2017 GPHG Mechanical Exception Category Finalist
With its crystal clear chime from a real crystal gong, and a revealing dial side display of horological wonder the Chopard L.U.C Full Strike is a captivating and innovative twist on a classic complication.
Underling the company's continuous and progressive advances in Haute Horlogerie, the L.U.C Full Strike by Chopard Manufacture is a fascinating and challenging take on the classic minute repeater complication, and its open worked dial reveals its most intricate secrets up front, even if it might take time to realise.
One of the oldest and most complex watchmaking complications, the minute repeater is a function which never fails to attract the attention of collectors and observers, and in the GPHG 2017 Mechanical Exception category we have not one, but two variations on the theme, with Audemars Piguet also contesting its magnificent Jules Audemars Minute Repeater Supersonnerie. While both watches feature innovative concepts, the L.U.C Full Strike sees a quite different approach, and its one which might give it the edge if the jury are inclined towards their delicate chimes.
If there's one unwritten rule about this grande complication it is that typically a pair of steel gongs which encircle the outer edge of the movement are used in conjunction with tiny hammers to create the chime, but Chopard Manufacture have done it very differently, by creating a sapphire crystal into which the gongs have been integrated - in sapphire of course, so the action can be watched from the dial side. Think of a teaspoon striking a crystal wine glass, pre-empting a speech at a function, and you'll recognise the crisp, clear 'ting'.
It's an impressive technical feat for sure, and throughout the L.U.C Full Strike the Poinçon de Genève seal is testament to the remarkable standards of inventiveness and craftsmanship. Knowing how much loved and respected the minute repeater is, this watch is a strong contender for the award, but there are no runaway favourites here, and it will need to impress more than any other.
The Watch Press prediction
I think it might have the criteria to win the Mechanical Exception category, but its rivals are also formidable opponents too. I like that it is innovative, visual and does something unusual, but so too does Armin Strom with its Mirrored Force Resonance. It's a tough call, but no (although I would be happy to be wrong).
CASE: Fair Mined rose gold
BUCKLE: Folding clasp
MOVEMENT: Hand winding mechanical. Power reserve: 60 h, 28'800 vph
FUNCTIONS: Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Power Reserve, Minute Repeater
SIZE: ø 42.5 mm
THICKNESS: 11.55 mm
PRICE EXCL.VAT: 245'000 CHF