A Fortnight Review: 2 Weeks On The Wrist With The Chopard L.U.C Heritage Grand Cru Watch

Because of the Geneva Seal on this watch the movement finishing has to be the best of the best, there is absolutely no room for error and the calibre L.U.C. 97-01-L looks all the better for it as well. The hand applied Côte de Genève and perlage under the micro-rotor on this timepiece are fascinating to look at under light, they bounce light around the case with extraordinary clarity, in fact every part seems to sparkle on it. Of course, that is in part thanks to that Geneva Seal which requires screw heads to be polished as well as chatons, even the swan’s neck regulator has been polished up nicely. Also, a little mention regarding decoration is the 22K gold micro-rotor, which has been given an awesome ridged appearance with a big thick polished border, pay attention Patek because THAT is how a micro-rotor should be done. If you’re in a certain Facebook group full of modern era enthusiasts this movement will be the cover photo for said group around the time of writing.

This leads onto the second of these little things that burrow away in the back of my head about this watch. Make no mistake the rotor is gorgeous, but it does a couple of strange things. For starters, it appears to be ratcheted or notched in some way, unlike other rotors which either have a smooth sweep or a characteristic wobble in the case of ETA calibers, the rotor clicks around. I don’t particularly mind this though, you get used to it after a bit. What I didn’t quite get used to is the noise it made, you can hear it winding when your arm is extended, now granted there is a reason for that. Chopard uses a ceramic bearing set for the winding system in this watch, which is something that’s becoming more common on things like Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces, the upside is that it is effectively a sealed for life unit requiring no lubrication, the downside though is that they are often very noisy. Weirdly though, and this is more observation than complaint, the balance wheel is utterly silent in operation, you cannot hear it without the aid of a microphone.

Official specifications state that the power reserve on this watch is a little over 65 hours thanks to Chopard’s Twin® technology using two barrels for power, that’s pretty much what I managed to get out of it but because it’s automatic you can place it on a winder if you’re going away for more than two days, although I wouldn’t put the winder anywhere near your bedroom given the rotor noise we discussed earlier.

The strap on this watch is exceptional, Chopard puts a lot of effort into its straps, their materials and the overall design. This watch makes use of alligator leather, unusually that alligator leather is on both sides of the strap. Traditionally, the hard wearing alligator leather would go on the outside, while the inner would be a much softer calfskin leather, the only downside to that is calfskin is very sensitive to moisture. To ensure longer durability and resistance to perspiration, Chopard uses alligator on both sides of the strap, it’s an unusual feeling at first but in time you get accustomed to it as the strap begins to soften up and adapt to the curve of your wrist. The buckle is very nice too, it’s a simple 18K rose gold pin buckle just like the case, unusually though it has the L.U.C. logo on the front and the back. Intuition tells me this might be a subtle way of protecting against fakes as not many people will know it’s there (until now), but I won’t deny I had a small chuckle at the fact it might be because the older gentlemen wearing it might forget what they’re wearing if they are staring at the back of the strap for too long.

I don’t like to ramble on too much about things for no reason, so I shan’t. Before we come to the conclusion though I would like to point out my final and most disturbing problem with this timepiece. Early on while inspecting the lovely movement through a magnifier I caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a thin gold filament on the movement side of the sapphire crystal. When I put the watch down to go and collect my cup of tea (Earl Grey, if you’re wondering) I took another look and it had fallen off and disappeared. It might not seem like much but that’s like sticking a small tree through your car’s engine. The watch never stopped running, a good sign, and I did indeed report it back to Chopard so it seems all is well.

This watch is an excellent timepiece and a very nice standout in the sea of luxury watches, Chopard is continuing on form nicely with this watch, and it’s great to see that they redesigned the movement to be the shape of the tonneau case, rather than cram in a round movement instead. I don’t know how many of us younger folks would consider wearing it, and Chopard makes excellent round watches. The tonneau watch will always be a nice market, but if you play it right it could be a gem, and this one is.

Pricing for this watch is £18,360. It’s sold with a brown leather strap with other colours available on request.

For more info, please visit chopard.com

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