Chopard L.U.C Flying T Twin
Everybody loves an underdog – which is why those in the know love Chopard. Sure, the Geneva watch manufacturer has won several Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) prizes – the equivalent of winning multiple Oscars – but a chronic under-appreciation and unawareness of the quality of Chopard L.U.C watches still lingers today. Making sure to outdo themselves again, Chopard introduced a new timepiece at Baselworld 2019 that is regulated by a flying tourbillon as well as being automatic, a double first for the brand. Here, we bring you the details and our thoughts on the L.U.C Flying T Twin.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
Chopard has always been committed to the use of ethically sourced gold. The case of the L.U.C Flying T Twin is crafted from “Fairmined” gold. The gold is responsibly sourced from from artisanal mining cooperatives, where both the environment and miners are treated correctly, and to which Chopard pays a premium to be reinvested in community projects. The Maison is currently the main global purchaser of “Fairmined” gold and since July 2018, it has been using 100% ethical gold for the production of all its watches and jewellery. The rose gold case of the L.U.C Flying T Twin measures a contemporary 40.0 mm in diameter and a slender 7.2 mm – especially impressive given that the watch is regulated by a tourbillon. One can expect the watch to slide under any dress cuff with ease.
While the case is rendered in a classic fashion, the dial is anything but. Crafted in solid gold, the dial has a grey ruthenium surface achieved by galvanic treatment. In addition, it is adorned with intricated hand-guilloche motifs executed by Chopard’s own artisans. A snailed motif is applied to the chapter ring, while the central medallion is decorated with a honeycomb motif that was first introduced on the 2017 L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer edition. Symbolising a beehive, it is a nod to the first logo used by Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the founder of the Maison. Telling the time are two rose gold dauphine hands for the hours and minutes, as well as rose gold applied hour markers; they strike a pleasing contrast on the grey surface of the dial.
As fascinating as the craftsmanship of the dial is, the limelight truly belongs to the flying tourbillon that is revealed through a large-diameter aperture at 6 o’clock. The lack of a bridge allows the cage to be revealed in its full glory. It goes without saying that it is finished spectacularly. The tourbillon – which completes a rotation once a minute – is also equipped with a pointer to indicate the seconds.
The L.U.C Flying T Twin is driven by the entirely in-house developed, produced and assembled Calibre 96.24-L. At just 3.30 mm thick, it is the same size as the very first Chopard manufacture movement, Calibre 96.01-L, from which it has evolved. The 190-part, 25-jewel movement boasts a respectable power reserve of 65 hours in spite of an energy-hungry 4 Hz tourbillon. This is made possible by the two stacked barrels in the movement that are in accordance with the brand’s patented Twin Technology. Interestingly, the chronometer-certified movement also features a stop-seconds device, which is extremely rare on a tourbillon and enables accurate time-setting.
The Calibre 96.24-L is lavishly finished, which should come to no one’s surprise given that it bears the Hallmark of Geneva. The surface of the bridges are decorated with Geneva waves while their edges are chamfered and polished. Plenty of rounded and exterior angling can be found, although there are no interior ones. The 22-carat micro-rotor that winds the watch is gorgeously engraved, while the base plate beneath it is finished with ample perlage.
The Competitive Landscape
While tourbillon watches are as ubiquitous as trees in a forest, the well-crafted ones are still worth talking about. The L.U.C Flying T Twin is no exception, as it is technically and artistically exceptional. Of course, not everyone is going to love the watch; the traditionalists will find the diameter of the case and the design of the dial off-putting. But the fact of the matter remains that this is a finely crafted timepiece that most can respect in spite of personal preferences. Limited to only 50 pieces, the L.U.C Flying T Twin is priced at EUR109,000.
But as far as tourbillon dress watches go, perhaps none are as exquisite as the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Tourbillon. The Chopard L.U.C Flying T Twin greatly resembles the 1815 Tourbillon in the way that they are both purely time only watches with a tourbillon display at 6 o’clock. The tourbillon in the 1815, though, is of the classic, non-flying variety. Another similarity between the two watches is that both tourbillons can be hacked. The Lange does, however, go a step further: it also features a proprietary zero-reset function to allow for even more precise time-setting. It is also objectively superior in the finishing department, which is mostly why the 1815 Tourbillon is pricier at SGD263,600 (or CHF194,000) in platinum and SGD214,900 (CHF158,000) in pink gold.
Another interesting watch to compare the L.U.C Flying T Twin with is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Enamel in white gold. A fellow 2019 debutant, the timepiece also features an engraved (and enameled) dial and is limited to 50 pieces. While the regular Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon version is purely time only, this special enamel variant has a date display located at 12 o’clock. From a finishing perspective, the Jaeger-LeCoultre – while neat and attractive – is inferior to the Chopard L.U.C. But that’s absolutely okay given that it is around 75% the price of the Flying T Twin, at a fair USD88,500. If anything, the Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Enamel offers the ultimate value for money out of our three candidates here as it offers an enameled dial, a date function, and the chronometry competition-winning Calibre 978 that beats within.
What’s there not to love about Chopard’s new L.U.C Flying T Twin? It is a genuinely flawless timepiece. Is it something novel and exhilarating? No, and it doesn’t have to be. It is, however, a quality timepiece. And with the Hallmark of Geneva certification (among other certifications) and its use of “Fairmined” gold, the watch is positioned to be an industry standard like most other L.U.C timepieces. Chopard continues to impress, and if the manufacture continues on its current trajectory, it is set for more sunny days ahead.