First presented (as a preproduction prototype, as far as I understand) early this year in Basel, Switzerland during the annual Baselworld 2011 trade show, the new Chopard L.U.C. 3C Tourbillon (Ref. 161929-5001) hand-wound wrist watch is the world’s first and only timepiece that sports not one, not two, but whole three certificates of excellence from the most reputable authorities in the watchmaking business.
Besides the more or less usual chronometer certificate from COSC and the famous Geneva Seal, the beautiful watch also bears a not so well-known logo of the Fleurier Quality Foundation (FQF.)
In two words, guys at FQF not simply test the movement for isochronism, like COSC, or certify that it was produced in Geneva, Switzerland, like the Geneva Watchmaking School, but thoroughly examine the watch as whole, including numerous stress tests that simulate all the abuse that a timekeeper may be subjected to if worn by a reckless (or simply awkward) owner.
The point here is that a lot of serious watchmaking brands are afraid of submitting their products for the test, since it takes a very, very high level of both design and build quality to let the watch get the certificate.
No wonder they decided to limit the total production run of the piece to just 100 examples.
Unveiled together with the facelifted version of the beautiful Chopard L.U.C. Quattro (Ref. 161926-5001), the new watch features similar technical specs.
Although the models are powered by different movements, they share the same basic design, so the new Chopard L.U.C. 3C Tourbillon, too, features a double-barrel design with four mainsprings guaranteeing at 216 hours (that’s nine days!) of continuing power supply.
As the L.U.C. Quattro, the 3C Tourbillon is offered in a rather large rose gold body 43 millimeters in diameter. However, thanks to the tourbillon module that seems to have added a couple of millimeters of thickness to the mechanism, the case of the watch has also become a trifle thicker measuring a little more than 11 millimeters in height.
As usual for Chopard, the timekeeper offers an almost unrivalled level of legibility in any lighting condition, since its hour and minute hands look very contrast on the silver-grained background of the dial during the daytime and glow quite brightly in darkness thanks to thin strips of Superluminova.
Chopard L.U.C. 3C Tourbillon (Ref. 161929-5001) manual-wind watch specification
Price: $145,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Manual (hand-wound,) caliber L.U.C 02.13-L (L.U.C 1.02QF), in-house, 27.70 mm x 6.10 mm, COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 33
Movement frequency: 28,000 vph
Movement decoration: Diagonal Geneva Stripes pattern on bridges and plates, Geneva Seal and FQF logo on the tourbillon bridge
Functions: Hours, minutes, tourbillon, power reserve
Power reserve: 216 hours (9 days)
Case material: Rose gold
Bezel material: Rose gold
Crown material: Rose gold
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 11.15 mm
Lug width: No data
Numerals: Roman, applied
Hour markers: Railway-style chapter ring
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather strap with 18-carat rose gold buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire