When the Schuefele family took over Chopard in 1963, it is likely that founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard would have been delighted with the continuation of family values and focus on humanity, a spirit he himself instigated when he founded Chopard LUC (Editor’s note: modern name used for clarity) in 1860.
Few companies in the history of watchmaking can claim such independence, quality, creativity and innovation in their horological pursuits. Guided by humanist values, Chopard has shunned development for the sake of development and walked a divergent path away from stock market and profit pursuits.
Chopard LUC: A Multi-Generational Passion for Team Deployant
As the leader of precision watches for “daily wear” in the 19th century, Chopard’s legacy continues in the hands of the Schuefele family. Rescued from a period of relative decline to its first modern milestones under Karl and Karin Schuefele, the reigns of the empire passed to son and daughter Karl-Friedrich and Caroline, the maison’s artistic sensitivities continued its refined evolution in the development of high horology as exemplified in Chopard LUC and high jewellery emblematic of the house of Chopard. Incidentally, it’s one of the few maisons which straddles both worlds with a deft touch and competence which never leads its critics to ask the question if Chopard is a watchmaker or jeweller first, for most – they’re both at once.
Thus, it can be intuited that the mutual passion for Chopard LUC in 3 generations of Deployant staff and collectors cannot be just pure coincidence but vindication of a watchmaking and business philosophy of watchmaking as a purist artform rather than a behemoth commercial enterprise.
Peter Chong: His Chopard LUC 3.96
Peter Chong, Founder and Editorial Director of Deployant is a veteran collector and one of the earliest adopters of Chopard LUC. Named “L.U.C.” in homage to its namesake founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the premium collection branded thusly marked the maison’s return to its roots as the maker of high-end refined timepieces after close to two decades of high jewellery crafts. The initial calibre and watch was named Chopard LUC 1.96. Itself, the foundational calibre for Chong’s own 3.96 which followed shortly, the two watches while remarkably similar are finished to different degrees. That said, the LUC Calibre 1.96 is a Geneva Seal bearing basic movement while the 3.96 edition is by no stretch second class. Both are COSC certified chronometers and the only point of distinction beyond the vaunted Seal is the use of Breguet over-coil hairspring and adjustment regulator while the balance of the 3.96 comes equipped with a flat hairspring.
It’s a great value watch. Magnificent movement and from the proceeds Chopard gives a portion to the Jose Carreras Foundation. – Peter Chong
The José Carreras Leukaemia Foundation is a private charity, founded by the tenor José Carreras following his recovery from leukaemia. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this Chopard LUC 3.96 goes towards making leukaemia 100% curable one day.
In aesthetic terms, the 3.96 is a traditional dress-watch, rivaling Patek Philippe Calatravas right down to sub-seconds dial and barley-corn guilloche in the central portion of the dial while leaving the periphery Roman hour numerals clearly displayed in symphony to the musical notations on the perimeter of the the dial. Indulge in luxury goods while nourishing your conscience? The values of kindness and generosity of Chopard LUC exude from this piece.
Kevin Tan: His Chopard LUC Strike One
It’s a simple complication, in a sea of tourbillons and repeaters, at the time it was launched. Plus it reminds me of my family home’s pendulum clock that strikes every hour. – Kevin Tan
Chimes of a digital watch were par course all through this Editor’s formative years and all through school and college, there would always be at least one guy in the lecture hall who never quite figured out how to set his Casio and you would hear the cacophony of beep-beeps every hour from the wrists of scattered neanderthals. Thankfully, the resurgent popularity of mechanical watches and the arrival of the Chopard LUC Strike One, quiet office meeting rooms and function halls have now become sacred spaces for the refined chime of a ringing gong.
The Fleurier manufacture released the highly refined Strike One hour repeater with the LUC 96SH calibre which took two years to develop. For veteran Deployant reader and collector Tan, the 18kt white gold 40.5mm timepiece is attractive not just for its virtuosity (and highly limited production run) but for that bit of familial nostalgia of the family hearth’s old pendulum clock, a traditional sound and the anti-thesis of the ear piercing beeps of gauche digital watches.
Limited to 100 pieces, Chopard LUC took care to leave an aperture at 12 o’clock which allows viewing of the striking mechanism and of the hammer performing its strike. It strikes each passing hour exactly once. While not quite a full-blown minute repeater, its technical simplicity allow owners and friends to enjoy the chime of the Strike One without the need to careful take note and count of the number of quarters in order to know that an hour has elapsed.
The LUC caliber 96SH is a COSC-certified chronometer with 65 hour power reserve and is stamped with the Geneva Seal. A watch of exemplary beauty, refinement and technical sophistication. It’s everything a man could want from haute horlogerie.
Jonathan Ho: Chopard LUC Chrono One
“On a limited budget, I needed a chronograph which could be dressed up or dressed down. Chopard LUC Chrono One became both for me, satisfying my lust for other chronographs for a very long time.” – Jonathan Ho
In searching for a chronograph versatile enough to be worn both as a dressy accessory and an everyday watch, I turned to the Chopard LUC Chrono One. Launched in 2011, the Chrono One met all my requirements and desires for a chronograph. Carrying an integrated chronograph movement, the Chrono One column-wheel chronograph with a fly-back function and small seconds at 6 o’clock was a great proposition to a cash-strapped professional looking to get maximum bang for his fairly limited buck.
A tri-compax chronograph with skeletonised sub-dials, it took a little getting used to. But the visible perlage on the movement beneath soon won me over with its dress-sense. Where the Rolex Daytona was unfailingly Alpha and oozing with masculinity, the LUC Chrono One was sort of the international super spy of chronographs – enduring, robust but also born with a great dress sense. Not to mention that with 60 hour long power reserve, it became the kind of watch where I didn’t necessarily have to wear over the weekend, instead giving wrist-time to behemoths like an Offshore Diver or Baume Riviera. By the time I became a full fledged watch journalist, I soon learnt that the Chrono One was equipped with a patented gearing device which reduced energy loss for optimal winding efficiency. It’s white gold so I wear it sparingly but it will forever be for me, my virgin experience of high horology.