Chopard L.U.C All-in-One
Speak to someone from the nineties or even the early noughties and they’d be in disbelief if you told them that Chopard would eventually become a top watch manufacturer. They’d be in shock if you told them that this Geneva-based “jewellery brand” would go on to win two Aiguille d’Or prizes in a row – in 2016 and 2017 – at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie. This is now the reality for Chopard, and it is thanks in no small part to Mr. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s decision over two decades ago for the company to delve into haute horlogerie, culminating in the L.U.C range.
Sitting at the top of the L.U.C food chain is none other than the aptly named All-in-One. First introduced in 2010 to commemorate Chopard’s 150th anniversary, the watch was the brand’s most complicated timepiece – it continues to be even today. This year, the All-in-One has received a significant makeover; we bring you the details and our thoughts on the two new All-in-One variants that have joined the ever-expanding L.U.C stable.
The Case, Dial, And Hands
The case of the new L.U.C All-in-One measures a gargantuan 46.0 mm x 18. 5 mm, a side effect of the watch’s mind-boggling complexity. There’s no hiding the fact that the watch is going to be oversized for anyone who hasn’t got the wrists of a 7-foot tall basketballer. While technically a dress watch, the All-in-One will ‘Slide-under-None’ of your dress cuffs. This is not a piece designed to be demure or complementary to a man’s formal wear. The All-in-One is, after all, Chopard’s pièce de résistance, a statement watch that will always be the centre of attention. As such, it deserves to be paraded on the wrist. The case is polished on the top and bottom but brushed on the flanks for contrast. Up to this point, everything about the case is the same as the one that debuted 8 years ago. What’s changed is only the case material; the All-in-One is now available in 18k rose gold or platinum.
The displays and their layout on the dials (yes, two dials – one in front, one at the back) remain unchanged. Like its white gold sibling from 2010, the front side displays the time, the big date, day of the week, month, leap year, 24-hour cycle, and of course that menacing tourbillon. Meanwhile, the back boasts displays for the equation of time, power reserve, day/night cycle, sunrise and sunset, and synodic orbital moon phase. What’s changed here is, once again, just aesthetic. The most notable difference between the 2018 All-in-One and the 2010 debutant is in the hour markers. Where imposing Roman numerals were used in past versions, they are now elegant arrow head batons. The Roman numerals gave the watch charisma, but at the expense of cluttering the dial. With the arrow head batons, the dial has become noticeably less busy and more elegant. In the platinum version, the dial of choice by the manufacturer is grey-blue in hue, while in the pink gold version, it is verdigris (blueish-green). Verdigris is similar in tone to the patina that forms on copper or bronze. This colour is achieved on the dial by galvanic treatment, ensuring that it will not change over time. The brand’s signature sunburst guilloché dial which radiates from the big date is also present and remains a constant across all versions of the watch thus far.
Powering the behemoth that is the L.U.C All-in-One is the in-house developed and manufactured L.U.C Calibre 05.01-L, a marvel in and of itself. The hand-wound movement measures a whopping 33.00 mm x 11.75 mm – the size of some vintage watches – and contains no less than 516 parts. In spite of the sheer number of power hungry complications, the watch boasts a heroic 170 hours of power reserve (way, way above industry standard) thanks to the brand’s L.U.C Quattro technology that involves two sets of twin-stacked barrels. Even more impressive and massively underrated is the fact that despite the multitude of complications and the 170-hour power reserve, the L.U.C Calibre 05.01-L is Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC)-certified, guaranteeing its accuracy and precision.
Worth a special mention also is that the orbital moon phase display showcased on the case back is highly precise, requiring only a one-day correction every 122 years. Unfortunately, Chopard has made it clear that the astronomical displays and indicators are calibrated to Geneva’s locality and cannot be customised to the owner’s preferred locale. Surely, this is a missed opportunity to foster customer relations and to further enhance the exclusivity of the All-in-One, but we digress.
Technical excellence is just one side of the haute horlogerie coin – the other equally important aspect is finishing and decoration. It is a pity that the L.U.C Calibre 05.01-L is hidden from sight because knowing the movements that have come out of the L.U.C range, one can trust that the finissage of the Calibre 05.01-L is going to be a doozy. In fact, no need to trust – verify. The movement (and the case) is stamped with the prestigious Poinçon de Genève, which in part attests to the calibre’s high standards of finishing, adjustment and assembly. The one part of the movement that we can actually see is the tourbillon and its bridge. “Badass” is how we’d describe them. The bridge that secures the tourbillon is reminiscent of razor blade, and once you realise that, it cannot be unseen. Meanwhile, the tourbillon cage resembles a fictional ‘throwing glaive’ or a chakram. A razor blade and an ancient throwing weapon? Do they fit in with the overall design language of the watch? Maybe, maybe not. Does it look amazing? Absolutely. The bridge is black polished to a spectacular sheen while the cage is brushed. The contrast is stark and palpable, but we feel that the cage would be better off black polished as well for a more stunning, upscale look.
The Competitive Landscape
Watches of this type and level are not common at all. The L.U.C All-in-One represents the very best of high-end watchmaking. It takes advantage of its two faces to convey a mountain of information in an orderly, uncluttered manner. It’s not just about technicals and design – finishing on the All-in-One is also top notch, be it on the dials or beneath. The L.U.C All-in-One retails at SGD524,000 (CHF380,000) in rose gold and SGD545,000 (CHF395,000) in platinum. These are exorbitant prices but such is the price of perfection. But how does the almighty All-in-One compare to its equivalents from rival brands?
Equipped with slightly fewer functions but no less sophisticated is the A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna. At 45.5 mm x 16.5 mm, the watch is similar in size to the All-in-One, meaning it’s oversized for most. The Terraluna displays time in a regulator fashion, which is not commonly seen in this day and age. But that isn’t what makes the watch so special. The Terraluna has a mind-blowing 14 days of power reserve, indicated by the moving scale within the aperture at 6 o’clock. A remontoire inside the Terraluna’s Calibre L096.1 controls the delivery of the enormous amount of energy stored in the twin mainspring barrel to ensure a consistently high rate of accuracy across the entirety of its long power reserve. In ten-second intervals, this mechanism releases a consistently identical portion of the available energy to the balance, thus assuring that the torque remains constant. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the watch is also equipped with a perpetual calendar mechanism, displayed very legibly in front, and an orbital moon phase display at the back. This display which also involves a rotating disc depicting the Earth, doesn’t just show the phases of the moon, but also the rough time-of-day reference and day/night cycle for regions in the northern hemisphere. If the All-in-One’s orbital moon phase display is considered highly accurate (122-year accuracy), then the Terraluna’s takes it to a perversed level: 1058 years before a one-day correction is needed. And needless to say, finissage is top-of-the-industry, and is beyond even the All-in-One – this is Lange we’re talking about. The Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna in pink gold (pictured below) retails at SGD311,000. It may be priced considerably less than the Chopard, but it is by no means a lesser watch.
Also giving the All-in-One a run for its money is the absolutely whimsical Bovet Récital 20 Astérium. The Récital 20 Astérium’s construction is one-of-a-kind with its sloped case and terraced movement design. It also boasts a host of functions and displays, including the equation of time, phases of the moon, power reserve and a flying tourbillon among others. And that’s just the front. The back of the watch is reserved for the annual calendar, and indications for the zodiacs, seasons, equinoxes and solstices – all of which are indicated with a single hand. The watch is well-finished and lavishly decorated, truly in the spirit of Bovet. It is similarly priced to the All-in-One at CHF335,000. It may not be as complicated but it certainly has the more interesting design, finissage, and aesthetics. As far as two-faced high complication timepieces go, the Récital 20 Astérium remains one of the most memorable from recent years.
The Chopard L.U.C All-in-One is ridiculously large for a dress watch, but that’s because it is also ridiculously complicated. The All-in-One may not be the Chopard’s flagship watch (that honour goes to the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono) but it is the Fleurier manufacture’s greatest watchmaking achievement, last year’s Full Strike notwithstanding. A technical tour de force, the All-in-One is Chopard’s declaration of intent. What intent, you might ask? To be the very best, of course. With the milestones and achievements it has notched up so far, Chopard is closer to that reality than ever.