The Chopard L.U.C 8HF Power Control (Ref. 168575-9001) not only features one of the best examples of the European industrial design, but also offers an unusual high-beating movement that, while being twice as fast as your average caliber, also manages to work for as long as 60 hours: a remarkable achievement in this extremely rarely populated class.
A couple of years ago, the Swiss watchmaker has presented a watch that was powered by a revolutionary (well, sort of) movement. Beating at 57,600 vibrations per hour (twice that of a typical contemporary mechanical caliber), the then-new Caliber L.U.C 01.06-L that powered the original Chopard L.U.C 8HF easily left in the dust even the well-known Zenith El Primero series of high-speed, high-speed mechanisms.
For the new season, the brand has recently released its new Chopard L.U.C 8HF Power Control model. No, it is not an ultimate tool watch for a control freak. In fact, the only thing that makes the new model different from 2012 original is the power reserve indicator.
Placed at 10 o’clock (those wearing shirts with long sleeves may find the design a bit inconvenient), the mechanism further emphasizes the “off-centered” theme of the timekeeper successfully developing the idea first put forth with the small seconds indicator, which is located at 7 hours, as well as with the unusual date aperture with the only clearly visible numeral staying between 5 and 6 o’clock.
It is purely subjective, but I like the chosen black-and-red color scheme: it kind of reminds me of the legendary Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird long-range reconnaissance aircraft: perhaps the only spy plane that was never intercepted by adversary’s fighter jet or surface-to-air missile.
The matte black body machined out of a single block of some ceramic (the original 8HF was crafted from titanium), the red ring on the bezel and accents of the same color on all indicators are accentuated by white lume on the hands and arrow-shaped hour markers, as well as by black sunburst dial that achieves extra depth thanks to the chosen texture.
Although the 42 mm case looks circular when you look at it from the front, it is fact barrel-shaped thanks to the integrated lugs with their “squarish” profile that is inspired by classic Lamborghini super-cars. As the new Caliber 01.09-L that powers this beautiful timepiece looks nice (well, not just nice: its decor is congruent to the overall styling of the watch), I feel almost disappointed that only the escapement is clearly visible through a single small cutout in the back, but the idea of accentuating the case’s unibody design with a small round aperture still speaks to me.
Quite expensive with all of its high-tech features, it was inevitable that the Chopard L.U.C 8HF Power Control would be issued only as a limited edition model. However, given its price, I am almost sure that every serious customer ready to pay a small fortune for this gadget will have no problem finding one of these beauties.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Chopard L.U.C 8HF Power Control (Ref. 168575-9001) specification
Price: $20,800 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, L.U.C Caliber 01.09-L, COSC-certified chronometer, silicon impulse-pin, lever, and escape wheel, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 24
Movement frequency: 57,600 vph
Power reserve: 60 hours
Movement decoration: Cotes de Geneve motif, skeletonized oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, power reserve indicator
Case: Stainless Black ceramic
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 11.20 mm
Dial: Black sunburst
Hour markers: White
Hands: Black, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Hand-sewn matt black alligator leather strap with a cognac-toned alligator lining, fitted with a titanium pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Solid ceramic with sapphire cutout over the balance wheel