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Chopard - Saga

Chopard Saga

At twenty-five, Chopard Manufacture reaches the age of maturity

Chopard has spent the last 25 years developing the full range of watchmaking complications and techniques. Today, Chopard Manufacture is a paragon of total versatility and competence.

Very few brands can boast of mastering the entire repertoire of horological complications and those in that position are often venerable firms that have built up these skills over more than a hundred years. For Chopard, the process took just 25. In 1996, the firm that the Scheufele family had acquired in 1963 was still not producing any movements. Its Co-President, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, had decided several years earlier that it was unthinkable to be so dependent on suppliers, nor that such a watchmaking name should be devoid of the core competencies of the trade. He therefore set about building a Manufacture from scratch. He established a workshop in Fleurier that has continued to grow and mature, introducing its first work in 1997. Under the name L.U.C – standing for Louis-Ulysse Chopard, who founded the brand in 1860 – the Maison, better known for its jewelry and sports watches, took its place in traditional watchmaking with its L.U.C. 1860 and the 96.01 caliber powering it.

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L.U.C Flying T Twin © Chopard

Avant-Garde

In 1996, however, prestige mechanical watchmaking had not yet made a comeback and was still in limbo. Most brands had definitely not reached the stage of launching a classic, ultra-thin, elegant timepiece with a micro-rotor caliber and a 65-hour power reserve. Chopard did that just however, clearly defining the style that the L.U.C. collection would feature from then on. Several years ahead of the rest of the industry, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele gambled on complication, industrialization and, above all, autonomy. Over the ensuing 25 years, the Manufacture would equip itself with all the existing complications by developing them in-house. At the same time, the brand invented an aesthetic language all its own featuring a consummate sense of elegance and detail, the use of enamel, miniature painting, guilloché, high-quality finishes, nickel silver instead of simple brass, as well as the pioneering integration of ethically sourced gold. Not to mention the almost systematic chronometer certification, along with the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark for a number of very high-end timepieces. All this reflected the desire for quality and perfection in every respect, which is Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s profound ambition. Chopard Manufacture is his project, L.U.C is his baby, Fleurier is its cradle and 2021 was its 25th anniversary. Thwarted by the vagaries of epidemics, its celebration was postponed to 2022, but it is definitely making some noise. 

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Gautier Capuçon - Karl-Friedrich Scheufele - Renaud Capuçon © Chopard

Trio for an anniversary recital

With its three limited-series chiming models, the Sound of Eternity trilogy embodies the pinnacle of Chopard Manufacture’s expertise. The L.U.C. collection pushes all the boundaries of its watchmaking field.

Chopard Manufacture’s 25th anniversary celebrations were intended to be a festival accompanied by all due fanfare. Chopard has taken this quite literally by creating three limited edition watches, three acoustic timepieces following in the wake of its L.U.C Full Strike minute repeater. Sound of Eternity is also a powerful message regarding Chopard Manufacture’s capacities for innovation, design, production, as well as its high standards. These anniversary creations have indeed been treated to a degree of refinement extending well beyond watchmaking itself. During their development, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard Co-President and head of its watchmaking activities, approached Renaud and Gautier Capuçon. As a music lover, he was acquainted with the two classical music stars, respectively virtuosos of the violin and cello who also have a certain affinity for watchmaking. Together, they worked on the sound design of the three new Sound of Eternity timepieces, assisted by Professor Romain Boulandet, head of the Applied Acoustics Laboratory at the Geneva engineering school HEPIA, who provided his quantitative and scientific expertise. The harmonious interaction between a demanding watch creator who wants his minute repeaters to be the best in the world, two artists whose whole being is music and a researcher who lives in the world of sound waves, gave rise to a musical score for three musical and timekeeping instruments. 

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L.U.C © Chopard

Posterity

Chopard has capitalized on the technical innovation of the L.U.C Full Strike to create a family. Its first member embodies the extension of the sapphire crystal/gong concept to its ultimate conclusion. L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire is the first minute repeater watch with a case entirely in transparent sapphire. Bezel, case-back, caseband, lugs, crystal, rear crystal, gongs, dial: everything is made of corundum crystal and without any metallic structure. This ensures total material coherence between all the components involved in the sound and hence its quality. In addition, L.U.C developed an even more complicated version of the L.U.C 08.01-L caliber. The L.U.C Full Strike Tourbillon fits a tourbillon regulator into the hyper-complex and densely structured architecture of the original movement. Housed in an ethical gold case framing a solid gold guilloché dial, this piece takes its place at the pinnacle of Chopard complications. In addition, the first Chopard chiming watch appeared in 2006. The L.U.C Strike One did not tell the time by chiming on demand like a minute repeater, but instead chimed once at each passing hour. Developed entirely inhouse by Chopard Manufacture, this chime in passing was a foretaste of the brand’s musical ambitions. Chopard is launching a new version of Strike One, incorporating a sapphire crystal/gong system, but this time with a single gong. 

Sound of Eternity conveys a powerful message: that of Chopard Manufacture’s capacities in terms of innovation, design and production.

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Calibre L.U.C 08.02 L © Chopard

Disruptive

In 2016, Chopard had taken a giant leap forward in the realm of chiming watches. With the creation of Full Strike, the L.U.C collection had orchestrated a complete technical paradigm shift for the minute repeater. After years of research and development, the Fleurier-based Manufacture had invented a new resonance system. In Full Strike, the two gongs creating the sound of the minute repeater and the crystal are a single component, entirely made of sapphire. A cylindrical block of material is patiently cut to form a lens extending into two dramatic, coiled appendages. When the movement’s hammers strike the gongs, it is not just the sapphire stem that vibrates, as the sound is propagated with formidable efficiency through the crystal. This thin, wide and rigid membrane possesses all the attributes sought after in optimizing sound diffusion, whether for the body of a musical instrument or a loudspeaker. 

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L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire © Chopard

Unique

Corundum crystal, the technical name for sapphire, boasts exceptional acoustic properties. First of all, it is very resistant. The movement’s hammers can strike it without wearing it out or breaking it. This integrity endures, giving all watches equipped with it an unalterable sound personality. Moreover, sapphire emits a pleasing sound, meaning that Full Strike chimes loud and long, with a rich acoustic profile and a crystal-clear personality. Finally, L.U.C Caliber 08.01-L has been endowed with numerous mechanical subtleties. The most striking is that it avoids any pauses, which is a very rare feature. If the time is 10:14 am, the watch will chime ten strokes for the hours and will follow with 14 for the minutes, without any silent time where the quarters could have been chimed. Chiming is activated by a crown-integrated pusher, creating a more pleasing aesthetic appearance; and since the strikework has its own barrel, one press is enough to play the longest chime – i.e. 12:59 – up to 12 times. On practical, aesthetic, technical and acoustic levels, Chopard has clearly thought of everything. 

In 2016, Chopard had taken a giant leap forward in the realm of chiming watches. L.U.C Full Strike represented a complete technical paradigm shift for the minute repeater.

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L.U.C Strike One © Chopard

L.U.C Strike One

Case: Ethical 18ct rose gold, sapphire crystal and case-back
Dimensions: 40mm in diameter, 9.86mm thick
Movement: mechanical with automatic winding via a 22ct gold micro-rotor, L.U.C Caliber 96.32-L, 4Hz, 5.6mm thick, 65-hour power reserve, small seconds, “chime/silence” indicator, chime in passing on a sapphire gong
Dial: ethical 18ct rose gold, ruthenium gray, hand-guilloché central medallion with honeycomb motif, snailed chapter ring, applied gilded herringbone-type hour-markers, gilded Dauphine fusée-type hands
Strap: hand-sewn gray alligator leather, alligator lining, pin buckle in ethical 18ct rose gold
Poinçon de Genève limited series of 25 

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L.U.C Full Strike Tourbillon © Chopard

L.U.C Full Strike Tourbillon

Case: Ethical 18ct rose gold, sapphire crystal and case-back
Dimensions: 42.5mm in diameter, 12.58mm thick
Movement: mechanical manual-winding, L.U.C Caliber 08.02-L, chronometer-certified by the COSC, nickel silver mainplate and bridges, 4Hz, 8.9mm thick, 50-hour power reserve, hours, minutes, small seconds, concentric display of the watch and strikework power reserves, tourbillon under a sapphire bridge, minute repeater chiming on sapphire gongs
Dial: ethical 18ct rose gold, ruthenium gray, hand-guilloché chapter ring, gilded applied hour-markers, gilded Dauphine fusée-type hands, railway-type minutes track engraved beneath the sapphire crystal
Strap: hand-sewn gray alligator leather, alligator lining, pin buckle in ethical 18ct rose gold
Poinçon de Genève limited series of 20 

 

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Calibre L.U.C 08.01 L © Chopard

L.U.C Caliber 08.02-L

Functions: Central display fo the hours ad minutes. Minute repeater striking sapphire gongs (Chopard-patented system). Tourbillon with small seconds at 6 o’clock under a sapphire bridge. Concentric power-reserve and strikework reserve indicators at 2 o’clock. Stop-seconds device.
WINDING: manual
Total Diameter: 37.20mm (14 ½ lignes)
Total Thickness: 8.9mm
Number of Jewels: 91
Nombre de components: 568
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Frequency: 4Hz (28,800 vph)
Materials: Mainplate and bridges in untreated nickel silver
Finishes: Bridges adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, circular-grained and chamfered mainplate and bridges, mirror-polished regulator and hammers, chamfered and satin-brushed tourbillon carriage
security features: Chopard-patented clutch-lever device serving to block the strikework to avoid losing power reserve during information capture. Chopard-patented ratchet-driving mechanism to avoid pauses during chiming. Strikework-activation device serving to disengage the pusher during chiming (patent pending).

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L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire © Chopard

L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire

Case: Ethical 18ct rose gold, sapphire crystal and case-back
Dimensions: 42.5mm in diameter, 11.55mm thick
Movement: mechanical manual-winding, L.U.C Caliber 08.01-L, chronometer-certified by the COSC, nickel silver mainplate and bridges, 4Hz, 7.97mm thick, 60-hour power reserve, hours, minutes, small seconds, concentric power-reserve and strikework indicators, minute repeater chiming on sapphire gongs
Dial: openworked, in sapphire, applied white gold logo plate, satin-brushed chapter ring, applied rhodium-plated herringbone-type hour-markers, rhodium-plated Dauphine fusée- type hands, railway-type minutes track engraved under the sapphire crystal
Strap: hand-sewn gray alligator leather, alligator lining, pin buckle in ethical 18ct rose gold
Poinçon de Genève limited series of 5 

 

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Focus on Watchmaking Fairs 2022

GMT Magazine n° 76 © GMT Magazine

 

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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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