Chopard L.U.C Lunar One in platinum – Ref. 161927-9001
The Chopard L.U.C Lunar One is equipped with a perpetual calendar, predicting the future with mechanical aplomb. This exemplar of haute horlogerie features a large date and unusual moon-phase display. Furthermore, this particular version is housed in a 43mm platinum case and presents an array of information against a glorious galvanic blue backdrop.
After consuming the last gift-wrapped box of Christmas themed chocolates, my thoughts invariably turn to the forthcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The annual ritual consists of my wife and I joining friends, sharing a few glasses of wine and reminiscing about ‘the good old days’. As the last few hours of one year evaporates into the cold night air, a brand new year dawns and once again we venture into the unknown.
While humans lack the capacity to predict the future or look beyond the immediate horizon, some watches have an enviable capacity to foresee forthcoming events. The Chopard L.U.C Lunar One is endowed with a perpetual calendar. This high complication employs a series of cams to correctly display the date, irrespective of whether a calendar month lasts 28, 29, 30 or 31 days. Assuming the perpetual calendar is kept wound, the date will only require adjustment in 2100, 2200 and 2300.
The Chopard L.U.C Lunar One also includes a large date and an astronomical moon-phase display. However, as I will go on to show, this exemplar of haute horlogerie also possesses an array of additional attributes which distinguish it as exceptional.
The Chopard L.U.C Lunar One has graced the pages of the company’s extensive catalogue since 2005. In recent times, discerning gentlemen have been indulged with a choice of 18ct rose gold, white gold and platinum models. Moreover, the Maison has also offered diamond-set versions, heightening the sense of luxury. The focal point of this feature is the Chopard L.U.C Lunar One in platinum.
A former platinum version of the Chopard L.U.C Lunar One featured a black hour track, with the hours marked with Arabic numerals, a silver-toned central dial area. It measured 40.5mm in diameter. However, today’s platinum Lunar One (Ref. 161927-9001) sports a glorious blue dial, rich with detail. It is larger, measuring 43mm and looks much fresher than its older sibling. Moreover, it shares the same well-respected design language as other members of today’s L.U.C collection.
The vibrant blue dial incorporates a sunray satin-finish pattern that emanates from the large date display. Oversized, cambered Roman numerals encircle the dial, denoting each hour. Dauphine-fusée hands, featuring luminescent treatment, enunciate the time.
A subdial, adjacent 3 o’clock, displays the month and the year. A red ‘4’ proclaims the leap year with a tasteful flurry of colour. A further subdial is positioned opposite, showing the day. It also incorporates a day/night indicator.
A slightly larger subdial is located at the foot of the dial. It features a depiction of the nocturnal sky, populated with a multitude of stars, each of varying size. The age of the moon is shown via a rotating aperture, while the rich blue depiction of the star-studded Northern Hemisphere is framed with a small seconds indication.
The brand’s nomenclature is located below noon and is expressed in muted tone. Those individuals who possess a Chopard L.U.C are unlikely to subscribe to garish branding and conspicuous acts. Good taste and seemly behaviour are the order of the day. Sat beneath the company’s name are two, rectangular apertures, arranged in portrait form. The date is expressed with black numerals positioned on two white discs. These two discs collaborate together, cleanly conveying the date. While a big date display is technically more complicated than the ubiquitous date ring encircling the dial, the large scale format enhances readability.
Lastly, a chemin de fer encircles the periphery of the dial, framing the blue horological vista presented and enhancing readability.
As stated earlier, this version of the Chopard L.U.C Lunar One, with its glorious, galvanic blue dial, is housed in a 43mm platinum case. In 2018, only 165 tons of platinum were mined globally, compared with 3332 tons of gold. By default, platinum is more scarce than gold, imbuing this watch with a welcome degree of exclusivity.
Platinum is buried deeper in the earth than gold, making it more challenging to mine. Moreover, it proves more challenging to purify. This noble metal is notably dense, granting a reassuring mass to the watch. The case of this Lunar One is 95% pure platinum. When contrasting the appearance of a platinum case with a white gold case, the former metal appears whiter.
While the upper surfaces of the case and lugs evince a brilliant gleam, the vertical sides are satin-brushed. This upholds the styling found on other L.U.C models but, most pertinently, it shrewdly tempers the vivacity of the aforementioned polished surfaces. The juxtaposing of two contrasting finishes confers an elegant and harmonious appearance.
The caseback features a pane of sapphire crystal, affording views of the Calibre 96.13-L. This automatic movement features a 22-carat gold micro-rotor, embellished with a guilloché motif.
One benefit of using a micro-rotor to energise the two-stacked barrels is that it sits flush with the adjacent bridges. A full-size oscillating weight sits atop the bridges, increasing the thickness of the movement. As a result, the Chopard L.U.C Lunar One measures 11.47mm in height. While it could not be described as ‘ultra-thin’, the watch delivers an unobtrusive wrist presence and should gracefully complement any sartorial ensemble.
The sumptuous appearance of the watch is heightened with the fitment of a hand-sewn matt blue alligator leather strap with a contrasting brown alligator leather inner shell. A platinum pin buckle provides a secure means of affixing the watch to the wearer’s wrist.
A quick glimpse at the Calibre 96.13-L reveals a sea of horological refinement. The bridges are adorned with beautifully defined Côtes de Genève motif and sport gleaming bevels. The jewels and screws sit adjacent polished sinks and golden text adorns the bridge surfaces. Furthermore, the mainplate is decorated with perlage.
The balance wheel features three spokes, while the balance spring is equipped with a Phillips terminal curve, aiding isochronism. The rate of the balance is adjusted with a swan-neck regulator which reflects light magnificently, courtesy of the pristine mirror-polished surfaces. A mobile stud holder is another example of the Lunar One’s horological probity and technical virtue.
The movement has a frequency of 28,800 Vph (4Hz) and contains 32 jewels. The L.U.C Twin Technology, comprised of two stacked barrels, ensures the watch will run autonomously for 65 hours.
Inspecting the matchless finishing of the Calibre 96.13-L, it is obvious there are no concessions to haste. Everything is distilled to a pure conclusion. This excellence has been independently verified, leading to the ‘Poinçon de Genève’ adorning the case and movement. In addition, the watch is also a chronometer, certified by COSC.
There is no question, this watch has impeccable credentials and is a shining paragon of haute horlogerie.
A potential risk with any watch equipped with a long inventory of functions is that the dial can appear cluttered and confusing. Thankfully, no such criticism could be levelled at the bewitching face of the Chopard L.U.C Lunar One. It enunciates each indication superbly. There is no risk of misunderstanding; lucidity is manifest.
Beyond all practical considerations, the galvanic blue dial, enriched with a sunray satin-finished pattern, beautifully coalesces with the restrained whitish hue of the platinum case and exhibits a wonderful sense of decorum. This timepiece does not boast or engage in unseemly attention-seeking but chooses to exhibit propriety at all times. The case diameter of 43mm, together with the sharply arcing profile of the lugs, confers incredible wearer comfort.
In terms of the movement, each component is the product of patience and skill. There is no evidence of short-cuts. The finishing is superb and stands comparison with the best in the watch industry.
It would be easy to dismiss the finishing and functional merits of the Chopard L.U.C Lunar One as marketing hyperbole, however, its abilities have been independently assessed. The Poinçon de Genève attests that the watch has met an array of onerous standards, while COSC certification provides reassurance that the watch delivers incredible levels of precision.
It may be difficult to predict the future with any certainty, however, the L.U.C Lunar One is able to anticipate what lies ahead. Moreover, irrespective of what transpires in the fullness of time, the allure of this watch will never diminish, of that I am sure.
- Model: Chopard L.U.C Lunar One
- Reference: 161927-9001
- Case: 950 platinum; diameter 43mm; water resistance 5ATM (50 metres); sapphire crystals to front and back
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; large date; moon-phase indication; perpetual calendar; day/night indication
- Movement: Calibre L.U.C 96.13-L; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 32 jewels; power reserve 65 hours.
- Strap: A hand-sewn matt blue alligator leather strap with a contrasting brown alligator leather inner shell paired with a platinum pin buckle
- Price: £63,500 (RRP as at 17.12.2019)