve indicator in less than 5 seconds while driving your Lamborghini Aventador during the rush hour!) However, something tells me that, judging this wristwatch by its readability, I would be wide off the mark: this beautiful piece of jewelry was not designed to tell time. Or, rather, telling time is not its primary feature: like all object of art, it was designed to be admired! The best use for it (and, once again, this is my personal opinion, I am not here to talk you into buying this one) from my point of view is to take it off your wrist, turn on soft light, dive into a comfortable chair and admire this timekeeper literally for hours while discovering layer after layer of its beauty.
Featuring lots of gold, a tourbillon complication and, probably, frightening amounts of high-skilled labor, the watch will surely be very expensive, so the Swiss manufacture from Fleurier decided to limit the model’s production to only 15 pieces. Also, while the watch is clearly wearable, it seems to be offered primarily as a collector’s item and is supposed to spend more time in a safe rather on its owner’s wrist.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
See also: Chopard L.U.C Lunar Big Date chronometer
Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon Esprit de Fleurier Limited Edition (Ref. 161911-1001) watch specification
Price: Listed by manufacturer as “On request”
Movement: L.U.C 4TT3NGM, diameter 29.70 mm, height: 5.50 mm, hand-wound, four barrels, 33 jewels, 28,800 vph, in-house, Variner balance, balance-spring with Phillips terminal curve, COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, tourbillon, power reserve
Power reserve: 216 hours (9 days)
Case material: 18-carat white gold
Bezel material: 18-carat white gold
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 40.50 mm
Lug width: 18 mm
Case height: 10.90 mm
Dial: White gold, skeletonized
Hands: Steel, blued
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched black alligator leather with platinum buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, scratch-proofed, cambered and glare-proofed
Case back: Sapphire