The 2015 Chopard L.U.C 8HF Power Control (Ref. 168575-9001) features one of the best examples of the European industrial design. It 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, Chopard has presented a watch that sported 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 left in the dust even the well-known Zenith El Primero series of high-speed mechanisms.
For the season of 2015, the Swiss brand has released the gorgeous L.U.C 8HF Power Control collection. No, it is not the ultimate tool for a control freak. In fact, the only thing that makes the new model different from the 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 indicator further emphasizes the “off-centered” theme of the timekeeper. It successfully develops 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 color scheme. The black-and-red reminds me of the legendary Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird long-range reconnaissance aircraft: perhaps the only spy plane that was never intercepted by an adversary’s fighter jet or a surface-to-air missile.
The matte black body is machined out of a single block of some ceramic (the original 8HF was crafted from titanium.) The red ring on the bezel and the accents of the same color on all indicators are accented 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, in fact, barrel-shaped. The shape comes courtesy of the integrated lugs with their “squarish” profile that draws inspiration from the classic Lamborghini super-cars. While 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), I feel almost disappointed that only the escapement is visible through a single small cutout in the back, but the idea of accenting the unibody design with a small round aperture still speaks to me.
Almost prohibitively 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