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Chopard L.U.C Qualité Fleurier: Simplicity is Key

by Robin Lim on August 2, 2014

There are quite a few watchmakers that have the capability and resources to make watches that are of the highest quality. Chopard L.U.C is one of them, but their efforts have always been eclipsed by their more illustrious competitors. Will the Qualité Fleurier be able to circumvent those circumstances?

Chopard do not create just watches, they create quite a substantial amount of extraordinary horological pieces from time to time. Many of their creations are beautifully crafted, and are finished with the highest quality. But the L.U.C collection tries to outdo themselves. Since 2005, they have four watches bearing the Fleurier Quality Foundation insignia on it. And to achieve this is no simple feat.

The movement of a typical L.U. Chopard watch. Not that the finishing is rather pretty.

The movement of a typical L.U. Chopard watch. Note that this particular movement (L.U.C 96.12-L) is done particularly well.

Foundation Qualité Fleurier, La Haute Horlogerie certifiée

The Foundation was incepted in 2001, in the hopes of raising the standards of Swiss watchmaking. In order to be awarded the certificate, the watches must go through several tests and meet certain criteria. Firstly, the watches must be completely made in Switzerland. Secondly, the movement of the watches should be COSC-certified. Failure of any of these two basic criteria will deny the watches the opportunity to proceed further with the tests.

There are three tests that the watch must undergo in order to gain the certification. Firstly, they have to partake in the “CHRONOFIABLE” test. In this test, watches are to be judged on its reliability, such as the constant pushing and pulling of the winding stem to the shock-resistant tests using a pendulum or a striker. Well, we believe all of you get the drift of the rigidity of the test by now. But we are only one-third done.

The movement of the Qualité  Fleurier LUC.

The movement of the Qualité Fleurier L.U.C 96.09-L. Note finishing levels are equal to the regular LUC watch pictured above. At first glance, the rotor’s lack of engraving decoration seems to suggest a lower level of finishing, but on closer examination, other than the engraving, the finissage is at the same level.

The next test looks at the aesthetics of the piece, and specifically its movement. The watches are required to be finished according to the highest standards, and they must follow a few criteria that are set by the organisation.

Lastly, they have to complete the “Fleuritest”. In this test, the watch will undergo 24 hours of “stress tests”, in which they will be placed under this machine that simulates different kinds of stress that the watch might undergo (such as being worn during sports activities, to calmer activities such as walking). They are only awarded the certification “FQF, La Haute Horlogerie certifiée” when these tests are done with flying colours. For more information on these criteria, please visit the Qualitie Fleurier website.

The L.U. Chopard Qualité Fleurier on the left, and the L.U. Chopard Chronometer on the right. Look at the differences in the quality of the movement.

The L.U. Chopard Qualité Fleurier on the left, and the L.U. Chopard Chronometer on the right. Look at the differences in the quality of the finishing of the movement.

The L.U.C Qualité Fleurier

The L.U.C Qualité Fleurier is the latest watch from the Swiss watchmaker to be awarded the famed “FQF, La Haute Horlogerie certifiée” certification. The Qualité Fleurier is no ordinary piece; a comparison with the L.U. Chopard Chronometer shows the differences in terms of the finishing between these two pieces. And the L.U.C, by the way, is a well-finished piece to begin with. This shows that the demands of the Fleurier Quality Foundation is incredibly high. The tests are so tough that around 90% of the watches that are sent to foundation are deemed to have failed the assessment.

The Movement

Since we are on the topic of movements, we shall stay on track. Powering the L.U.C Qualité Fleurier would be the L.U.C 96.09-L movement. It is a self-winding movement, which features a  22 carat gold oscillating weight. The watch has got a power reserve of 65 hours, and it is thanks to L.U.C’s “Twin Technology”, which compromises of two stacked barrels. The finishing? Well, we believe that we should let the pictures do the talking. Words are not worthy enough to describe how wonderful and well-done the movement is. 

The L.U. Chopard Qualité Fleurier and the L.U. Chopard Chronometer.

The L.U.C Qualité Fleurier and the L.U. Chopard Chronometer.

The Aesthetics

The 39mm Qualité Fleurier is cased in rose gold, and it is contrasted with a sunray satin-brushed silver dial with luminescent hands and indexes (although it looks a little more like grey in the picture). We would say that the hands on the watch is rather unique, and it adds a nice touch to the watch itself. However, our only qualm would be the luminescent indices. We feel that the Qualité Fleurier could have done without it; in fact we think it would have made the watch more elegant and cleaner. 

Our Conclusion

Nevertheless, this is another wonderful effort by Chopard. We personally feel that they are way too underrated by the watch collectors, and it is a pity. Their creations are actually rather remarkable, and the Qualité Fleurier is a testament to that. For another  Qualité Fleurier watch, also from the same town of Fleurier comes the Parmigiani Tonda 39 which we review here. How do you think it compares? In fact, this piece has got the capability and the caliber to compete with the big boys out there. What do you reckon?

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