Featuring a complication that has become Chopard Manufacture’s field of horological excellence, the emblematic L.U.C Full Strike minute repeater is available in a new exclusive limited edition in blue sapphire limited to five-pieces. In addition to the gongs of the L.U.C 08.01-L chronometer-certified calibre, the entire case, crown and dial of this new L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire model are cut from blocks of sapphire. Measuring 42.5 mm in diameter and featuring a totally transparent intense blue colour resulting from subtly dosed chromium and rare earth elements, it offers a 360-degree view of a movement with exceptional finishes. This entire horological prodigy bears the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark. The acoustic richness of its chime achieves an exceptional level of quality, while perfect homogeneity makes it an unparalleled timepiece combining a stunning conceptual challenge with supremely accomplished execution.
With the L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire, the L.U.C collection continues its evolution in the crystal age. In 2016, the first L.U.C Full Strike model heralded a new watchmaking paradigm, a novel way of generating and propagating the sound of a minute repeater. By using solid sapphire gongs and having the sapphire crystal serve as a resonator, as well as by making these two components into a single monobloc entity, Chopard Manufacture broke the glass ceiling. The result is incomparable tonal richness and acoustic intensity, qualities that previously earned the first L.U.C Full Strike model in rose gold the ultimate “Aiguille d’Or” award at the 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. To mark the 25th anniversary of Chopard Manufacture, its founder Karl-Friedrich Scheufele enlisted the support of virtuoso brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon to introduce the first minute repeater watch featuring a case made entirely of corundum crystal. A feat now continued with an exclusive, coloured-crystal model.
A sapphire heart
With this new L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire timepiece, the Maison’s watchmaking workshops once again demonstrate their mastery of crystal technology. By merging container and content, musical expression and transparency, Chopard has created a veritable horological musical instrument. Thanks to the homogeneity of the material – which is present throughout the sound propagation chain – this five-piece limited series derives the very best from sapphire and from colour.
Above and beyond its aesthetic prowess, the choice of lab-created sapphire is justified by its technical properties: derived from synthetic corundum, this material is one of the most resistant to scratches and has an estimated hardness of nine on the Mohs scale, almost as hard as diamond. Moreover, although producing a sapphire case entails considerable machining difficulties, it has the advantage of remaining unalterable over time.
A sapphire body
The 42.5 mm diameter case is 11.55 mm thick, with well-balanced proportions identical to previous versions of the L.U.C Full Strike, and which contribute to the characteristic elegance of the L.U.C collection. The bezel, caseband, crown, case-back and rear glass are all made of blue sapphire crystal. This rare model, whose absolute transparency enables the wearer to become one with the timepiece, has been created by specialised artisans mastering all the requirements of sapphire technology, from powder to finished component.
Alongside the technical challenges associated with machining transparent sapphire, blue sapphire adds an extra layer of difficulty: obtaining the intense blue colour by adding chromium and rare earth elements to the usual composition of corundum crystal requires subtle chemical dosage, in order to guarantee not only homogeneous colour, but also uniform structure, free of bubbles and haze. These meticulous operations make blue sapphire a rare and precious material. The manufacturing process also follows strict sustainable development rules, from the energy consumed in the production of corundum crystal through to transport.
In addition to the case, the watch dial too is made of sapphire. Its distinctively cut shape enhances the indication elements essential for reading. Absolute transparency can in fact have the effect of blurring the view and Chopard has remedied this by creating a railway-type minutes track engraved on the sapphire crystal and painted. It complements a chapter ring punctuated with rhodium-plated herringbone-shaped applied hour-markers, and black transferred counterparts. The sapphire ring is interrupted by three elements. The first is the off-centre seconds counter. The second is an applied white gold plate bearing the “L.U.CHOPARD” logo. The third is the concentric power-reserve indicator in which two hands respectively indicate the energy remaining in the barrel that drives the movement as well as in the other powering the minute repeater.
The L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire is one of the rare non-metallic timepieces to bear the prestigious Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark, covering both the design and finishing of the movement and the case. In addition, the L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire watch inherits the latest advances with which the L.U.C 08.01-L movement is endowed. Its patented resonant sapphire structure is complemented by several innovative technical systems, four of which are patented.
In a minute repeater mechanism, the energy required by the strikework is provided each time the winding lever is activated. Here, the energy comes from a separate, dedicated barrel wound directly by the crown. It enables the L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire to chime the most complex and energy-intensive time of day (or night) – namely 12 hours and 59 minutes – up to 12 times. This exceptional autonomy is due to several factors. It benefits from the contribution of a patented clutch-lever mechanism that ensures that the strikework going train is blocked, to avoid losing power reserve during the information capture that controls the minute repeater.
This autonomy is moreover also the result of Chopard Manufacture’s experience in multiple barrels. The founding movement of the L.U.C collection – L.U.C Calibre 96.01-L launched in 1997 – actually already featured Chopard Twin Technology, whose two superimposed barrels deliver long-lasting and reliable force. Since it has an autonomous energy source, the strikework systematically respects the defined rhythm, whatever the time that is chimed and however many times it chimes.
Keen to preserve the user-friendliness of the minute repeater and to make its operation as secure as possible, Chopard Manufacture has introduced a number of innovative systems. Thus, if the barrel no longer has sufficient force to power the minute repeater, a safety mechanism blocks its release. In addition, Chopard has filed and been granted a patent for a new strikework-activation device. As soon as it is activated, the pusher is disengaged, thereby making it impossible to disturb the running of the minute repeater or to damage it.
A blend of heritage and modernity: the L.U.C collection
Since 1996, Chopard Manufacture has been reflecting the inspired vision of the Maison’s Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. Over 25 years after presenting its first movement, the Manufacture has acquired a degree of maturity enabling it to provide a range encompassing the entire spectrum of horological complications – all in-house crafted through an alliance of tradition and innovation.
From movement development to adjustment and quality control, along with finished product design, the stamping and machining of cases as well as movement components, engraving and traditional hand-crafted finishes, gemsetting, surface treatments, polishing and assembly: its workshops in Geneva and Fleurier enable Chopard to master the entire production process involved in each creation composing the L.U.C collection. The work of experienced artisans, these timepieces with their simple and pure design express a high degree of mechanical sophistication.
L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire Technical Specifications
Ref. 168604-9001 – in blue sapphire with a blue alligator leather strap
Numbered five-piece limited edition
- Minute repeater striking sapphire gongs (Chopard-patented system)
- Central display of the hours and minutes
- Small seconds display at 6 o’clock
- Concentric display of the watch and strikework power reserves at 2 o’clock
- Stop-seconds function
- Mechanical hand-wound L.U.C 08.01-L
- Number of components: 533
- Total diameter: 37.20 mm
- Thickness: 7.97 mm
- Number of jewels: 63
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 60 hours
- Mainplate and bridges in untreated nickel silver
- Bridges adorned with Côtes de Genève motif
- Minute repeater
- Chopard-patented monobloc sapphire crystal and gongs
- Variable-inertia balance
- Chopard-patented clutch-lever device serving to block the strikework so as to avoid losing power reserve during information capture
- Chopard-patented dedicated ratchet-driving mechanism serving to avoid pauses during chiming
- Chopard-patented strikework-activation device serving to act on the pusher whether it is chiming or not, in normal, low, continuous or fast mode
- Balance-spring with Phillips terminal curve
- Chronometer-certified by the COSC
- Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark
- Blue sapphire
- Total diameter: 42.50 mm
- Thickness: 11.55 mm
- Crown with integrated strikework pusher
- in blue sapphire, with L.U.C logo: 8.80 mm
- Blue sapphire case middle, bezel and case-back, engraved case-back
- Blue sapphire monobloc case-back
- Sapphire crystal with two Chopard-patented integrated monobloc gongs
Dial and hands
- Openworked sapphire dial
- Applied logo plate in 18-carat white gold with black transfers
- Satin-brushed chapter ring
- Satin-brushed small seconds
- Railway-type minutes track engraved on the sapphire crystal
- Black transfers
- Applied rhodium-plated herringbone-type hour-markers
- Applied rhodium-plated Dauphine hours and minutes hands
- Rhodium-plated baton-type small seconds hand
- Rhodium-plated baton-type movement power-reserve and strikework power-reserve hands
Strap and buckle
- Strap in hand-sewn blue alligator leather with blue alligator lining
- Folding clasp in polished and satin-brushed ethical 18-carat white gold