Chopard L.U.C Quattro
For the past several years, Chopard has been on fire with its releases and even picked up a few awards along the way. Through its eponymous L.U.C collection, the Genevan manufacturer has shown the world that it is not only capable in high jewellery, but also high horology. This year, Chopard has given one of its signature L.U.C watches a facelift, resulting in a relaxed yet elegant look. Here, we bring you the details and our thoughts on the newly refreshed Chopard L.U.C Quattro.
The case, dial, and hands
At 43 mm in case diameter, the L.U.C Quattro is anything but dainty. If you’re looking for a classically proportioned dress watch, you’re better off looking at Chopard’s other offerings or elsewhere. The watch, however, will please those who don’t mind a contemporarily sized timepiece with an unmissable presence on the wrist. Compared to the width, the height of the L.U.C Quattro is much more conservative at only 8.87 mm. This allows the watch to easily slip under any tight dress cuffs or sleeves. The 18k rose gold case features an attractive contrast of finishes; the combination of the polished lugs and bezel along with the satin-brushed case flanks is very easy on the eyes.
The main changes that distinguish this year’s new L.U.C Quattro from its predecessors can be found on the dial. Firstly, the dial, which previously had a matte finish, is now vertically satin-brushed. This tones down the formality of the timepiece and introduces an industrial feel. The sunken power reserve, date and subsidiary seconds displays have all become more simplified in appearance. Unlike the main dial, they are not satin-brushed, but are adorned with a combination of matte and guilloched finish. The assortment of depth and finishes on the dial supports the notion that within Chopard’s haute horlogerie arm of watchmaking, detail remains king.
On top of the dial (quite literally) are heat-blued diamond and Arabic numeral hour markers as well as dauphine-style hands for the hours, minutes and seconds. They really stand out against the brushed silvery dial and the rose gold case. To avoid confusion, the hands of the date and power reserve indicators are lancet-style and crafted in rose gold. Together, the design changes on the new L.U.C Quattro bring forth a modern, relaxed vibe without sacrificing elegance.
Powering the L.U.C Quattro is the 223-part, in-house manufactured Calibre L.U.C 98.01-L. The Calibre L.U.C 98.01-L was the world’s first manually wound movement with two pairs of stacked mainspring barrels (hence the name ‘Quattro’, ‘Four’ in Italian). It boasts a whopping 9-day power reserve – the longest in the L.U.C collection – while operating at a contemporary 4 Hz beat rate. The movement is COSC-certified for precision, which is rather impressive given its extreme power reserve.
The finishing and decoration of the Calibre L.U.C 98.01-L remains as immaculate as before, in accordance to its Poinçon de Genève certification. You can’t miss the highly textured Côtes de Genève, the polished bevels and screw heads and the even perlage on the main plate – all done by hand. All in all, the Calibre L.U.C 98.01-L is a simple movement executed to the highest extent of form and function, one that any serious high-end manufacturer would be proud of.
The competitive landscape
While there is nothing groundbreaking about the new L.U.C Quattro, Chopard’s new take on one of its signature watches has been unanimously well-received. The watch comes with a blue calfskin strap to add to its casual-elegant appeal, but what’s interesting is that it will be produced in a limited edition of only 50 pieces. The watch is set to retail at CHF24,600, a more-than-fair price to pay for the specifications, materials and finishing that it comes with, in our opinion.
Just a bit up the scale lies the cult icon from Glashütte, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1, at SGD47,200 (or about CHF34,515). Much like the L.U.C Quattro, the Lange 1 comes with a power reserve indicator and a date function (displayed via a date window and adjustable by a pusher at 10 o’clock). While it has only a third of the power reserve of the Chopard, it more than makes up for it with superior finishing, which would account – in part – for the CHF10,000 premium.
Also competing for the affection of collectors is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche. Like the Lange 1 and the L.U.C Quattro, it too comes with a date and power reserve display. The design of the Master Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche is classical through and through, though that stance is eased a little by its cool blue dial. The watch is equipped with the robust and reliable Calibre 938, and with a stainless steel case, it is perfect for daily wear. It should be noted however that the movement lacks hand-finishing and looks nowhere near as pleasing as the Chopard or the Lange. The lack of hand-finishing and a precious metal casing does come with a nice perk though: it enables Jaeger-LeCoultre to offer more watch per dollar. Priced at SGD13,000 (or CHF9,500), the Master Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche is noticeably more affordable and accessible. Unless you’re a finissage fiend, resisting the value proposition of this blue-dialled beauty will prove to be an exercise in futility.
The new Chopard L.U.C Quattro hits the mark with its simplified design and effective use of everyone’s favourite blued steel. It may not be a watch with face-melting complications or innovations worthy of the Aiguille d’Or (something Chopard is getting used to now), but it is still a handsome, practical timepiece with a fantastic movement to boot.