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Chopard - L.U.C Full Strike, white gold

Chopard L.U.C Full Strike, white gold

Chopard’s first minute repeater watch is now available in white gold.

Winner of the Aiguille d’Or (Best in Show) prize at the 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the L.U.C. Full Strike is adopting a new grey colour. Its original construction, its case in “Fairmined” 18-carat white gold, the excellence of its Poinçon de Genève finishing, and above all its extraordinary sound, contribute to the exceptional nature of a watch in a league of its own. 

Chopard Manufacture has been working for more than six years on its most sophisticated chiming watch to date,   L.U.C Full Strike in “Fairmined” 18-carat rose gold, launched in 2016. This exceptional watch now appears in a new set of colours with a case in “Fairmined” non rhodium-plated 18-carat white gold, framing a silver-coloured dial. 

The L.U.C Full Strike is an exceptional watch that chimes the hours, quarters and minutes on transparent crystal gongs. These sapphire rings are an integral part of the watch glass, which creates a perfect loudspeaker faithfully to diffuse the chimes of the hammers striking the sapphire. This is a unique technical solution which is visible at 10 o’clock and results in a tone of matchless purity that is rich and full, powerful and resonant.

L.U.C Full Strike

L.U.C Full Strike, or gris © Chopard

Chopard’s watchmaking creativity

Almost 17,000 hours of development have been lavished on the development of calibre 08.01-L, which is subjected to three pending patents. Chopard has found all-new in-house responses to historical issues relating to the nature of the gongs, as well as to the operation and ergonomics of the striking system as a whole. In particular, this movement comprises a series of security systems that protect it from all the inappropriate handling operations that can damage minute repeaters. Its crown serves to wind the movement in one direction, and its striking mechanism in the other. The L.U.C Full Strike thus accumulates enough energy to strike 12:59 – the longest time in the minute repeater repertoire – 12 times. It is equipped with a double power-reserve indicator positioned at 2 o’clock indicating the striking-mechanism reserve and the movement’s autonomy. 

This impressive array of technical prowess goes discreetly unnoticed on the wrist, thanks to a thoroughly refined watch bearing the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark. Pressing the crown-integrated pusher causes it to chime the hours, quarters and minutes, to the delight of its owner and those around him.

Sapphire endowed with exceptional properties

Transparent sapphire crystal boasts amazing acoustical properties that Chopard has succeeded in leveraging: typical minute repeater gongs are made of steel or gold segments which vibrate when struck, producing their characteristic sound. The L.U.C Full Strike is unique in that it is equipped with sapphire gongs. Moreover, Chopard has opted to step things up a notch, since these gongs form part of a coherent set. 

The gongs and watch glass are in fact machined together from a single sapphire block. They thus form a single welding, glue and screw-free entity: a construction that is totally unique in watchmaking history and for which a patent has been filed.

The L.U.C Full Strike has its own unique sound signature. The sound it produces is not metallic, cold or abrupt, but instead full-bodied and truly crystal-clear. The gongs are tuned to two notes: C and F. Their chime lingers pleasingly, with a very low sound-deadening factor. 

Finally, the L.U.C Full Strike astonishes by the intensity of its chime. Throughout the 16 seconds that the watch takes to strike 12:59, it chimes in a uniform manner, a result that is extremely hard to achieve and in itself represents an important horological accomplishment.

Between notes

In music, silence is as important as the notes themselves. For a minute repeater, silence is equally important and Chopard has developed the L.U.C Full Strike with this in mind. The rotations of the strike governor re visible at 8 o’clock. While this part may sometimes emit a humming sound, that of calibre L.U.C 08.01-L is entirely inaudible. While components used for the striking mechanism sometimes make a clicking sound at the end of the tune, the L.U.C Full Strike does no such thing. Finally, it resolves one of the most disturbing problems faced by a minute repeater: the silence between the last hours stroke and the first quarters stroke, which may vary according to the specific quarter-hour to be struck.

The structure of calibre L.U.C 08.01-L enables it to skip these silences automatically. Its hours, quarters and minutes gear trains are superimposed and mutually drive each other. When one has completed its task, it automatically triggers the next, maintaining a constant cadence however many strokes are to be chimed subsequently.

L.U.C Full Strike

Calibre L.U.C 08.01-L © Chopard

The art of composition

Calibre 08.01-L is based on an exceptional construction. A traditional minute repeater is all about levels, with one layer measuring the time and another transforming this time into notes. The extremely thin new L.U.C calibre enables the L.U.C Full Strike to measures just 11.55 mm thick in all, a modest figure for a watch with an over 500-part movement. 

On one side of the calibre, the barrel and regulating organ form a timekeeping ensemble with a 60-hour power reserve certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Contrary to tradition, the minute repeater mechanism is placed on the dial side and is thus entirely visible.

An original power-reserve indication system

For wind instrument musicians, breath is the basic tool that must be mastered even before the instrument itself. In a minute repeater, endurance is also a decisive factor. The L.U.C Full Strike is equipped with two barrels. Both are equipped with a slipping spring, as used in self-winding movements, in order to ensure that winding operations are not impeded by an overwound spring, and thereby protecting them against any risk of snapping. One stores up the energy required for time measurement and the other for the minute repeater. The L.U.C Full Strike therefore does not draw the energy required for the chime from a winding lever such as is generally found on the caseband. The energy is instead stored in a dedicated barrel enabling the movement to chime “the longest time” (12:59) 12 times in a row. The barrels are recharged by means of a large-diameter 18-carat white gold crown coupled with a differential gear, which transmits the force imparted by the hand towards the appropriate barrel, according to the direction in which the crown is wound.

The L.U.C Full Strike is equipped with a special system for indicating the twin power reserves, composed of two coaxially fitted hands. The first rhodium-plated one indicates the movement power reserve, while the other blued one indicates the number of chimes that can be activated. The latter indication is not there for information purposes only, since it also serves as a basis for one of the many security systems protecting the watch.

Securing the movement

Chopard has equipped Calibre 08.01-L with three security devices protecting it from any handling mistakes. The striking mechanism power reserve is coupled with a semi-toothed wheel. When the reserve drops too low, it deactivates the minute repeater chime. Moreover, in order to maximise the striking mechanism power reserve, a patented device has been incorporated into the coupling-clutch of Calibre 08.01-L. During coupling and uncoupling, the regulator does not rotate, and only when everything is in its appointed place does the striking mechanism actually consume energy.

During the chime itself, the crown is disconnected from the movement, thereby making it impossible to perform any time-setting that could damage the movement.

Securing the sound

Chopard has created additional security devices guaranteeing the regularity of each sound indication. Information is picked up from the snails via the beaks on each rack, but the information is not directly transmitted via these racks as is traditionally the case, but instead via ratchet-wheels that activate gathering-pallets. This principle results in a gear ratio serving to increase security and thus ensure a regular tempo. This arrangement generally used for the hours has been extended to the quarters and minutes in this calibre.

Chopard has also resolved the issue of irregular sound intensity. To avoid the last strikes being too weak, the ratchet-wheels are coaxially arranged so as to ensure the hammers are smoothly and consistently raised and thus maintain their constant striking force on the gongs. Moreover, a flexible link between the hours and quarters ratchet-wheels guarantees a constant tempo between the last hours stroke chimed and the first quarters stroke.

With a total of seven security devices, the L.U.C Full Strike achieves a high degree of sophistication. The watch is preserved from risks of breakage. This omnipresent concern for durability and quality is the unmistakable signature of Chopard Manufacture.

L.U.C Full Strike

© Chopard

The aura of distinction radiated by L.U.C timepieces

Alongside its inherent horological richness, the L.U.C Full Strike is a supremely elegant watch. In keeping with the L.U.C watch design codes, it features a vertical satin-brushed caseband creating a striking contrast with the polished bezel and case-back. All the inscriptions on the latter are hand-engraved and the case is made from “Fairmined” 18-carat white gold. The white gold used is non rhodium-plated. Its glow is guaranteed by the strong presence of palladium in the alloy. Above all, this colour remains perfectly stable over the years.

Measuring 42.5 mm in diameter and 11.5 mm thick, this reasonably sized case is graced with beautifully balanced lines. Minute repeaters are generally fitted with a winding lever that supplies the necessary energy to the striking mechanism. The minute repeater of the L.U.C Full Strike is triggered by pressing a pusher coaxial with the crown. 

The watch is fitted with a double-sided, hand-sewn and plant-dyed CITES-certified alligator leather strap. 

The dial of the L.U.C Full Strike is significantly openworked and entirely made of solid gold, including the small seconds at 6 o’clock. Its railway-type minute track is engraved beneath the surface of the glass ensemble. Finally, this gold has been given a silver galvanic finishing treatment in order to match the grey shades of the case.

This close attention devoted to detail applies to the entire L.U.C Full Strike, since both its movement and its case bear the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark. 

All the components of Calibre 08.01-L are meticulously finished, be it with circular graining, straight graining or a Côtes de Genève motif. They are all meticulously hand-chamfered. The mainplate and bridges are made from nickel silver, a noble metal that can tolerate no scratches or workmanship errors.  This material is non-treated and appears in all its subtly golden grey beauty through the sapphire case-back of the L.U.C Full Strike.

The brand

Maison Chopard epitomises the alliance between watchmaking and jewellery. It has always known how to meet the expectations of its day, relying on four essential values: expertise, tradition, innovation and commitment to philanthropy, whilst working hard to pass on knowhow and skills to future generations.

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