Almost two years on from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, international border crossing remains tightly restricted. This, however, hasn’t stopped Chopard from presenting the latest iteration of its worldtimer watch. The L.U.C Time Traveler One was initially introduced in 2016, becoming the first L.U.C timepiece with the worldtime complication.
Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One Black
This year, the L.U.C Time Traveler One receives a contemporary makeover, with a chic monochromatic aesthetic and a sportier casing. We bring you the low-down and our thoughts on the new Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One Black.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The case sizing and design of the L.U.C Time Traveler One Black remains a familiar sight as it is unchanged compared to previous iterations of the model in stainless steel or precious metal. Measuring 42 x 12.09 mm, the Time Traveler One Black is by no means dainty, but neither is it unwieldy on the wrist. It is one of few travel watches in the market with a dual crown design (one at 2 o’clock, another at 4 o’clock) for time adjustments, a configuration usually reserved for dive watches. What’s truly new in the L.U.C Time Traveler One Black is the material it is rendered in: ceramised grade 5 titanium. The use of ceramised titanium is not only a first for Chopard, but also a first in the history of world time watches. Ultra-light and hard-wearing, ceramised titanium is created by subjecting the surface of titanium to oxidation with absurdly high temperatures, resulting in increased hardness (compared to bare titanium) and, of course, corrosion resistance. The case has a sand-blasted, matte finish with a recognisable hue of grey typical of titanium.
Moving inwards unto the dial, one will find that the displays and layout of the Time Traveler One Black are also virtually identical to that in preceding variants. At first glance, they can appear intimidating and confusing, but in truth, reading the dial becomes a walk in the park once you understand it. The first ring closest to the centre displays the date radially. Immediately outward is the local time ring marked by Arabic numerals and indices. This is then followed by the 24-hour ring, which tells the time of the cities listed on the outermost ring. When the local time is set correctly (using the crown at 2 o’clock) and the city corresponding to the local time is set at 12 o’clock (using the crown at 4 o’clock), all the remaining time zones will fall neatly in place, demonstrating the beauty of the world time complication.
In the new Time Traveler One Black, the entire dial is given a suave, monochromatic aesthetic, from the black of the 24-hour ring to the white of the inscriptions, and all the shades of grey in the middle. Between the lumed dauphine hands and vertically brushed centre medallion, this is arguably the sportiest expression of the Time Traveler One dial yet. Combined with its ceramised titanium casing, the Time Traveler One Black becomes the embodiment of ‘industrial chic’.
Driving the L.U.C Time Traveler One Black is the same calibre that debuted with the original Time Traveler One in 2016: the Calibre L.U.C 01.05-L. Entirely developed, produced, and assembled in-house, the Calibre L.U.C 01.05-L, a self-winding movement, is a COSC-certified chronometer that operates at a modern 4 Hz frequency. Thanks to its 60-hour power reserve, you can leave the Time Traveler One Black in the drawer over the weekend and it would still be running and ready for business on Monday. With its integrated world time mechanism, it is able to present the time in each of the 24 principal time zones simultaneously. This is on top of displaying the local time and date with central hands.
As one would expect from the L.U.C collection, the Calibre L.U.C 01.05-L is well-finished and a pleasure to behold. Through the sapphire crystal case back, one can find the usual fare of Genevan movement finishing techniques like the Côtes de Genève on the surface of the bridges, as well as the beveling and polishing of its edges. It bears mentioning that this movement (which frankly looks a tad too small for the case) isn’t Geneva Seal-stamped or Qualité Fleurier-certified like some of its siblings in the L.U.C collection. Nevertheless, the fact that it is from the Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier is assurance enough of the quality of its construction, assembly, and finissage.
The Competitive Landscape
Few would disagree that worldtimers represent the highest order of travel time watches, as the world time complication imparts more information and is more sophisticated than the dual time or GMT complications. While most reputable manufacturers do keep a world time model in their stable, they are still fairly uncommon especially when compared to the likes of chronographs or perpetual calendars. What’s even rarer is a world time watch with a sportier disposition like Chopard’s L.U.C Time Traveler One Black. With a ceramised titanium case and a black rubber strap, the watch is one of the sportiest of its kind. The L.U.C Time Traveler One Black is priced at EUR15,500.
Perhaps the closest alternative to the L.U.C Time Traveler One Black that is currently available in the market is none other than the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT Worldtimer. Both watches share the same set of complications (though expressed differently), share similar sizing, are crafted in non-precious metal, and come with rubber straps. A key difference between the two watches is, of course, in finishing where the Chopard clearly shines. That said, the finissage in the Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT Worldtimer is more than adequate, especially given that it costs noticeably less than L.U.C Time Traveler One, at around SGD13,000.
For something closer to price point of the L.U.C Time Traveler One Black, look no further than the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time in stainless steel. Where the Geophysic Universal Time lacks in date indication, it gains in dead seconds functionality; to the best of our knowledge, this is the only worldtimer in the market with dead seconds. Both watches share a similar size and level of finissage. Unsurprisingly, they are also priced closely with the Geophysic Universal Time in stainless steel retailing for around SGD22,000.
The L.U.C Time Traveler One Black is a worldtimer designed with practicality in mind. Its ceramised titanium case is not just light but also tough, making the watch perfect against the typical rigors of travelling and for daily wear. The industrial, monochrome aesthetics of the watch is best suited for any dress code between casual and business, but it also goes with your swimwear if you’re so inclined. Through the L.U.C line, Chopard is known to dish out some of the best watchmaking in the world at highly competitive prices. With the release of the Time Traveler One Black as the latest addition to the L.U.C collection, this notion perseveres.