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2 weeks ago

Behind the Scenes: Chopard L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire Watch

We take a closer look at one of the Swiss manufacturer's latest releases.

By Roberta Naas

Chopard, a venerable family-owned and -operated brand, has established itself not just as a leading high-jewelry house but also as a watchmaker of luxury timepieces that run the gamut from high complications, such as minute repeaters and tourbillons, to high-tech sport and opulent dress watches.

Recently, Chopard unveiled the groundbreaking L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire watch; its entire case is made of alluring blue sapphire. An evolution of the L.U.C Full Strike watch that was first unveiled to the world in 2016, the newest Full Strike Sapphire Blue is created in a limited edition of just five pieces. The entire 42.5mm case, crown, dial and caseback are carefully crafted from intense blue sapphire, to provide a 360-degree view of the exceptional finishes of the L.U.C 08.01-L chronometer-certified in-housemade movement — the other star of the show.

The key to the L.U.C Full Strike movement is that it is a repeater watch that chimes the time on demand. However, this mechanical marvel uses a sapphire crystal gong to chime time in the most acoustically crystalline manner — ensuring spectacular sound with every chime. Each gong is machined with the crystal that protects the movement from a single block of sapphire — meaning it is devoid of glue or welding that could impede the scope and power of the sound.

[See also: Louis Vuitton Unveils New Collection of Luxury Watches]

 L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire watch, chopard
This mechanical marvel uses a sapphire crystal gong to chime time in the most acoustically crystalline manner / ©Chopard

The development of the crystal chimes alone initially took more than two-and-a-half years. By casing the sapphire crystal chimes inside the patented resonant lab-created sapphire case, Chopard achieves incredible pitch, tone and richness.

Within the heart of Chopard’s Geneva workshops, the L.U.C Full Strike comes to life, showcasing the fusion of aesthetics and expert technology that defines the brand. Every movement consists of a massive 533 individual components — all handfinished and -assembled in Chopard’s Geneva atelier. Just three of Chopard’s master watchmakers — with more than 20 years of experience each — are capable of such meticulous and time-consuming work, and just one, Christophe, assembles the entire movement for this Blue Sapphire L.U.C Full Strike from start to finish.

 L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire watch
The entire 42.5mm case, crown, dial and caseback are carefully crafted from intense blue sapphire / ©Chopard

The assembly of the components alone takes 160 hours — not counting the hundreds of hours of hand-finishing of parts and the 17,000 hours of development of the caliber. The watch, which boasts four patented technological systems, is powered by dual barrels, including one dedicated solely to the minute repeater that chimes the hours, quarterhours and minutes past the quarter-hours, up to 12 times in a row.

Throughout its entire making, the movement parts are subjected to nonstop quality-control checks. After it is assembled, the movement undergoes precision testing at the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Certified movements then return to Chopard for casing up, a delicate process that highlights the challenge of fitting the crystal gongs.

Crafting the L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire is a journey of passion, patience and progress. The intense attention to every detail is evidenced by the fact that the watch holds the prestigious Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark. Museum-worthy, the L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire watch is just one hero example of the legend that Chopard has built in the horological world.

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[See also: Girard-Perregaux Announces Free Bridge Meteorite Launch]

This article appears in the 04 Mar 2024 issue of the New Statesman, Spring 2024

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