Chopard L.U.C Lunar Big Date Ref. 161969-5001: A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of spending some time at the Chopard boutique on London’s famous Bond Street, to get acquainted with some of Chopard’s 2014 novelty collection. First launched in 2009, the L.U.C Lunar Big Date has had a whole new revamp by adopting the full design codes of the new L.U.C aesthetics; the moon phase is so accurate that the difference between the true lunar cycle and the indication given by the timepiece amounts to just one day every 122 years. An exceptional timepiece, available in 18-carat white and rose gold.
L.U.C. RANGE HISTORY
The L.U.C. collection of Chopard – as you may be aware – is their most prestigious selection of watches that are being manufactured in their Chopard facility in Fleurier, Switzerland. 1996 marked a return to manufacture movements for Chopard with the opening of a dedicated facility in the town of Fleurier to create in-house L.U.C movements, which not only received Swiss Official Chronometer Test Institute certification but some also received the Fleurier Quality Foundation certification too. The brand’s first movement, caliber 1.96, set a good president for the company’s efforts moving forward and can still be found in the portfolio of current offerings. This new direction comes at the request of Karl-Friedrich and Caroline Scheufele, a direct lineage of Karl Scheufele III, who purchased Chopard from the founder’s (and L.U.C namesake, Louis-Ulysse Chopard) grandson, Paul-André Chopard in 1963.
The L.U.C collection has since matured to include a variety of complications and grand complications, all produced under the same roof at the Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier. Chopard’s involvement in the Mille Miglia and GP of Monaco Historique have given the brand a great deal of exposure in the racing inspired lines but L.U.C watches have developed a strong presence on the high horology stage in recent years, each effort further refining the brand’s new design practices, creating some truly memorable pieces.
LUNAR BIG DATE
The Dial: The striking feature of the Lunar Big Date, is just that – the Big Date and although Chopard have released other Lunar Big Dates, this newly released and revised version is in my opinion is more aesthetically pleasing. The dial is much more well-balanced; with the use of roman numerals instead of Arabic numerals it does give the dial a more sophisticated look.
At 5 o’clock you’ll see the little seconds sub dial which has been given a lovely contrasting blued Dauphine hand. On the opposite side at 7 o’clock you’ll see the moon phase, which in fact is associated with the central hour and minute hands and the large aperture at 12 o’clock displays the date.
The silver-toned sunburst, satin-brushed dial has been elegantly studded with robust Roman numerals, which are swept over by Dauphine hands featuring the L.U.C design (which carry a faint hint of a motor racing) – this sets the perfect finishing touch to aid this balanced visual effect. Covering the dial is glare-proofed sapphire crystal.
The Movement: Inside is the Fleurier Manufacture’s self-winding L.U.C Calibre 96.20-L with two stacked co-axial barrels, which ensures a 65-hour supply of energy to the movement with its balance oscillating at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Chronometer-certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), the movement is visible through the exhibition case-back where you’ll be able to see the undulating Geneva stripes finish and bridges which have been adorned with the Côtes de Genève motif.
The Case & Strap: This rose gold version is fitted with a brown, hand-sewn alligator leather strap secured by a pin buckle; the L.U.C Lunar Big Date is an exceptional watch in terms of both precision and elegance. The case measures 42mm in diameter and just 11mm in height, which quintessentially makes it a dress watch. The polished lugs and bezel, with brushed case walls gives the Lunar Big Date an ultra-modern look. At 4 o’clock you’ll see correctors for the moon phase and between 1 and 2 o’clock, correctors for the date.
The L.U.C Lunar Big Date is a beautiful and welcomed addition to the Louis-Ulysse Chopard range. Though this is not the first Lunar Big Date, its design is much more balanced and an improvement upon the last Lunar Big Date Ref. 161918-5003 – which should always be the goal when redesigning. While it has a very contemporary design, it still incorporates a classical feel and though it has the look of a dressier timepiece, it could just as easily be worn with semi-formal or even sportier attire – giving the watch greater versatility.
The Lunar Big Date teeters on the edge, dimension wise, of just right for a dress watch. While many will like that it is 42mm is size, some will probably have wished it were just a bit smaller – though in all honesty does actually fit like a 40mm watch. As legibility goes it is perfect, while it may seem quite a bit is going on – the dial is still very clean and clear. On the wrist it is very comfortable and fits snuggly due to the curved lugs.
The L.U.C Lunar Big Date is available in both 18 carat white gold (Ref. 161969-1001) and rose gold (Ref. 161969-5001) and both priced at £20,480 – which if compared to other timepieces with similar design and functions is very reasonable. For more information on the Lunar Big Date visit the official Chopard website.