Chopard LUC XPS 1860 Officer Green Dial
The Chopard LUC XPS 1860 Officer Green Dial Ref. 161242-0001 has a forest green dial with beautiful hand-guilloché decoration. The crown features a button that opens the hinged lid with a single push, revealing an extremely refined automatic movement. Unveiled at Watches & Wonders in 2022, this iconic watch of Haute Horlogerie once again showcases the Maison’s extraordinary expertise.
Chopard Manufacture – established in 1996
Last year, Chopard celebrated an important milestone in its history. In 1996, the family business opened Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier. While the company had made watches before this, those were equipped with third-party movements. Becoming a manufacturer, producing in-house movements, is a big undertaking, and not without risks. To understand the rationale for the Fleurier website, one has to go back to the early 1990s.
Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele predicts an eventual renaissance in mechanical watchmaking. It must be remembered that some companies are still licking their wounds after the quartz crisis, a traumatic time that saw countless watch brands and their suppliers come to an end. Mr. Scheufele’s optimism seemed bold at least to some observers, and may even be misplaced by others, however, his prediction of a brighter sky proved to be right.
When the Chopard copy Manufacture opened in 1996, it employed only two employees. Some 25 years later, after investing tens of millions of Swiss francs, the watch factory has achieved great success and now has more than 170 employees in various positions. The first movement of the LUC 1.96 (now known as the LUC Calibre 96.01-L) was just the beginning. The Swiss brand continues to produce countless beautiful watch movements, some of which are highly complex. In fact, Chopard’s ambitions have never waned, and its ability to innovate is endless. For example, the Chopard LUC 8HF, released back in 2012, received COSC certification despite its balance running at an eye-watering 57,600 vph (8Hz).
When visiting the site at Fleurier, one is struck by the multitude of processes taking place under one roof. This is a shining example of a “vertically integrated company.” In addition, the brand’s LUC models eventually feature movements so refined that they deserve the term “haute horlogerie”. Finishing is typical, all traces of machining have been removed. Finishing or “finishing” also enhances the corrosion resistance of movement components and imparts an aesthetic appeal that goes beyond mere function.
Some of the brand’s LUC movements are subject to independent scrutiny by COSC, Qualité Fleurier or Poinçon de Genève. Interestingly, in 2011 Chopard released the LUC triple certification, which, as the name suggests, meets the standards of all three certification bodies mentioned above.
In 2008, Chopard opened a separate factory in Fleurier to manufacture in-house movements for some Happy Sport and Alpine Eagle models. With its expertise in making cases and bracelets as well as crafting a variety of craftsmanship, the high-end brand’s talents are multi-faceted.
LUC Calibre 96.01-L (LUC 1.96) – excellent from the start
If a copy watch company were to produce its first in-house movement, one would expect it to produce a relatively simple hand-wound movement that only displays the hours and minutes. From the outset, however, the brand has displayed extraordinary ambitions, clearly intent on competing with the established brands of Haute Horlogerie.
Chopard’s first self-winding movement continues to be produced, although it is now known as the LUC Calibre 96.01-L. It uses a micro rotor instead of the usual full-size oscillating weight. Even today, only a few companies have the expertise to manufacture movements equipped with micro-rotors. In fact, generating enough inertia from a small rotating piece of dense metal (22K gold in this case) capable of powering the mainspring is no easy task. However, Chopard has clearly shown that it is up to the task. By the way, the LUC Calibre 96.01-L has two barrels and therefore two mainsprings, another property I will talk about later.
The micro-rotor is flush with the adjacent bridge, not above. This approach reduces the height of the movement (only 3.30 mm thick) and allows the wearer to indulge the superb view of the finely decorated movement.
While many watch movements feature a single barrel, this one features two stacked barrels. Taking this approach increases the power reserve, in this case about 65 hours. Furthermore, by using two barrels, the power transmitted through the gear train, which ultimately serves the escapement, is more consistent. While this should not be confused with a constant force device, as the energy inside the barrel becomes more and more depleted, the amplitude changes will be smaller. The end result is excellent rate stability.
Chopard also equipped the LUC 1.96 with a three-spoke balance wheel with a traditional hairspring and index adjuster. The latter component comes in the form of a highly polished gooseneck adjuster. The balance wheel is fitted with a sliding stud cap, giving the watchmaker a useful way to correct any rhythm errors.
The hairspring (also called hairspring) is equipped with a Philips terminal curve. This involves changing the curvature of the outer ring of the hairspring. The concept of the Philips terminal curve is similar to the Breguet Supercoil, which makes the breathing of the hairspring more concentric, thus providing excellent isochronism.
In keeping with Haute Horlogerie, the main plate is embellished with pearls, while the bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève, engraved gilt text and glittering screws. One aspect of this movement that I find particularly flattering is Chopard’s decision to leave a gap between the bridges to provide a partial view of the gear train and barrel.
When Chopard released its ambitious LUC 1.96, it was scrutinized by COSC and Poinçon de Genève. Quite simply, with the release of this movement, the company has set very high standards.
Chopard LUC 1860
The first watch to feature the LUC 1.96 was the Chopard LUC 1860, released in 1997. With a diameter of 37 mm, this watch has a classic and understated style that was eventually carried over to several other LUC models.
The Chopard LUC 1860 features princess hour and minute hands, opposite the tapered hour markers. The central area of the dial is beautifully decorated with a delicate wavy guilloche, and finally, a clear minute track wraps around the perimeter of the display. https://www.review4uwatch.com/
Chopard resists the temptation to dictate too many dials. In addition to the hours and minutes, small seconds and a date display are included. Clean, uncluttered and supremely elegant, this early Chopard LUC 1860 shows a clear intention to compete at the highest echelons of watchmaking.
In the years that followed, the luxury brand released further iterations of the Chopard LUC 1860, all of which retained the essence of the original.
Chopard LUC XPS 1860 Officer Green Dial – Ref. 161242-0001
Earlier this year at Watches & Wonders 2022, Chopard introduced several new models, including the LUC XPS 1860 Officer Green Dial Ref. 161242-0001. Featuring a stunning forest green dial and a 40mm 18K yellow gold case, this new model is powered by the highly regarded Calibre 96.01-L movement.
When evaluating the 2022 watch, it was very similar to the 1997 model. However, this family similarity is more like father and son than gene cloning. The hour and minute hands are in the dauphine-fusée style, a derivative of the original dauphine style from 1997. This is not the first time Chopard has used dauphine-fusée style hands. In fact, they have been part of the brand’s design language for years.
The hours are indicated by conical facet markers, similar to the 1997 model, but using Arabic numerals to indicate midnight. The index at 6 o’clock is truncated to make room for the date display, which is presented with white numerals on a forest green disc. There is an overwhelming sense of integrity to this model. For example, Chopard could have saved a few Swiss francs to fit a white or black disc with a one-size-fits-all approach, however, as horological etiquette dictates, it indulges purists with a matching date disc.
The hand-guilloché process in the center of the dial showcases the brand’s exquisite craftsmanship. The dial is not adorned with studs of Paris or Ogre, but enriched with a honeycomb pattern, a specialty of the brand. Finally, a chemin de fer rounds out the display, bringing impressive clarity to the dial. copy Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch
As mentioned, Chopard has chosen 18K gold for the LUC XPS 1860 Officer Green Dial. This infuses the watch with a slightly retro look that pairs perfectly with the rich green landscape that takes center stage.
Consistent with several other LUC references, the case is a perfect blend of highly polished and vertically satin-brushed surfaces. The latter finish softens the shimmering gold, deftly sidestepping any excesses.
There is a button labeled LUC on the vertical side of the crown. With a single press, the hinged cover on the rear of the watch opens to reveal the aforementioned movement. The inside of the cover is engraved with the honeycomb, the former brand logo and the words “Chopard Manufacture” and “LUC”. The outside of the lid is decorated with the brand’s honeycomb pattern, which is beautifully hand-guilloché.
Since opening Chopard Manufacture, the premium brand has deftly delivered innovation while respecting its loyal customers by adopting a consistent approach to design. If the Chopard LUC XPS 1860 Officer Green Dial is placed next to the 1997 Chopard LUC 1860, it is clear that the two watches share a lot of the same genetic code. This approach is always evolutionary rather than revolutionary, which will no doubt resonate with many purists.
The styling of the new Chopard LUC XPS 1860 Officer Green Dial is timeless. It doesn’t shout wealth like some nouveau riche watches. Rather, it’s the horological equivalent of a soft-spoken gentleman in a tailored slouchy suit, conducting his business in a dignified manner. Open the hinged lid and you’ll notice the brains of the watch, perfectly developed, hidden from view but beautifully executed. This watch knows how to express itself in any situation and has incredible intelligence. However, this is no surprise to me. After all, Chopard has demonstrated these qualities many times since the introduction of the LUC 1.96.
Model: Chopard LUC XPS 1860 Officer Green Dial
Case: Ethical 18 karat yellow gold, diameter 40.0 mm, height 7.70 mm, sapphire crystal front and case back protected by crown-activated hinged lids
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds, date, stop seconds
Movement: LUC 96.01-L, self-winding, 28,800 vph (4Hz); 29 jewels, 65-hour power reserve, Observatory Certified (COSC), Seal of Geneva
Bracelet: Hand-stitched brown alligator leather strap, green alligator leather lining, 18-karat gold pin buckle