Watching Watches: A Visit With Chopard NYC [With Live Photos]
Today, I met with Chopard at the company's lavish boutique on Madison Avenue. Aside from their million-dollar jewels, Chopard has a lengthy history of producing many of Switzerland's finest mechanical timepieces. Being one of Switzerland's last independently owned manufacturers, carrying on old-world craftsmanship in their watchmaking is a cornerstone of their business. What I focus on here are two watches that I believe are of paramount quality, aesthetically simple yet striking, and deliver superior accuracy and precision.
The L.U.C 1963's design originates from Chopard's early pocket watch chronometers and pays tribute to the brand's 50 year ownership under the Scheufele family. By most standards, a 44-millimeter dress watch would be utterly ridiculous; in this instance, it's not. The watch is fairly oversized; nonetheless, wears like any other dress watch.
The movement is a manufacture caliber L.U.C 63.01-L (60 hour power reserve) with impeccable circular graining, chamfering, and Cotes de Genève finishing. Not only is the L.U.C 1963 a chronometer (COSC Certified), but this watch was awarded the admirable Poinçon de Genève hallmark: a symbol of excellence in watchmaking. The case is offered in rose gold or platinum, and the dial is porcelain with gilt hour markers and hands. The retail price for the L.U.C 1963 in rose gold is $37,580, while the price of the platinum model has yet to be announced.
L.U.C XPS 35mm
While said to be the first L.U.C model for ladies, Chopard argues that this is a piece even a man can wear. Quite honestly, I couldn't agree more. What really grasped my attention straightaway was the "Calatrava" case shape and brilliantly beveled edges, aspects of this wristwatch that your average watch guy probably won't see the beauty in. I still have confidence that the XPS 35mm will be a success, principally among collectors who are in the market for a new watch with a vintage look and feel.
The case is 35 millimeters and is constructed of 18-karat rose gold (Chopard often utilizes rose gold in their case making), but don’t get me wrong, the 35-millimeter case has plenty of heft to it. There are two variations of this watch. The more masculine of the two has a satin brushed silver dial and a no-frills rose gold bezel, rather than a mother of pearl dial and diamond-set bezel.
The movement is the slim, automatic caliber (COSC certified) L.U.C 96.12-L. The reference number for this specific model is 121968-5001. Oh yeah, and this is definitely not the kind of watch I’d let my girlfriend borrow—I’d never get it back. For more information, please visit www.us.chopard.com.