Chopard will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the opening of its Fleurier and Geneva watch manufactures next year and to mark the big occasion it is already releasing two outstanding versions of its most notable complications: a L.U.C Flying T Twin tourbillon with blue guilloché dial and a L.U.C Full Strike minute repeater in platinum.
At a mere 7.2 mm-thick, the L.U.C Flying T Twin flying tourbillon is a prime example of ultra-slim watchmaking, a hot horological category in recent years. Yet slimness for its own sake was not necessarily the intention. “The Flying T Twin is one of the thinnest tourbillons on the market, but that wasn’t the goal,” says Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. “The aim was to produce the most elegant tourbillon on the market.”
Design-wise, the watch does not flaunt its exceptional escapement—the opening through which the tourbillon carriage can be seen is not large—but rather, showcases the guilloché engraving. The gold dial is hand-engraved in a honeycomb pattern and then finished with a dramatic blue galvanic treatment. The pattern, introduced into the L.U.C collection in 2017, is a reference to Chopard’s heritage. From its beginning in 1860 until the 1920s, Chopard’s founder, Louis-Ulysse Chopard, adorned some of its watches with bee symbols. Both the movements and the inside covers of pocket watches were engraved with a hive surrounded by bees. The motif was meant to represent industriousness and authenticity, but it was also just a nice way of decorating the watches. When Chopard revived its manufacturing division in 1996, Scheufele decided to reprise the pattern by using it on certain elite models in the L.U.C collection.
The Flying T Twin has the distinction of being the only automatic tourbillon with both C.O.S.C certification and the Poinçon de Genève hallmark. Chopard’s ultra-slim caliber L.U.C 96.24-L was first introduced in 2019, and is equipped with L.U.C Twin technology based on two stacked barrels for a 65-hour power reserve—the “Twin” in the name means two barrels, not two tourbillons. It also has a stop-seconds function for to-the-second time setting. The movement has been used exclusively in limited editions in the L.U.C collection.
The 40 mm case is made of ethically sourced 18-karat white gold and a snailed motif adorns the chapter ring punctuated by understated rhodium-plated hour-markers. The small seconds is driven by the one-minute tourbillon carriage. It is limited to 50 pieces and is price upon request.
Even more rare is the second 25th Anniversary edition, the L.U.C Full Strike, limited to just 20 pieces and also price upon request. It offers a more dramatic display of its technical side: the dial is partially openworked to reveal the L.U.C 08.01-L minute repeater movement. Some will remember that the Full Strike was the winner of the top prize, the Aguille d’Or, in the 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. It was launched in 2016 in pink gold, and in white gold in 2018. This is the first platinum edition, and it’s limited to 20 pieces.
What differentiates it from other repeaters is the one-piece crystal and gong component, machined from a single block of sapphire. It indicates the time through a combination of two notes, C# and F, with a crystal-clear, constant sound. “A platinum minute repeater would never otherwise resonate like this,” says Scheufele. “The metal would just eat the sound. But the crystal system enhances the sound.” Scheufele says he got the idea from the sound of a fork hitting against a crystal glass—an idea that took Chopard technicians 15,000 hours to realize in a watch. Each watch takes 160 hours to assemble. “It was the biggest project ever, for our R&D department,” says Scheufele.
The Full Strike Platinum is also Poinçon de Genève and C.O.S.C. certified, and according to Chopard, it is the world’s only C.O.S.C.-certified minute repeater.