Twenty-five years ago, Chopard offered its first in-house movements. The brand had to celebrate such an anniversary with dignity, given the large number of complications that have been developed since then. We tend to forget it (which is a pity) but the LUC collection is today one of the most complete and accomplished collections from a Swiss manufacture. The number of movements, the diversity of complications, the ability to design a watch with two hands as well as a tourbillon or minute repeater have allowed Chopard to become a credible player in the luxury watch segment. So what is missing for the Maison to be considered at the same level as other prestigious brands? Perhaps the absence of a true flagship model, identifiable and that would allow to pull the whole collection penalizes it. However, the LUC collection has stylistic elements that forge its identity, including the design of the main hands. The watch commemorating the anniversary of the manufacture could not leave this element aside and that is why the minute hand plays almost the main role. And as Chopard had to remain faithful to the ambition of technical development inherent in the LUC collection, the brand also took the opportunity to unveil a new complication in its catalogue: the jumping hours.
The LUC Quattro Spirit 25 is this anniversary watch. I think it perfectly meets the challenge by being faithful to the quality standards of the collection while being much more than a simple variation of an existing model. The LUC Quattro Spirit 25 builds on Chopard's strengths through the use of a hand-wound movement with four barrels (hence the name Quattro) and an aesthetic approach that emphasizes purity of design and dial finish.
On a regular basis, watches with jumping hours are accompanied by a retrograde minute mechanism to avoid the overlapping of the window by the main hand. This is notably the case with the Gérald Genta Fantasy or the Reservoir watches. The LUC Quattro Spirit 25 retains a traditional minute display with a track that goes all the way around the dial. For a few minutes each hour, the minute hand will go over the window. The objective is to preserve a certain classicism and, through this 360 degree graduation, to decorate the periphery of the dial in a homogeneous way. In fact, this watch exudes an atmosphere of serenity and tranquility. The absence of a second hand reinforces the feeling that time is passing more slowly, even though, of course, the hour disc will jump instantly at the sixtieth minute.
By going to the essentials and adopting this very pure, even stripped-down aesthetic, Chopard wanted to highlight the quality of the finishing details. The dial, made in-house, is in grand feu enamel. Its execution is impeccable, and one need only observe the finesse and precision of the peripheral graduation to be convinced. The hour window, located at the base of the dial, is framed with a pink gold border that is consistent with the hand and the case. The purity of the dial and the curved shape of the case middle are reminiscent of pocket watches, but the watch remains resolutely contemporary as evidenced by the technical content of the movement. In any case, the proportions seemed perfect to me. The watch is big (its diameter is 40mm) but nothing seems excessive. The size of the hand is perfectly proportioned, its tip stopping at the outer circle of the graduation. The area dedicated to the time display remains concentrated and the Arabic numerals of the graduation occupy the peripheral part. At no time did I have the feeling that the empty central area was too big. This is also the virtue of enamel. To appreciate the beauty of its rendering, of its reflections, of this so particular, warm and soft white, it needs to have a relatively large surface to express itself. The size of the watch seemed to me to be adapted, allowing to take advantage of the enamel while keeping the required elegance.
If the great strength of the LUC Quattro Spirit 25 lies in its dial, one should not forget the case either. It is much more complex than it appears at first glance. The shape of the case middle, the slight gadroon on the bezel, the sophisticated shape of the lugs define a classic style but with character. The careful observation of the details of this 5N ethical rose gold case gives a lot of pleasure and I especially like the crown. The crown is nice and easy to handle, which is quite advisable for a hand-wound watch... especially when the movement has four barrels. The thickness of the case is reasonable (10,3mm). The watch is not thin but keeps a slim style that suits it.
The L.U.C 98.06-L movement certified Poinçon de Genève is visible through the transparent back. Its architecture is obviously impacted by the four barrels. However, Chopard has managed to make their integration elegant. The upper zone of the movement is mainly dedicated to them and the manufacture has judiciously positioned a power reserve indicator between the two pairs of coaxial barrels. This indicator is useful because the power reserve is 8 days (for a frequency of 4hz). Rare are the watches with jumping hours to propose such a duration. Personally, I wind my hand-wound watches every day, whatever their power reserve. I find that this gesture contributes to the experience provided by the watch. But others will take advantage of the long power reserve to space out the winding. The indicator then takes on its full meaning.
The finishing of the movement is very beautiful: the bevels are neat and the continuity of the Cotes de Genève is perfect. I also appreciate from an aesthetic point of view the fine adjustment with swan neck. On the other hand, I would have liked a more ambitious cut of the bridges, especially at the level of the lower bridge (the barrels leave little possibility at the level of the upper bridge) so that the movement breathes more and seems more open. The whole remains however very pleasant to observe and a feeling of seriousness and mastery emanates from the caliber. Let's not forget either that its dimensions remain reasonable for a movement with 4 barrels and offering a power reserve of 8 days for a frequency of 4hz.
Note a technical originality of this movement: whatever the direction in which the crown is turned in the setting position, the hand will always go clockwise. This provides security in the operation of the watch.
In conclusion, the LUC Quattro Spirit 25 is a very fine achievement on the part of Chopard and above all, it lives up to the expectations linked to the 25th anniversary celebration. The pure and refined aesthetic is what stands out first but then gives way to a much more sophisticated atmosphere. The watch ultimately showcases the technical, decorative and artistic capabilities of the manufacture which is the best way to celebrate this important anniversary. I hope that it will put the spotlight back on the LUC collection as a whole, as I believe it deserves more consideration.
The LUC Quattro Spirit 25 is priced at 44,500 euros including VAT as part of a limited edition of 100 pieces.
+ a refined aesthetic that is more complex than it appears at first glance
+ the technical performance of the movement
+ the power reserve indicator on the movement
+ the quality of the finishing
- the bridges shapes of the movement could have been more ambitious
- the minute hand overlaps the window a few minutes per hour