Chopard L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton
The Chopard L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton is the result of a collaboration between Chopard Manufacture, the esteemed Swiss Maison and Kiton Ateliers, the Neapolitan couturier. The watch is suffused with grey and black hues, save for the occasional soupçon of judiciously applied colour. The time indications are pared back, imparting essential information, free of superfluous details.
Image – © Patrick Csajko
After years of study at school, college or possibly university, there comes a point when an individual transitions from a full-time student to an adult with all of the responsibilities this entails. Indeed, a new journey begins, with the individual embarking on a new career, amassing knowledge and climbing the promotional ladder. Ultimately, when the primary goals have been met, many adults seek suitable ways of celebrating their achievements and expressing their own personality. Some individuals crave no-compromise luxury such as a haute couture creation or a prestigious car.
While many gentlemen purchase a suit as a functional form of office attire, they often yearn for luxury and style of a sartorial creation. The design, the cut, the nature of the cloth may well come to the fore. However, true luxury encompasses the smallest details only noticeable to a discerning eye. In some instances, a thread is positioned behind the buttonhole on the lapel, intended to hold a boutonnière in position. Likewise, the buttons on the jacket cuff should be fully functional and buttons should always be affixed using hand-stitching, rejecting the expedient use of a sewing machine.
Similarly, there invariably comes a time when the modest watch acquired in youth, purchased purely as an inexpensive means of determining the time, is supplanted by an exquisite example of Haute Horlogerie. The considered design of a fine timepiece will often encompass readability, beauty, ergonomics and the finest materials. Moreover, peerless finishing of the movement and high precision are equally as important to discerning consumers.Now, Chopard Manufacture has collaborated with the artisans from Kiton Ateliers, the Neapolitan couturier, to create a watch that fuses the sartorial splendour of Italian sprezzatura with Swiss Haute Horlogerie. The Chopard L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton shares some of its DNA with the inaugural model from Chopard Manufacture, the L.U.C XP, unveiled in 1996, although, as I go onto explain, this latest creation has a very different character.
One glance at the Chopard L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton and it is clear that it encompasses the design influences of both brands. A plethora of grey and black shades dominate the appearance of the model, albeit close examination reveals subtle applications of red and golden tones, enriching the overall aesthetic.
The Dauphine-fusée hour and minute hands will be familiar to existing owners of Chopard L.U.C models. It is a style employed on many of the brand’s models and confers a high quotient of beauty and readability. In this instance, the hands have a gilt finish, enriching the composition with a sense of warmth.
Each hour is denoted with a gilt, facetted index, except at the cardinal points where plump Arabic numerals, again in a gilt finish, impart meaning with notable lucidity. Those individuals with a penchant for detail should note the golden markings on the minute track and the red Arabic numerals positioned at 15-minute intervals. The initials and surname of the Swiss brand’s founder are located below noon, while Kiton’s logo is presented in red at 6 o’clock. This latter detail adds a cheery note to the dial, but is optimally sized so as not to mar the elegance of the display.
The pièce de résistance is the dial’s epidermis. The brass dial is initially subject to a galvanic treatment and, thereafter, it receives successive applications of lacquer. The resultant surface resembles Kiton’s legendary houndstooth motif, a pattern that has been popular with sartorially-astute gentlemen for generations.
The 40mm case, presented in beadblasted DLC-coated steel, grants a becoming degree of understatement. Despite appearing more contemporary than the inaugural XP model of 1996, this new watch exhibits a timeless charm that should not diminish with the onset of age.
Another benefit of the beadblasted DLC-coated steel is that it exhibits a neutral character, allowing the dial indications to come to the fore. The Chopard L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton is a slender timepiece with a case thickness of just 7.2mm. This latter characteristic heightens wearer comfort and allows the watch to discreetly reside beneath a shirt cuff.
Consistent with existing XP models, the crown does not unduly project from the case, reaffirming the unobtrusive nature of this elegant creation. However, the grip and scale of the crown facilitate ease of manipulation, upholding the XP’s reputation for practicality.
Often watch straps barely justify mention, however, the strap affixed to the Chopard L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton proves an exception. It is handmade, ‘free of any chemical treatment and comes in a soft blend of Mongolian cashmere, wool and flannel with a slight touch of elastane, ensuring enhanced wearer comfort.’ The interior of the strap is lined with red alligator leather, includes grey stitching and is embellished with red accents adjacent the lugs.
The caseback features a circular pane of tinted sapphire crystal, affording sight of the automatic movement, the Calibre L.U.C 96.53-L. This movement bears a strong resemblance to Chopard Manufacture’s first movement, the Calibre 96.01L (formerly called the L.U.C 1.96). However, there are some differences. Perhaps most notably, the movement within the Chopard L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton features a tungsten micro-rotor. This complements the model’s ubiquitous grey and black tones, adding to the overall sense of modernity.
A micro-rotor sits flush with neighbouring bridges, mitigating the height of the movement which, in this instance, is just 3.3mm. In addition, whereas a conventional oscillating mass covers a vast proportion of the components below, a micro-rotor provides the onlooker with unhindered views of its finely decorated bridges as well as other components in flight. There are not many brands able to produce watches equipped with a micro-rotor, however, Chopard is one of the few brands which has the relevant expertise.
The Calibre L.U.C 96.53-L is also equipped with two barrels, something the brand terms ‘Chopard Twin technology’. Firstly, by having two barrels incorporating two mainsprings, the watch effectively has two fuel tanks, allowing the movement to run autonomously for longer. In this instance, the timepiece has an impressive power-reserve of 58 hours.
However, having two barrels in a timepiece offers another very useful benefit. With one large barrel, the amount of force it sends to the escapement may initially be too great, evening out to be acceptable, but thereafter diminishing. This means that the amplitude of the balance is likely to fluctuate as a result, compromising precision.
By having two spring barrels sharing responsibility for serving the escapement, the mainsprings can be smaller, mitigating the variance in power between a fully wound and partially wound mainspring, therefore the amplitude of the balance is less susceptible to fluctuation. This meticulous attention to detail enhances precision, enriching the overall ownership experience.
The mainplate is decorated with perlage, while the bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, gleaming bevels and feature polished jewel and screw sinks.
Over time, Chopard has released several variants of the L.U.C XP, each with their own persona, but all respecting the essence of the much-loved classic. Despite the Chopard L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton looking very different from its forebears, it continues to uphold some of the design codes of the 1996 watch while encompassing the same exalted levels of watchmaking.
The constituent elements of the Chopard L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton repeatedly deliver a competitive blend of functionality, craftsmanship and style. The dial design converses with the wearer clearly and is free of clutter. Likewise, the case sidesteps bulk while delivering both wrist presence and wearer comfort. Lastly, the automatic movement provides convenience, courtesy of its micro-rotor, making it ideal for daily wear.
Perhaps most notably of all, is that the L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton is the synergistic result of two companies which understand the meaning of luxury and style, two qualities all discerning gentlemen will appreciate.
- Model: Chopard L.U.C XP II Sarto Kiton
- Reference: 168592-3003
- Case: Beadblasted DLC-coated steel; diameter 40 mm; height 7.2 mm; sapphire crystal to front and exhibition case back
- Functions: Hours; minutes
- Movement: Calibre L.U.C 96.53-L; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 29 jewels; power reserve 58 hours
- Kiton fabric strap made of grey and black cashmere lined with red alligator leather paired with a pin buckle in DLC-coated steel
- Price: Price on application
- Limited Edition: 100 pieces